SPARK Flossie Pack Center for Lifelong Learning

SPARK MEMBERSHIP opens the door for all classes, tours and clubs.

Recorded | Indigenous America: Egalitarianism and Consensus-Building with Gil Nichols Fall 2020

Previously recorded class.


You will be sent the link to a private playlist of all recorded sessions of this class.


YouTube Recording – You will be sent a link to a private playlist containing all sessions from Fall 2020 within 48 hours during standard office hours.

“All men are created equal” is a fundamental concept in our Constitution. Sounds good.  But did they mean only men when it was ratified in June 1788.  Only white men?  Only wealthy men?  This class will explore egalitarianism in the United States, particularly as it relates to women and Native Americans.  What exactly is egalitarianism?  To most Euro-Americans, it’s political and social equality in concept – if not in reality.  In traditional Native America, it included women, children and a reverence for all life.  And they walked their talk.

This class will explore why American Suffragettes in 1848 in Seneca Falls, NY used the role of native women as their inspiration.  To better understand that role, we’ll consider the inner basis of values, ethics and decision-making of Native Americans, which began with a fundamental understanding of the duality of energy.  (Yes – physics and Native Americans!)  We’ll look at their consensus model of decision-making, the status women held, and a centuries-long fight to protect the environment.

Other topics will include egalitarianism clashes with the state; the colonial destruction of Native America from an experiential rather than descriptive perspective; “rematriation” (returning the sacred back to Mother Earth); and responsibility to the community.


Gil Nichols is a lifelong student of history and North American Indian cultures.  He has participated in Dakota and Lakota ceremonies for almost 40 years. He taught high school Social Sciences for 30 years and American Indian studies at William Jewel College and UMKC for 14 years.  He teaches in the KU Osher program and has served as a Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art Tour Guide for nine years.  Gil is also Chair of the Thidaware Native American Garden Project at Line Creek Park in Kansas City.


We use cookies to personalise content and ads, to provide social media features and to analyse our traffic. We also share information about your use of our site with our social media, advertising and analytics partners who may combine it with other information that you’ve provided to them or that they’ve collected from your use of their services.