AMIN 1912: Strange Spirits: Monsters, Star Beings, and Other Mysterious Creatures in American Indian Literature

3 CreditsFreshman Seminar

Maybe you've seen a movie where the characters spot some strange creature moving through the dark woods of a shadowy night and one of them explains, \"It's a windigo. Native Americans say it eats human flesh.\" Maybe you wondered what this monster is and what Native people think of it. Maybe you thought it strange that a film was using a creature from Native tradition to threaten non-Native characters. Maybe you thought using such a creature was a bit too similar to those old movies where \"savage\" Indians threaten pioneer families. In this seminar, we explore what strange spirits like windigos, Sasquatch, or Star Beings (aliens) mean in Native and non-Native contexts. In Indigenous contexts, such stories carry knowledge about how to live ethically with the world. We will also examine texts by non-Natives that engage with the Native content of these stories, asking whether they engage with this content as knowledge or as entertainment. Our comparative examination raises important questions about the relation of colonialism to the appropriation of Native lands and cultural expressions.

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A- Average (3.772)Most Common: A (60%)

This total also includes data from semesters with unknown instructors.

20 students
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  • 4.78



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