F&ES 786Ea/REL 918H / 2017-2018

Native American Religions and Ecology (Fall-2 Oct 24-Dec 5)

Credits: 2
Fall 2017: Tu, 4:00-5:30, ISPS - A001

This six week hybrid-online course explores a diversity of Native American peoples and examines their ecological interactions with place, biodiversity, and celestial bodies as religious realities. The dynamic interactions of First Nations’ cultures and bioregions provide a lens for understanding lifeways, namely, a weave of thought and practice in traditional Native American life. Through symbolic languages, subsistence practices, and traditional rituals, lifeways give expression to living cosmologies, namely, communal life lived in relation to a sacred universe.
            This course focuses on an historical overview of three American Indian cultural regions and peoples, namely, Anishinabe/Ojibwa peoples of the Great Lakes and Woodlands; Apsaalooka/Crow peoples of the continental Great Plains; and Dineh/Navajo peoples of the Southwest River, Mountain, and Arid Plateau. 
These diverse peoples and changing traditions raise provocative and insightful perspectives on crucial environmental questions of the 21st century.   Are there shared forms among Native American Peoples for flourishing life and ecological conservation that relate to contemporary "sustainability"?  How does Indigenous Knowledge transmit environmental ethics embracing biotic and abiotic realms? How does Indigenous environmental knowledge relate to scientific ecological knowledge?