Indigenous People and the Pacific World

Spring 2020
Class Size: 25
Credits per quarter

Compare offerings and share your lists with others.

Taught by

Native American studies
3D studio art

We will place Indigenous people and the Pacific world at the center of our narrative on the “Red Pacific” through a focus on art, literature, and history. The Pacific Ocean is not only a conduit for the physical movement of people and ideas, but also serves as a highway for connections between cultures. How can we understand a sense of place that is based both on landscape and on seascape? We will learn about the multiple histories of the Pacific world, considering in more depth the connections between the Indigenous people of the Coast Salish region, Hawai’i, Australia, and Aotearoa.

We will examine the “Red Pacific” as part of a larger story of globalization and the worldwide movement of Indigenous people and their technologies, ideas, and material goods. We will particularly work to understand the canoe as transportation, cultural artifact, and symbol of sovereignty and nation-building. Students will analyze contemporary examples of Indigenous connections such as the Tribal Canoe Journeys, Gatherings of Indigenous Artists held at Evergreen in 2001 and 2017, and recent voyaging of the Polynesian triangle by double-hulled waka.

Students will be expected to integrate extensive readings, lecture notes, films, interviews and other sources in writing assignments. Students will learn about the different ways that Native communities have employed images and objects as links to history, identity, culture, function and ceremony. Students will develop the foundations of studio art practice in Northwest Native design and woodcarving techniques. Students will explore and research the use of woodcarving by Indigenous artists of the Pacific and will learn how to use traditional Northwest Coast carving tools. Faculty will work with students to develop different forms of literacies, including visual, cultural, and political. These skills are often prerequisites for those who wish to be involved with artistic practice or plan on teaching.

This program will have a 16-credit option that combines the lecture and studio art elements; there will be a separate 8-credit option that covers only the lecture component. If you register for one, do not register for the other.

This offering will prepare you for careers and advanced study in:

the arts, education, government, non-profit organizations, and public history.


Credits per quarter

Online learning:
  • Hybrid Online Learning - This offering delivers < 25% of its instruction online, rather than via face-to-face contact between you and your instructors.
Special expenses:

Students can expect to pay up to $100 for woodcarving materials and 2D design supplies.


$125 for a 3-day field trip to the Quileute and Makah nations.

Class Standing: Sophomore–Senior
Class Size: 25

Scheduled for: Day

Final schedule and room assignments:

First meeting:

Tuesday, March 31, 2020 - 9:30 am
LIB 1001 - Workshop

Located in: Olympia