Regrounding in Place: Paths to Native American Truths at the Margins

Michael Lucas


Margin acts as ground to receive the figure of the text. Margin is initially unreadable, but as suggested by gestalt studies, may be reversed, or regrounded. A humanities course, Native American Architecture and Place, was created for a polytechnic student population, looking to place as an inroad for access to the margins of a better understanding of Native American/First Nations peoples, and to challenge students to recognize the multiple realities of place through a study of Indigenous place from the People’s conceptions and into contemporary society. Place is specific, and competing recognitions of aspects of and reciprocities with a common givenness. This form of construction and recognition gathers locations, landscape, and architectural constructions, across a myriad of scales and is authenticated via collateral oral, ritual, and material culture as a rich, visceral lifeworld. The author’s personal and philosophic paths that led to place are discussed as well as pedagogy used within the course, including sessions led by Northern Chumash and Playano Salinan Elders.

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