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Social Change Among Native Americans

Description of research project:

 This research project is documenting and explaining social change among Native Americans across the 19th , 20th, and 21st centuries. The project includes a general focus on American Indians in general along with a specific focus on the Indians of the Pacific Northwest. We will be studying many different aspects of Native American life: religion; education; government; economy; family patterns; dress and appearance; language; and naming patterns. The project is focusing on the experiences of Native Americans with Euro-Americans and the ways that those experiences influenced changes in Indian life across two centuries. Of particular interest is how those experiences affected various Indian groups differently.

Description of work conducted by research assistants:

It is anticipated that research assistants will participate in several activities. Among these, are literature searches concerning various topics such as: Indian reactions to the terrible epidemics that came with the Europeans; Indian reactions to European appropriation of land and natural resources; and Indian reactions to boarding schools. Another activity will focus on the identification and location of data resources, including: identification of scholars using census data to study Native Americans; inventorying information in the general U.S. censuses and in the specialized Indian censuses; identifying other data resources for the study of American Indians such as boarding school data. Another project need is the accumulation of network resources, such as identification of scholars with expertise in particular aspects of Native American life.

Supervising Faculty Member: Arland Thornton, Professor of Sociology and Research Professor, Institute for Social Research.

Contact information: arlandt@umich.edu.

Average hours of work per week:  6-12

Range of credit hours students can earn: 2-4

Number of positions available: 2