Native American History and Cultures

Ananda Forest


This course is an overview of Native American cultures in North America. We will focus on five primary cultural areas with an emphasis on specific tribes:  Northeast Woodland tribes–the Iroquois Confederacy or Haudenosaunee;  Southeastern tribes–the Cherokee;  Southwest tribes- the Anasazi and their Pueblo descendants; the Pacific Northwest–the Haida; the Great Plains–the Lakota.

Considering there were as many as 600 distinct Native “Nations” at the time of Contact, this is a brief tour; however, in the short time we have, we will be able to observe broad overarching patterns within the wild mosaic of First Peoples and also to drill down in detail to examine more closely a handful of profoundly influential tribes.

From a conventional historical outlook, this course is grimly straightforward: the European peoples won and the Indigenous peoples lost in a bloody and excruciating struggle.  However, the same could be said about a Jewish prophet named Yeshua. In that narrative, also, the steel wielding empire crushed the people of the Spirit. However,  there is a lot more to both stories.

In this class, we will both begin to come to grips with the heartrending outcomes of this clash of cultures  AND really dig into the wisdom and power of certain  Native American visionaries and traditions and examine their profound relevance for some of the challenges the Human Race is facing now.

Thursdays, April 25 – May 30, 2:00 – 4:00  29 River St.

Ananda Forest:  The first thing I ever wanted to be when I grew up was an Indian.  Although my 5-year-old attempts to eat roots didn’t come to much, as luck would have it, my Dad’s big sister eloped with an actual Native American and he became my mentor for twenty years, introducing me to the way of the shaman.   I went on to study with Michael Harner and Sandra Ingerman of the Foundation for Shamanic Studies from 1995-2005 and also co-created and co-directed a center for shamanism and spiritual ecology in Southern Vermont. I have been leading sweat lodge and conducting pipe ceremony for over twenty years.   I have also been teaching Native American History and Cultures at the Community College of Vermont since 2005.