First Nations: A History of Indigenous Peoples of the Americas

Enrollment Message:

This course is an updated version of Michigan Virtual's previous (2018) Native American History course, adopting preferred language and terminology recommended by the Maawndoonganan Anishinaabe Resource Manual (2021): The State of Michigan Social Studies Standards Guide for Teaching To and About First Peoples, published by the Confederation of Michigan Tribal Education Departments.

This course provides an introduction to the history of the First Peoples, a diverse range of tribal communities indigenous to the North and South American continents. Students will consider the varied societies and cultures of Native Peoples long established before European colonists arrived in the hemisphere. After examining their origins and several civilizations in North America, Mesoamerica, and South America, students will then study the challenges posed by the arrival of European colonists and later the conflicts resulting from forced migration and reservation policies imposed by the United States government. In the second half of the course, students will especially focus on the relationship between the United States and the First Peoples, particularly as it has been understood by members of Indigenous Tribes in their struggles to preserve their lands, sovereignty, and cultural identity. Prerequisites:  None

Course Objectives: Upon completion of this course, students will be able to...

  • Identify various indigenous tribal cultures and the geographical regions in which they have historically been located
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the notable eras within the histories of various First Peoples
  • Demonstrate an understanding that history is interpretive and that the oral traditions, written records and other source materials of Indigenous Peoples off a unique historical narrative about the Americas
  • Identify cultural differences between and among various indigenous tribal communities
  • Analyze how mainstream white American culture has historically represented diverse native populations as a monolithic “other” and the relationship of this perspective to a pattern of discrimination and war
  • Explain the relationship between the history of the First Peoples with aspects of current tribal communities, policies of the U.S. government, and modern issues of sovereignty

Course Outline:

Unit 1: Early Migrations and Cultures of America’s First Peoples

Unit 2: Mesoamerican and South American Civilizations

Unit 3: The Challenge Posed by the Spanish

Unit 4: English, Dutch, and French Colonization

Unit 5: European Imperial Wars in North America

Unit 6: Indian Removal Act and Westward Expansion

Unit 7: Reservations and Forced Assimilation

Unit 8: Current Issues and Challenges Among First Peoples in the U.S.

Resources Included: Online lesson instruction and activities, opportunities to engage with a certified, online instructor and classmates, when appropriate, and online assessments to measure student performance of course objectives and readiness for subsequent academic pursuits.

Additional Costs: None

Scoring System: Michigan Virtual does not assign letter grades, grant credit for courses, nor issue diplomas. A final score out of total points earned will be submitted to your school mentor for conversion to their own letter grading system.

Time Commitment: Semester sessions are 18-weeks long: Students must be able to spend 1 or more hours per day in the course to be successful. Summer sessions are 10 weeks long: Students must be able to spend a minimum of 2 or more hours per day, or about 90 hours during the summer, for the student to be successful in any course. Trimester sessions are 12-weeks long: Students must be able to spend 1.5 or more hours per day in the course to be successful.

Technology Requirements: Students will require a computer device with headphones, a microphone, webcam, up-to-date Chrome Web Browser, and access to YouTube.

Please review the Michigan Virtual Technology Requirements:

Instructor Support System: For technical issues within your course, contact the Customer Care Center by email at [email protected] or by phone at (888) 889-2840.

Instructor Contact Expectations: Students can use email or the private message system within the Student Learning Portal to access highly qualified teachers when they need instructor assistance. Students will also receive feedback on their work inside the learning management system. The Instructor Info area of their course may describe additional communication options.

Academic Support Available: In addition to access to a highly qualified, Michigan certified teacher, students have access to academic videos and outside resources verified by Michigan Virtual. For technical issues within the course, students can contact the Michigan Virtual Customer Care by email at [email protected] or by phone at (888) 889-2840.

Required Assessment: Online assessments consist of formative and summative assessments represented by computer-graded multiple choice, instructor-graded writing assignments including hands-on projects, model building and other forms of authentic assessments.

Technical Skills Needed: Basic technology skills necessary to locate and share information and files as well as interact with others in a Learning Management System (LMS), include the ability to:

  • Download, edit, save, convert, and upload files
  • Download and install software
  • Use a messaging service similar to email
  • Communicate with others in online discussion or message boards, following basic rules of netiquette
  • Open attachments shared in messages
  • Create, save, and submit files in commonly used word processing program formats and as a PDF
  • Edit file share settings in cloud-based applications, such as Google Docs, Sheets, or Slides
  • Save a file as a .pdf
  • Copy and paste and format text using your mouse, keyboard, or an html editor’s toolbar menu
  • Insert images or links into a file or html editor
  • Search for information within a document using Ctrl+F or Command+F keyboard shortcuts
  • Work in multiple browser windows and tabs simultaneously
  • Activate a microphone or webcam on your device, and record and upload or link audio and/or video files
  • Use presentation and graphics programs
  • Follow an online pacing guide or calendar of due dates
  • Use spell-check, citation editors, and tools commonly provided in word processing tool menus
  • Create and maintain usernames and passwords

Additional Information: None


School Level: High School
Standards: Common Core State Standards-Literacy in History/Social Studies, Science, & Technical Subjects,Michigan High School Content Expectations
NCAA Approved: Yes
Alignment Document: Document
Course Location:
NCES Code: 04109
MDE Endorsement Code: CC - History
MMC Minimum Requirements: EDP/Career Interest Elective

When Offered: _Internal Use Only

Content Provider: Michigan Virtual
Instructor Provider: Michigan Virtual

Course Type: Plus