First Nations Studies is an interdisciplinary program of study that allows students to either specifically focus on Indigenous topics or to combine their program with any other undergraduate program. The degree structure consists of modules which may be selected after the first year of study is completed. This format allows students to customize their course selections. Students may combine courses from various departments and faculties that match their academic goals and interests and also achieve a broader knowledge base. The module selection is completed under the guidelines of three-year or four year degrees.
Core courses are offered every year, while electives are usually offered in alternate year. The Annual Program Timetable summarizes courses offered each academic year.
In First Nations Studies, the introductory course is a prerequisite for admission to the program modules. You need it to enrol in a Minor, Major or Honors module in First Nations Studies. A minimum grade of 60% (70% if you wish to pursue a Honors Specialization), is required for this course in order to pursue an undergraduate degree in First Nations Studies. A variety of contemporary First Nations topics will be examined from both academic and community perspectives. Students will learn key terms, facts, events, issues, worldviews and lifestyles of First Nations peoples in Canada. Students will be introduced to current Indigenous scholarship, cultural experts, Elders and researchers.
Other core courses offered yearly include:
Algonquin and Iroquoian language courses are offered each year. Both courses are taught by fluent speakers. Students not only learn a native language but also explore the relationships of language to cultural concepts. Both language courses are full year courses. First Nations Studies 2112E - Iroquoian Language & Culture is a Mohawk language course, while First Nations Studies 2113 - Algonquin Language & Culture provides instruction in the Ojibway language.
A number of courses are offered in alternate years. These courses generally address special topics relevant to First Nations Studies and may include but are not limited to topics such as Aboriginal Landscapes in Ontario, Archeology of Ontario & the Great Lakes, Andean Prehistory, First Nations in the Media, Indigenous Feminism, etc.
A number of Special Topic courses are offered each year. These are senior level courses and students wishing to enrol in these courses require approval from the First Nations Studies Program Director. Topics selected for these specialized studies address issues of relevance to Indigenous peoples. Courses may take the form of field work, a community project, curriculum design or directed research.
First Nations Issues will be examined from academic and community perspectives. Students will learn key terms, facts, events, issues, worldviews and lifestyles of First Nations peoples in Canada. Students will be introduced to current Indigenous scholarship, cultural experts, Elders and researchers.
In this course the student will be introduced to the mechanics opf the Mohawk Language and will examine the relationships of that language to various culturally relevant concepts.
For more information, please contact Mr. David Kanatawakhon-Maracle
In this course, students will learn Ojibway through oral presentations, the sound system, vocabulary, and sentence structure of the language. Storytelling, songs, dances, plays, chants and cultural teachings throughout the course are used to illustrate the relationships of the language and cultural concepts.
This course is designed to introduce students to Indigenous perspectives of their cultures by removing the colonial trap of seeing Indigenous cultures as being inferior or "stuck in time". The course will focus upon original teachings and examine the contributions of Indigenous cultures to the world community. Students will examine how cultural change impacts lifestyle, race relations, class systems and the role of gender within society. The historical impact will be touched on in relation to impact on the cultural growth and change. The format of the course includes lectures, films, speakers and interactive activities that encourage discussion.
In this course, students examine contemporary social and political issues of Indigenous Peoples of Canada within a globalized context. Students will focus on a number of key issues such as: Identity and Language, Media Representation, Political Relations, Education, Land Claims, Social Justice, Sovereignty/Aboriginal Rights, Community Development and Contemporary Cultural Expression.
First Nations peoples are the original inhabitants of Canada. This course will examine history recorded since European contact with all possible efforts to privilege an Aboriginal point of view and the contribution Aboriginal peoples have made and continue to make to Canada as a nation-state and as a cultural community.
A study of Indigenous arts of North America, this course explores Indigenous creativity through the examination of historic and contemporary art of Indigenous artists.
Environmental issues and concerns among Indigenous peoples across North America are the focus of this course. Emphasis is on how the colonial and industrial society's progress often comes at the expense of Indigenous health, livelihood and habitat. The course will explore colonial and industrial encroachment onto Indigenous territories, the effects of pollution and environmental degradation on health and wildlife as well as social, cultural, economic and political self-determination and revitalization.
Indigenous knowledge, as a distinctive field of study, is emerging as an important tool in the movement toward self determination and empowerment. This course will examine Indigenous beliefs, ways of knowing, and worldviews to understand their differences and similarities, while exploring contemporary expressions through a variety of sources and interpretations.
**REQUIRED TEXTBOOK: Manuel, Arthur and Grand Chief Ronald M. Derrickson 2015. Unsettling Canada: A National Wake-Up Call. Toronto: Between The Lines.**
Political and legal issues are at the core of the colonial relationship between First Nations peoples and the Canadian nation-state. Central to these issues are sovereignty and self-determination. Self-determination is crucial to the survival, regeneration and revitalization of Indigenous peoples. The course will explore the legal and political issues First Nations face through the matrix of issues, debates, discourses, histories, theories, practices and strategies that surround the relationship between indigenous self-determination and the Canadian settler-state.
In addition to gaining a critical understanding of political and legal issues, the student will also acquire skills in group work and collective participation, critical thinking and writing.
This course will offer students the opportunity to examine the iealogy of Indigenous Feminism as it relates to historical and contemporary Haudenosaunee culture. Through discussion, stories, excerpted documents and requried readings, the concept will be reviewed in realation the the Great Law tenets of Peace, Power and Righteousness. The broad knowledge provided will assist participants to critically engage traditional idealogy in the contemporary world, acquaint themselves with traditional Haudenosaunee pedagogy practises and be able to articulate a brief history of feminism in North America.
This is an alternate-year course and a course description will be available when the course is listed.
This course is an excellent opportunity to experience the Music of First Nations Peoples. Students will learn basic Haudenosaunee music ideolgy and apply this basic knowledge via practical singing experience while examining the philosophical disposition of aboriginal music. Students will acquire practical experience and in-depth knowledge of Haudenosaunee traditional music by examining the genre of social dance music. One would gain an understading of the importance and place of music within First Nations' lives. In this course, students will learn required songs, gain an understanding of the importance of these songs and music within First Nations culture.
Individual reading and research of current interest in First Nations topics. Students must make arrangements with a Professor in the First Nations Studies program. An application must be completed with approval from the Instructor and the Director. For Application Form, please contact the First Nations Studies program office.
This course will provide students with an opportunity to engage with Indigenous concepts and practices of storytelling and to consider the many shapes that Indigenous storytelling takes, including oral narratives, writings, songs, and visual and performance arts.
Individual reading and research of current interest in First Nations topics. Student must make arrangements with a Professor in the First Nations Studies program. An application must be completed with approval from the Instructor and the Director. Applications are available in the First Nations Studies office.
This is an advanced seminar course that combines in-class discussions of theoretical texts and research papers with community based research. Students will train in methodologies and ethics of working with First Nations communities. Areas of research may include but are not limited to land claims, self-government, education, health and wellness and urban issues. Applications are available in the First Nations Studies office.
In this field course students will spend most of their time on Walpole Island. They will be introduced to the historic and contemporary realities experienced by Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples on Walpole and the neighbouring community of Chatham-Kent. This course immerses students in historical ecology, restoration, invasive species, and planning in Indigenous contexts. Students will use community-based methods to explore Anishinaabeg and non-Indigenous ecological restoration efforts while simultaneously assisting in community-based projects aimed at environmental and cultural restoration, including the removal of black locust and other invasive plant species.