HIST 276
Stockbridge-Munsee Mohican Community Histories, Presents, and Futures Spring 2023
Division II Difference, Power, and Equity

Class Details

The ancestral and continuing homelands of the Stockbridge-Munsee Mohican Community (SMC) are where Williams College is located, a fact that the institution formally recognized in Fall 2021 through a land acknowledgment. This was one step toward building more meaningful relations between the College and the sovereign tribal nation, which has been displaced through violent, painful processes directly shaped by the Williams family, while also maintaining enduring relations with these homelands. This course addresses needs to continue work of learning and repair by “educating beyond the land acknowledgment.” It centers SMC experiences, knowledge, and goals, and provides space for students to work on projects directly meaningful for the community, including the Tribal Historic Preservation Office (THPO) that is based locally through an official partnership with the college. It will have strong collaborative and experiential components, plus ethical commitments to highlighting the tribal nation’s active forms of stewardship, knowledge-keeping, and intellectual as well as political sovereignty. The exact shape of the syllabus and projects will be determined in close conversation and collaboration with the Stockbridge-Munsee Community. Depending on goals/interests, potential areas of focus might include SMC homelands; archaeological research and its importance for place-stewardship; political sovereignty, governance, and leadership; histories and impacts of European colonialism among SMC people; SMC traditions of diplomacy and peacemaking; strategic uses of archives and documents in protecting community wellbeing and resisting dispossession; the “Many Trails” of forced removal westward; establishment of the SMC in Menominee homelands; 20th and 21st-century experiences, knowledge-keeping, and continuing connections with eastern homelands; repatriation of ancestors and belongings; language revitalization, Land Back, education, and economic sovereignty; and other topics.
The Class: Format: seminar
Limit: 15
Expected: 15
Class#: 3391
Grading: yes pass/fail option, yes fifth course option
Requirements/Evaluation: The focus of this seminar is experiential, collaborative, and community-based learning and project work. Seminar meetings will include discussion of readings/multimedia (especially works produced by SMC members), and meetings and dialogues with community members (in person or virtually as schedules and COVID permits). Class members' active, engaged participation in trips to area places of significance will be essential components as well. In small groups class members will work on projects of significance for the SMC, and may share out their work at the end of the term in multiple forms.
Prerequisites: Open to all students. If the course over-enrolls, students may be asked to share a brief statement of interest.
Enrollment Preferences: If the course over-enrolls, first- and second-year students will have preference.
Distributions: Division II Difference, Power, and Equity
DPE Notes: This course is a collaboration with the Stockbridge-Munsee Mohican Community that foregrounds community knowledge, projects, and goals. It offers students grounding in topics and methods specific to the SMC as well as in Native American and Indigenous Studies. It also presents critical perspectives on settler colonialism and its historical as well as ongoing impacts.
Attributes: HIST Group F Electives - U.S. + Canada

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