The United States was founded on broad principles of individual freedom – declarations of the right to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” were central to the American Revolution and the subsequent foundations of the new country. Looking back, we know that those rights were meant at the time for white land-owning men, and it was only after two centuries of discrimination that formal actions were taken to eliminate institutional racism and gender discrimination from U.S. law.
This dismantling of institutional racism did not, however, encompass all Americans. Today, American Indians and Alaska Natives are under tremendous regulation and government oversight, regulations that do not apply to other groups within the United States. Each week of the class will focus on a different aspect of these regulations, with a particular focus on family and children, religion and culture, and control over various forms of property.