Montana State University

NASX 550-801: Native America: Dispelling the Myths

Aug 24-Dec 11, 2015
Credit: 3 graduate
Cost: $910.65
Instructor(s) Francine Spang-Willis

Register Online

Course Description

Earn an on-line NAS Graduate Certificate

This course is designed around a series of assumptions—“myths”—commonly held by non-Indians and sometimes Indians alike. When unexamined, these assumptions undermine our ability to communicate across cultures, and ultimately form the basis for some of the worst forms of racism and stereotyping, even between neighbors. Students enrolled in this course will be asked to explore a different myth and its corresponding truths each week. Through assigned readings and videos, online conversations with fellow students, and creative projects, we will wrestle with these preconceptions while learning the most basic elements of American Indian—which is to say American—history. Teachers who need training to fulfill Montana's Indian Education for All mandate will especially benefit from taking this course.

Meeting Place and Times



Francine Spang-Willis. Francine Spang-Willis is Northern Cheyenne. She grew up on the Northern Cheyenne Reservation in Montana. She obtained a Master of Arts degree in Native American Studies and a college teaching certificate from Montana State University-Bozeman. As the former director of the American Indian Tribal Histories Project, she has gained extensive experience in Oral Tradition. She currently helps the U.S. Forest Service’s Heritage Program protect and maintain pre-historic and historic sites in the Gallatin National Forest.

Time Commitment

10-12 hours per week. If you are unfamiliar with this field of study and/or method of delivery, you may require more time.

Tuition and Fees

 Program Fee $25.50
 Computer Fee$10.65
 Distributed Learning Fee$75.00

A $30 registration fee is also charged once per semester.

The costs above assume that you are taking only MSU Extended University courses during the semester that the course is offered. If you also registered for courses through the MSU Registrar, the regular MSU fee structure may apply.

A $40 late fee will be assessed if payment is not posted to your account by 3 pm (Mountain Time) of the course start date (or the business day before if the course starts on a weekend or a holiday).

To learn more about tuition and fees, please see the University Business Services' Student Accounts Web page.

Required Books/Materials

  • Everything You Know About Indians Is Wrong
    Author: Paul Chat Smith
    Published: 2009 ISBN 13: 978-0-8166-5601-1
    Price: approximately $10
  • Native American Voices: A Reader (3rd Edition)
    Published: 2010
    Authors: Lobo, Susan, Steve Talbot and Traci Morris
    ISBN 13: 978-0-205-63394-4
    Price: approximately $30
  • Orientalism (25th Anniversary Edition with a New Preface by the Author) Author: Edward W. Said
    Published: 1979
    ISBN 0-394-74067-X
    Price: approximately $10

These books are available at most online retailers.

You will be assigned other readings and videos to discuss online. PDF copies of specific articles, book chapters, and links will exist as needed in the D2L course located at

Optional Books/Materials

  • American Indians: Stereotypes & Realities Author: Devon A. Mihesuah Published: 1996 ISBN 0-932863-22-1
    Price: approximately $10
  • Research Is Ceremony: Indigenous Research Methods Author: Shawn Wilson Published: 2008 ISBN 978-1-55266-281-6
    Price: approximately $95
  • Decolonizing Methodologies: Research and Indigenous People Author: Linda Tuhiwai Smith Published: 2012 (Second Edition) ISBN 978 1 84813 950 3 pb
    Price: approximately $28

Computer Requirements

  • Computer running Windows XP Service Pack 3 or newer or Mac OS X.5 (Leopard) or higher
  • CD-ROM drive
  • Internet access

For More Information

For course information: Please contact Francine Spang-Willis at

Registration Questions: Please contact Extended University, Office of Continuing Education at or (406) 994-6683, toll free (866) 540-5660

How to Register

Register Online

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