History, for all its facts and figures, names and dates, is ultimately subjective. You learn the points of view your teachers provide, the perspectives that books offer, and the conclusions you draw yourself based on the facts you were given. Hearing different angles on historical events gives you a more insightful, accurate, and rewarding understanding of events - especially when a new viewpoint challenges the story you thought you knew.
Now the Great Courses has partnered with Smithsonian to bring you a course that will greatly expand your understanding of American history. This course, Native Peoples of North America, pairs the unmatched resources and expertise of the Smithsonian's National Museum of the American Indian with the unparalleled knowledge of Professor Daniel M. Cobb of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill to provide a multidisciplinary view of American history, revealing new perspectives on the historical and contemporary experiences of indigenous peoples and their impact on the history of our country.
This insightful and unique 24-lecture course helps disprove myths and stereotypes that many people take as fact. Professor Cobb presents a different account of the Seven Years' War, the American Revolution, the War of 1812, the Civil War, the Gold Rush, the Transcontinental Railroad, and beyond, providing the stories of the American Indian people who fought and negotiated to preserve their ancestral lands.
Native Peoples of North America recounts an epic story of resistance and accommodation, persistence and adaption, extraordinary hardship and survival across more than 500 years of colonial encounter. As the Smithsonian curators stated, "The past never changes. But the way we understand it, learn about it, and know about it changes all the time." Be prepared - this course is going to change how you understand American history. And no matter how much you know about this subject, you will be surprised.
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Worthwhile, but frustrating
The last half of the course is much better than the first, since it recounts more recent history and Native Americans are allowed to speak for themselves through their writings. In the first half, Prof. Cobb too frequently ascribes thoughts, feelings and intentions to Native historical figures who left no records on which to base such conclusions. In Lecture 4, for example, he somehow intuits Matoaka’s motives in assisting the Virginia colony, and divines that her actions were orchestrated by her father, Powhatan. No evidence is cited to support this interpretation of events, and the PDF Course Guide contains no documentation other than a thin suggested reading list. Prof. Cobb may be right, but it would be nice if readers could somehow follow the path which led him to his often revisionist view of history.
Needs To Be Re-Thought