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Dr. Jesse Peters
PO Box 1510
Pembroke, NC 28372

Phone: 910.521.6635

Location: Dial 260 A
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English 220: Survey of Native American Literature

Tuesday/Thursday 2:00-3:15

Instructor: Dr. Jesse Peters
Office: Old Main 204
Office Hours: TR 1:00-2:00; And by Appointment
Phone: 521-6635 ; 521-6195

Required Texts:

Nothing But the Truth, John Purdy and James Ruppert
Night Sky, Morning Star, Evelina Lucero
Faces in the Moon, Betty Bell
The Sharpest Sight, Louis Owens 

Course Requirements:

The course is designed to expose students to significant voices in Native American literature. Obviously, we can't cover all of this literature or even everything contained within the anthology we are using. Our goal is to study a sampling of texts within Native American literature as we work towards an understanding of how this literature has developed and evolved. We will be paying particular attention to the ways in which Indian authors write within, outside of, and against the dominant canon of literature. Some of the questions we will be asking are: Who is an Indian? What is Native American literature? How does Indian literature relate to American literature in general? One of the main objectives of this class is to help students see how the study of literature both informs and is informed by all other aspects of a general college education. The course demands a lot of reading, and I will give pop-quizzes from time to time (if necessary) to make sure that you are doing the reading. I do not allow students to make up missed quizzes. Please come to class prepared to discuss the material because I don’t expect to do all the talking. Remember, we are all here to explore ideas and figure out what we think. There will also be two longer papers (4-6 pages), two response essays, a midterm and a final. The longer papers must incorporate outside sources and must be written on the literature that we cover in this course. The final will be cumulative.

Note: Please refer to the ETL department’s website for departmental guidelines and plagiarism policy ( It is up to you, especially since you have passed English 106 or an equivalent before being allowed to take this course, to know what plagiarism is and how to avoid it. If you are caught plagiarizing, you will fail the course and will be reported to the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs.

Note: Any student with a documented disability needing academic adjustments is requested to speak directly to Disability Support Services (Career Services Center, Room 210, 521-6270) and the instructor, as early in the semester (preferably within the first week) as possible. All discussions will remain confidential.

For Education Students: This course relates to UNCP Teacher Education Standard #1. The class helps the teacher candidate to command essential knowledge and understandings of the academic discipline (in this case, the study of literature) from which school subject matter is derived and integrate that knowledge into personally meaningful frameworks.


Responses 100 pts. 10%
Paper 1 100 pts. 10%
Midterm 300 pts. 30%
Paper 2 100 pts. 10%
Final 400 pts. 40%
Total  1000 pts. 100%

I use a thousand point grading system. All grades will be given as numbers with final grades computed as follows: A=933-1000; A-=900-932; B+=866-899; B=833-865; B-=800-832; C+=766-799; C=733-765; C-=700-732; D+=666-699; D=633-665; D-=600-632; F=<600.

Please take heed of the following:

• Attendance is mandatory. I will take attendance most days. If you miss more than two weeks of class for any reason, I may assign you a grade of F for the course. Please let me know in advance if you will be absent (if at all possible). If you are late to class, you may be counted absent. You are also responsible for any information you miss if you are absent.
• I do not accept late assignments for any reason without my prior consent. I’m usually more than willing to help you out, but you must talk to me beforehand. I have voicemail and email. Late papers will receive a 0 grade.
• If you need to talk to me, please take advantage of my office hours or email me. I am also more than willing to meet by appointment.
• I may be giving pop quizzes throughout the semester, so be sure and do the reading. Quizzes cannot be made up. I expect a lot of class participation during the course.
• Disruptive behavior will not be tolerated (talking while others are talking, coming in late, ringing cell phones, rude comments, etc.). If behavior like this persists, you will be asked to leave the class and receive a grade of F for the course.

* There will be no work for "extra credit." Keep up with the reading and do the work

All reading assignments should be completed on the first day that we begin discussion.

Note: Any student with a documented disability needing academic adjustments is requested to speak directly to Disability Support Services (Career Services Center, Room 210, 521-6270) and the instructor, as early in the semester (preferably within the first week) as possible. All discussions will remain confidential.


Although you are asked to do two papers for this course, you will turn in the same paper twice. The first time it is due, I will grade it and comment extensively. You should use my suggestions and advice to improve the paper, in both form and content, before it is turned in to me the second time. These papers must be 4-6 typed, double spaced pages and they must use at least three secondary critical sources as evidence. These papers are not reports. You need to come up with a thesis statement about a work of literature we cover in the course and then explain your point through careful analysis of the text while blending in outside sources. The scholarly articles you will find as you do research should serve as examples of the types of writing I am looking for. Also, the campus publication ReVisions contains good examples of student writing about literature. I encourage you to run your proposed topic/thesis statement by me before you begin work. If you do not revise your paper, you will receive a lower grade than you did on it the first time. Revision is part of the assignment.

Response Essays

Two times during the semester, you will turn in a 2-3 page response essay on a work we will cover. These short writings should be well developed articulations/explanations of what issues and or themes you see the writer developing in the work. They are not summaries. Explain why you think what you do through examples from the text, examples that you explain. These papers do not have to include outside sources. Each essay will be worth a possible 50 pts. You must write the response before we discuss the work in class; your writing will help us begin the discussion of that work of literature.The day you turn in the essay, you will be asked to read it outloud to the class and answer any questions your peers might have. There will be no specific due dates for these. However, there will be two deadlines, one for the first and one for the second. I do not want a flood of response essays on the deadline days. I encourage you to do them sooner rather than later.

Midterm and Final

The midterm and final will consist of identification (I give you a quote and you supply author, title, character, and significance), short answer, and essay. When providing the significance of a passage, be sure to explain what the quotation tells us about the theme or the message of the work.

Blackboard Course Site

Sometimes the schedule may call for you to log into the Blackboard Course Site rather than meeting in the classroom. There we will chat in the virtual classroom. Sometimes I will ask you to complete other assignments inside the course site. We will always meet in the virtual classroom unless otherwise noted. Being late for these meetings is the same as being late for class. The same goes for absences. The requirements for hardware, software, and skills necessary to successfully navigate this online environment are available here: Online Course Skills.

Course Schedule (Always Subject to Change)

10 Introduction to course


12 Introduction (5-15) "The Man Made of Words" N. Scott Momaday

17"The American Indian Fiction Writers: Cosmopolitanism, Nationalism, the Third World, and First Nation Sovereignty" Elizabeth Cook-Lynn

19"Decolonializing Criticism" David L. Moore

24"Towards a National Indian Literature: Cultural Authenticity in Nationalism" Simon J. Ortiz "Language and Literature from a Pueblo Perspective" & "An Old-Time Indian Attack Conducted in Two Parts: Part One--Imitation 'Indian' Poems / Part Two--Gary Snyder's Turtle Island" Leslie Marmon Silko, "Introduction: Only the Beginning" Brian Swann

Short Fiction

26 Introduction (190-193) "The Approximate Size of My Favorite Tumor" & "This is What It Means to Say Phoenix Arizona" Sherman Alexie

31 "The Red Convertible" Louise Erdrich;


2 "Aunt Moon's Young Man" Linda Hogan

7 "Borders" & "A Seat in the Garden" Thomas King

9 "Yellow Woman" Leslie Silko; "Blessed Sunshine" Louis Owens

14 Report to the Nation: Repossessing Europe" Carter Revard

16 "The Warriors" Anna Lee Walters

21 "How I Got to be Queen" Greg Sarris, "All the Colors of Sunset" Luci Tapahonso


23 Deadline for Response Statement #1, Faces in the Moon, Betty Bell

28 Faces in the Moon, Betty Bell


2 Midterm Examination

6-10 No Class -- Spring Break

14 "The Hawk is Hungry" D'Arcy McNickle"

16 "Sleeping in Rain" Gordon Henry


21 Introduction (412-415) "13/16", "The Business of Fancydancing", "Capital Punishment", "Defending Walt Whitman", "The Exaggeration of Despair", "How to Write the Great American Indian Novel", "Crazy Horse Speaks" Sherman Alexie

23 "Living History", "Rewriting Your Life", "Rituals, Yours--and Mine", "Where I Was That Day" Kimberly Blaeser; "Bear: A Totem Dance as Seen by Raven", "The Old Man's Lazy", "Rattle", "To-ta Ti-om", "Turtle", "Yellowjacket", "Drum", "Reflections on Milkweed" Peter Blue Cloud

28 "She Had Some Horses", "Transformations", "I Give You Back", "Call It Fear", "Eagle Poem", "The Woman Hanging From the Thirteenth Floor Window", "Grace", "The Woman Who Fell From the Sky" Joy Harjo

30 "Blessing", "Song For My Name", "Bamboo", "Celebration: Birth of a Colt", "Drought", "The New Apartment, Minneapolis", "The Truth Is", "Elk Song", "Geraniums", "Heritage", "It Must Be", "Map", "Morning: The World in the Lake" Linda Hogan


4 "Bend in the River", "The Creation, According to Coyote", "Dry Root in a Wash", "My Father's Song", "A Story of How a Wall Stands", "The Boy and Coyote" Simon J. Ortiz; "And Don't Be Deaf to the Singing Beyond", "Driving in Oklahoma", "In Kansas", "And Eagle Nation", "What the Eagle Fan Says", "Wazhazhe Grandmother" Carter Revard

6 "Blue Horses Rush In", "In Praise of Texas", "Light a Candle", "Raisin Eyes" Luci Tapahonso; "Christmas Comes to Moccasin Flat", "Surviving", "Thanksgiving at Snake Butte", "Snow Country Weavers", "Riding the Earthboy 40" James Welch

The Novel

11 Night Sky Morning Star, Evelina Lucero

13 Paper # 1 Due;Night Sky Morning Star, Evelina Lucero

18 Night Sky Morning Star, Evelina Lucero

20 The Sharpest Sight, Louis Owens; Deadline for Response Essay #2

25 The Sharpest Sight, Louis Owens; Paper #2 Due

27 The Sharpest Sight, Louis Owens


2 Final Exam 2:00-4:30

This publication is available in alternative formats upon request. Please contact Mary Helen Walker, Disability Support Services, Career Services Center, Room 210, 521-6270.


Updated: Wednesday, January 7, 2009

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