Exploring Indigenous Ways of Knowing

Immerse yourself in the indigenous communities of the Great Lakes. Learn about indigenous world view, cultural practices, and unique ways of knowing with a combined course and cultural engagement experience. CED 400 is an interdomain (GH/GS) General Education class as well as a U.S. Cultures course.

How do indigenous people experience and understand the world around them? What roles do stories, music, and ceremonies play in the preservation of culture? What unique contributions does indigenous knowledge make to science and the Western worldview?

The following two courses, Exploring Indigenous Ways of Knowing in the Great Lakes Region (CED 400) and Exploring Indigenous Ways of Knowing among the Ojibwe (CED 401), present students with unique classroom and cultural engagement opportunities to explore concepts and values distinctive to indigenous knowledge in the Great Lakes Region. Through critical readings, discussions, and participant observation, students will learn new ways to think about issues of ecology, science, and worldview. 

Classroom Lecture (CED 400)

CED 400: Exploring Indigenous Ways of Knowing in the Great Lakes Region is a classroom lecture course held during the spring semester and is a prerequisite for the cultural engagement experience held in May in northern Minnesota (CED 401).

University Bulletin Description; 3 credits

  • Engage in critical readings, lectures, video segments, a field trip, and classroom discussion to better understand the worldview, cultural practices, and ways of knowing unique to indigenous peoples.
  • Develop an awareness of colonial powers and the forces of historical trauma at work in indigenous communities today.

How to Register for CED 400

Penn State Students

CED 400, “Exploring Indigenous Ways of Knowing in Great Lakes Region: Lecture” is an evening course scheduled on Mondays from 6:00 – 9:00 p.m. It is held at University Park and is accessible remotely.

CED 400 is held during the spring semester. Penn State students at any campus can register for the course via LionPATH When selecting location, please choose CONFINST – Conferences and Institutes.

Non-Penn State students

If you are not a current student at Penn State, please complete the Undergraduate Nondegree Form and the CED 400 Registration Form to enroll in this course:

Regular Penn State tuition and fees will be charged. Details can be found on the Penn State Tuition and Fees Schedules

For questions regarding the registration process, email or call 814-863-5100.

Cultural Engagement in Minnesota (CED 401)

CED 401: Exploring Indigenous Ways of Knowing Among the Ojibwe is a 2-3 week cultural engagement experience held in May on the Red Lake and Leech Lake Nations of northern Minnesota.

Spring 2020 (Maymester) Dates: May 10 – 26, 2020. Students will depart on Sunday morning, May 10th, and return to State College on Tuesday night, May 26th.

This multicultural engagement experience is an option for students who are looking for a meaningful and affordable alternative or complement to study abroad.

University Bulletin Description; 0.5 credits

Learning from the Ojibwe

  • Meet and learn from more than 25 prominent Ojibwe elders, educators, scientists, political leaders, medicine men/women, environmentalists, ethnobotanists, storytellers, and host family members.
  • Stay with Ojibwe host families on the Red Lake Nation add, one of two closed reservations in the U.S.
  • Follow part of the 1,000-year-old Great Migration route of the Ojibwe from their ancestral home around the St. Lawrence River estuary to western Lake Superior and the headwaters of the Mississippi River.
  • Learn skills important to the study of cultures and the pursuit of ethnological research in cross-cultural contexts.

How to Register for CED 401

CanoeingStudents who have completed CED 400 are eligible to register for CED 401. 

Additionally, students from other universities may participate in CED 401 if they have completed a course requirement comparable to CED 400.


For questions regarding the registration process, email or call 814-863-5100.

For questions regarding course content:

Contact Information

Dr. Bruce Martin
  • Adjunct Instructor, College of Agricultural Sciences
Danna Jayne Seballos
  • Teaching Assistant, CED 400 and 401