Status: Available

Indigenous Nations of North America

Canadian and US native peoples, cultures, governance, welfare, and politics from 1500 to the present

Spring 2024
Monday Morning
Moderator: Larry Ambs



In this seminar we will examine the development of indigenous nations of North America and the history of their relationship with each other and the European and American peoples as they expanded and then developed their nations throughout the continent.


We tend to know the history and development of the US and Canada, but are vague about the existence, development, and history of indigenous people’s nation states, as well as the contentious relationships between our governments and theirs. Native and European peoples have interacted and coexisted since their first encounter; however, native peoples invested power in kinship, whereas the immigrating peoples invested power in the states and bureaucracy. This led to clashes of culture with often violent results. The internal history of North America is an era shaped by warfare, in some cases involving external foes but in many cases conflict with indigenous peoples. In many of these conflicts, the native peoples were triumphant. In this seminar we should obtain a better understanding of the history between indigenous nations and our governments. Specifically, I hope we are better able to understand the continuing conflict and confrontation between our governments.

ROLE OF PARTICIPANTS: Each participant will be expected to investigate the history and culture of an indigenous nation of North America.

The following are suggested recent texts that will be useful in exploring the topic: Indigenous Continent by Peka Hamalainen (2022), The Rediscovery of America by Ned Blackhawk (2023), Lakota America by Peka Hamalainen (2019), Comanche Empire by Peka Hamalainen (2008), Violence Over the Land by Ned Blackhawk (2008).

ABOUT THE MODERATOR: Larry has presented over 25 seminars on topics ranging from science to history to culture and to economics.