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Course Description

The Lumbees are the largest Native American tribe east of the Mississippi and the ninth largest tribe in the United States. North Carolina, correspondingly, has the largest Native American population of any state east of the Mississippi. Despite the Lumbee community’s significance to the past, present, and future of the state and nation, relatively little work of scholarly quality has been produced about them. What has been produced often addresses questions that are not generated by tribal members, but instead by outside investigators, whose disciplinary limitations gear the work towards tellings that often seem inaccurate to tribal members themselves. While this work is undoubtedly important in understanding Lumbee history and culture, this class will seek to bridge the gap between community history and academic ethnohistory through creating collaborative online exhibits that also receive input from members of the Lumbee community and scholars of Lumbee history.

Course Objectives

1)     to gain an understanding of the academic and community debates about Lumbee history, and the primary issues involved in researching Lumbee history and culture;

2)    To develop descriptive and interpretive skills that extend beyond received wisdom and personal opinions to provide useful context and understand and grant plausibility to multiple points of view on Lumbee history;

3)    To apply the above-mentioned descriptive and interpretive skills to collaborative research, with both other students and with outside experts from the Lumbee community and the academic and professional communities

4)    To produce an online exhibit on a specific topic that represents a useable archive of research materials and an interpretive launching pad for further research into Lumbee history; this exhibit will be authoritative from both scholarly and community perspectives.

5)    To host a web conference that presents the online exhibits and engages both scholars and community members in providing feedback about that research.