Skip to Quicklinks
Skip to Quicklinks
Contact Information

Dr. Jesse Peters
PO Box 1510
Pembroke, NC 28372

Phone: 910.521.6635

Location: Dial 260 A
Campus Map



Eng 2200 -- Honors College

Survey of Native American Literature (3 hrs)

Writing Enriched Course

TR 11:00-12:15 Dial 145

Instructor: Dr. Jesse Peters
Office: Dial 260 A
Office Hours: TR 3:30-5:00; W 2:00-3:30; MW 8:00-9:00 (online) And by Appointment/Email
Phone: 521-6635

Required Texts:

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

Writing Enriched Course:

As this course is a writing enriched course, you will be doing lots of writing and talking about writing. Our goal is to use writing during the semester as a way to help us engage with and undrstand the field of Native American literature specifically and literary studies in general. You will also be working towards improving your academic writing skills in all areas, and by the end of the semester, I hope to see improvement in both form and content of your written work. The amount of written work is significant in the course, so you should be prepared to spend a lot of time on this particular class.

Course Description:

To do well in this course, you must keep up with the readings and actively participate in the discussion. This does not include time spent reading, studying for exams, writing papers, etc; students should expect to spend a significant amount of time outside of class preparing for class and completing assignments in order to be successful.

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.

Please be aware that literature often contains language and/or events that an individual might find offensive. Writers reflect the worlds they know, and like it or not, there are lots of people in the world who do use language some might find inappropriate. So literature is filled with all sorts of characters, many who use profanity, commit terrible crimes, lie, betray others, etc. As we analyze literature, we also advance theories about what the author may be trying to say through these characters and plots.

This Native American literature class will also cover a diversity of perspectives on the social, cultural, economic, spiritual, and political issues of concern to many Indigenous peoples, expressed primarily in their own words. These are part of the experiences of many Native writers’ lives and we will consider them in the spirit of intellectual inquiry.

The course demands a lot of reading and writing, and I expect material to be read before discussions begin for that material. Please plan to discuss the material extensively 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 short in-class writing assignments, 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 a work of literature that we cover in this course. The final will be cumulative.

Outcomes: By the end of the course, students will have an understanding of the canon of Native American literature, including essays, fiction, and poetry. In addition, student academic writing will have improved in both form and content as we pay particular attention to the crafting of essays that use appropriate conventions, research, tone, style, and structure. Students will learn to develop a critical reading of a text, and articulate a clear, well-structured argument using textual analysis and secondary sources.


Course Requirements:

Discussion Board

Sometimes the communication in the course will take place on the discussion board. On those weeks, I will set up a forum so that we can discuss the readings. I will usually post a brief comment or two and pose a few questions. Remember that this is merely a way of getting you started thinking about the material. You are free to start posts yourself on aspects of the works you find interesting. The point here is for us to have good conversations about the material as we address both structure and content.

If you start a thread, please give it a title that helps us understand what the topic will be. This will help each of you study for exams. A title like "Environment in Momaday's Essay" is a lot beter than "Momaday."

Rather than replying to my initial post, it is probably better if you begin your own or reply to another student's. Failure to actively participate on Blackboard wil result in an absence.

I also suggest you read the discussion board guidelines available in the course documents section of Blackboard.

In Class Reaction Essays

Five times during the semester, students will write for 10 minutes at the beginning of class. These papers will be an informal opportunity for you to use writing to articulate your reactions, observations, and interpretations of the novel being covered. Students will read out loud at least once during the semester. You should work to write these in a clear and professional manner using the conventions of standard edited American English. These five are worth 10% of the grade (a possible 20 points each). The days we will be doing this are marked on the syllabus; if you are absent on the day of a reaction essay, you can't make up the assignment. So please plan accordingly.


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 may receive a lower grade than you did on it the first time. If you do not turn in a revision at all, you will receive a zero for the second essay assignment. Revision is part of the assignment, especially in a Writing Enriched course.

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 and submit it before we discuss the work in class; your writing will help us extend the discussion of that work of literature, and you will be asked to read it aloud in class. 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.

Safe Assign

Papers and response essays must be submited to Safe Assign within Blackboard. This site checks for any plagiarism in your essays. Essays must be submitted in Word or RTF within the course site; please do not use any symbols or numbers in the file names. Both submissions must be made by the deadlines provided.

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. The final will be cumulative.

Course Policies:

• Attendance is mandatory. I will take attendance most days. If you disappear for 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). 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 and will give quizzes only if it seems there is litle participation or that students are not reading the material.
• Disruptive behavior will not be tolerated; talking while others are talking, coming in late, cell phones ringing, rude comments, etc. (also please review the discussion board guidelines posted under the course documents button). 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 by the first day that we begin discussion.

Note: This course fulfills some requirements for the General Education Curriculum at UNCP. The goals and objectives can be found at

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 1050 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 may fail the course and could be reported to the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs. The usual penalty is a grade of "F" in the course.

Please let me know if you feel another student is plagiarizing your ideas. Additionally, all students should make themselves familiar with the Student Academic Honor Code.

Note: Federal laws require UNCP to accommodate students with documented learning, physical, chronic health, psychological, visual or hearing disabilities. In post-secondary school settings, academic accommodations are not automatic; to receive accommodations, students must make a formal request and must supply documentation from a qualified professional to support that request. Students who believe they qualify must contact Disability Support Services (DSS) in DF Lowry Building, Room 107 or call 910-521-6695 to begin the accommodation process. All discussions remain confidential. Accommodations cannot be provided retroactively. More information for students about the services provided by DSS and the accommodation process may be found at the following links:

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.


Reaction Essays 100 pts. 10%
Responses 100 pts. 10%
Paper 1 100 pts. 10%
Midterm 300 pts. 30%
Paper 2 100 pts. 10%
Final 300 pts. 30%
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.

Online Office Hours

Though I am on email most of the time, I will be checking email for sure every Monday and Wednesday between 8:00-9:00 am.

Course Schedule (Always Subject to Change)

All readings (except novels) can be found in the anthology Nothing But the Truth.

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



14 Introduction to course; Introduction (5-15)


16 "The Man Made of Words" N. Scott Momaday

21 "The American Indian Fiction Writers: Cosmopolitan, Nationalism, the Third World, and First Nation Sovereignty" Elizabeth Cook-Lynn; "Towards a National Indian Literature: Cultural Authenticity in Nationalism" Simon J. Ortiz

Short Fiction

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

28 "The Red Convertible" Louise Erdrich; "Sleeping in Rain" Gordon Henry

30 "Aunt Moon's Young Man" Linda Hogan; "The Hawk is Hungry" D'Arcy McNickle


4 "Report to the Nation: Repossessing Europe" Carter Revard

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

11 "The Warriors" Anna Lee Walters


13 Deadline for Response Statement #1 Introduction (412-415) "13/16", "The Business of Fancydancing", "How to Write the Great American Indian Novel", Sherman Alexie; "Rewriting Your Life", "Rituals, Yours--and Mine", "Where I Was That Day" Kimberly Bleaser (Discussion on Blackboard)

18 "The Old Man's Lazy", "Drum", "Reflections on Milkweed" Peter Blue Cloud (Discussion on Blackboard)

20 Reaction Essay "Transformations", "I Give You Back", "Call It Fear", "Eagle Poem", "The Woman Hanging From the Thirteenth Floor Window", Joy Harjo

25 Workshop on Developing a Research Question

27 Midterm Exam


3-8 Spring Break -- No Class

11 Reaction Essay "The New Apartment, Minneapolis", "The Truth Is", "Geraniums", "Heritage", Linda Hogan; Discussion of Doing Literary Research

13 "My Father's Song", "A Story of How a Wall Stands" Simon J. Ortiz; "In Kansas", "And Eagle Nation" Carter Revard

18 "In Praise of Texas", "Light a Candle", "Raisin Eyes" Luci Tapahonso; "Christmas Comes to Moccasin Flat", "Snow Country Weavers", James Welch; Developing a Thesis

The Novel

20 Reaction Essay Night Sky, Morning Star, Evelina Lucero

25 Night Sky, Morning Star, Evelina Lucero

27 Discussion on Blackboard Night Sky, Morning Star, Evelina Lucero


1 Night Sky, Morning Star, Evelina Lucero; Using Sources / Quoting

3 Faces in the Moon, Betty Bell

8 Faces in the Moon, Betty Bell

10 Faces in the Moon, Betty Bell; Structure and Content of a Literary Essay

15 Deadline for Response Statement #2 Wolfsong, Louis Owens

17 Reaction Essay Wolfsong, Louis Owens

22 Paper # 1 Due; Workshop on Revising

22 Wolfsong, Louis Owens

24 Wolfsong, Louis Owens

29 Wolfsong, Louis Owens


1 Paper #2 Due; TBA

8 Final Examination 10:45-1:15

This publication is available in alternative formats upon request. Please contact Mary Helen Walker, Disability Support Services, DF Lowry Building, Room 103, 521-6695.

Statement on Literature Program Assessment:

Committed to improving the quality of educational services offered to students, the literature program seeks to assess student achievement of course learning outcomes. Student work from this class may be randomly selected and used anonymously for program assessment. Copies of your coursework including any submitted papers and/or portfolios may be kept on file for assessment and accreditation purposes. The assessment process will not affect your grade in this class or require you to complete additional work.

UNCP Religious Holiday Policy Statement

The University of North Carolina at Pembroke has a legal and moral obligation to accommodate all students who must be absent from classes or miss scheduled exams in order to observe religious holidays; we must be careful not to inhibit or penalize these students for exercising their rights to religious observance. To accommodate students’ religious holidays, each student will be allowed two excused absences each semester with the following conditions:

1. Students, who submit written notification to their instructors within two weeks of the beginning of the semester, shall be excused from class or other scheduled academic activity to observe a religious holy day of their faith. Excused absences are limited to two class sessions (days) per semester.

2. Students shall be permitted a reasonable amount of time to make up tests or other work missed due to an excused absence for a religious observance.

3. Students should not be penalized due to absence from class or other scheduled academic activity because of religious observances.

A student who is to be excused from class for a religious observance is not required to provide a second-party certification of the reason for the absence. Furthermore, a student who believes that he or she has been unreasonably denied an education benefit due to religious beliefs or practices may seek redress through the student grievance procedure.


Updated: Thursday, April 10, 2014

Return to Courses


© The University of North Carolina at Pembroke
PO Box 1510 Pembroke, NC 28372-1510 • 910.521.6000