Teaching

Here are some classes which I am currently developing or teaching.


The Reconciliation Story Pole at the University of British Columbia, Canada. Carved by 7idansuu (Edenshaw) James Hart (Haida), it depicts Indigenous childhood interrupted by imposed schooling.

AIS 450: Sovereignty and the Schoolhouse

What is “Indian education?” For nearly 500 years, “Indian education” has described learning organized not by Indigenous communities but by non-Native people. This seminar is a study of American Indian people and their histories of teaching and learning. Namely, we will examine the historical relationship between sovereignty and self-determination over education and the invasion and colonization of North America by non-Native people. In this class, we will explore many institutions which stem from the history of Native education, ranging across Indigenous pedagogies of experience, missionary schooling, boarding schools, survival schools, tribal colleges, language nests, and charter schools. As students of this history, we will proceed under the important distinction that schooling is not synonymous with education; schooling is but one method for the organization of learning, a distinction which has profoundly impacted Native experience, historical trauma and community integrity, epistemological continuity and innovation, experimentation and resistance, and ultimately, Indigenous perseverance and survivance.


The Patos Island Lighthouse in Washington State, which stands as a reminder of a changed infrastructure of mobility at the edge of a maritime borderland.

HIST 460: American Environmental History

Today, it seems as if the United States (and the globe) is experiencing a range of unprecedented environmental crises. Climate change, species extinctions, invasive flora and fauna, energy sustainability, droughts and famines, depleted resources and increased pollution, etc. seems to evidence a troubled present and perilous future for both human and non-human life alike. Yet every crisis has a history, which can inform how we might approach the present. This course will treat the American past as seen through the lens of the natural world. In this class, we will center relations between human beings and non-human world as a critical part of our analysis, in order to explore how Americans have understood such relationships – and how these relationships have, in turn, materially shaped human events. We will not only study environmental topics, but practice the methodology of environmental history, which aims to craft historical narratives that tell stories about “nature” as a both a biological system and as a cultural concept. Traversing the varied of terrain of the American people’s perceptions, imaginings and interactions with the non-human world, we will draw on a host of interdisciplinary skills as we chronicle the ways in which these different “natures” have acted as both agents and objects of historical change over time.


A building constructed under the provisions of the Treaty of Washington in 1836 between Anishinaabe and Odawa people at Michilimackinac, Michigan.

HIST 490: American Indian History

There is a profound irony at the heart of American history: all too often, Indigenous people are remembered as a marginal part of the history of the United States, but no account of the American past is complete (let alone sensible) without careful consideration of Indigenous people. American Indian history is expansive, complex, and deeply entwined with United States history. Put another way: American history without American Indians is neither American, nor history. This course is intended to offer students a broad survey of the people, events, structures, and methodological considerations which constitute the field of American Indian history. In this class, we will work to undo the myths and stereotypes that often define historical memory of Native people through comprehensive historical study. Like a drumbeat, American Indian history was sounded thousands of years prior to the arrival of Europeans in North America, beats through every period of U.S. history at its own tempo, and continues to resonate today, where it reverberates into the future.