AIS 100: Introduction To American Indian Studies


This is a 5-7 page double-spaced paper that is to include a reference page at the end. You may use citations in the text, but they are not necessary. You should use reasonable judgment in your use of sources by using urls as a secondary source. The objective is to do a case study on one Native American group. A Native American group should be one Nation/Tribe/Community. Your paper should reflect this basic outline but do not itemize these elements.

1. What are the origins of the group and their earlier cultural development that led to the culture seen at contact in their traditional geographic location.

2. Describe this groups traditional culture at the time of contact with non-Indians. Remember, this can vary from A.D. 1492-1920, depending on the Native American group's history of contact. Try to briefly summarize traditional culture aspects based on the cultural outline below. One way to do this is to pick what is really different or distinctive about this traditional culture. Also, write this in narrative form, do not repeat the outline below and attempt to include ever aspect of the culture.

Culture Outline

Language Phyla

This is a linguistic classification system that gives clues as to cultural relationships and origins. Note the various cultures in a phyla and their cultural geographic location.


Includes the patterns of where people choose to live, why and the impact to include housing, etc.


Subsistence is the primary aspect of economics and is includes food getting and preparation as well as shelter. In contemporary culture most people pay others to do this. Technology, trade and market systems are also part of economics

Social Organization

A cultures social institutions including family, clan, band, tribe, chiefdom, state, and empire are the backbone of society. The implications of social relations and  social roles are the action of society.

World View

This is an old term  used to refer to the cognitive patterns of culture which are part of  religion, philosophy, science, folklore, etc.

Expressed Forms

This is a catch-all area of behaviors and things that express the above aspects of culture especially through the arts and technology.

3. Describe the contemporary culture starting with the perspective of the history of contact resulting in the status of that Native American group and their current location(s). Where do the people live in relation to their traditional homeland? What is their population? What is their political status and/or their economic status?

Remember this outline is used in our class case studies which can act as a guide for what you do in your paper. The internet/urls will typically help most for the contemporary status. An educational program called Trackstar will get you started. Go to my name in Trackstar or Track # 29136. Also, many Native American groups have their own web sites. Basic research strategies in the library should generate both printed and internet sources.