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OLLI: Indigenous Culture in the Berkshires and Beyond

Six Mondays beginning April 13, 2020, from 12:30 to 2:00 at Simon’s Rock College.

Registration is now open. (Course M103)

I am now working on a syllabus, which will be posted here once I’ve narrowed down the large number of topics which suggest themselves. Among other things, we will discuss The Sweep of History, the Variety and Sophistication of Indigenous American Cultures (including the Haudenosaunee, the Inkas, and others), and the impact that European and American ways had upon each other (e.g. the Little Ice Age, and the Enlightenment Philosophers, whose thinking influenced the rebellion of the English colonists).

I’ve used some of what I’ve learned to create a land acknowledgment for my town.

Here is a brief description of the course:

Today’s headlines feature climate crisis and civic strife. In contrast, for thousands of years, local indigenous people lived in harmony with the land, and with each other.

By exploring the culture (beliefs and practices) of the Muh-he-con-neok (Mohican) people, who are the original inhabitants of the Berkshires, we will see the influence they, and other indigenous cultures in the Americas, have had (and continue to have) on our present society.

Through presentations, suggested readings, and discussions, we will observe lessons learned and lessons missed; and the relevance of indigenous culture, then and now, to the larger questions of human experience.