Course Descriptions

Overview

Core courses are offered each year, while electives are offered in alternate years. The Annual Program Timetable summarizes courses offered each academic year.  All course offerings can be found on the Western Academic Calendar.

Core Course

Introduction to First Nations Studies

(FNS) 1020E: Introduction to 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 the 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:

  • FNS 2112E - Iroquoian Language & Culture
  • FNS 2113 - Algonquin Language & Culture
  • FNS 2218 - Contemporary First Nations Issues in Canada
  • FNS 2901 - First Nations in Canadian History
  • FNS 3140 - Indigenous Knowledge and Traditions. 
  • FNS 3722 - First Nations Political and Legal Issues. 

First Nations Studies Courses

Program Entrance Required Course

FNS 1020E: Introduction to First Nations Studies

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.

Course Syllabus 2017

Language Courses

FNS 2101E: Iroquoian Perspectives & Tradition

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

FNS 2113: Algonquian Language & Culture

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.

Course Syllabus 2017/18.

For more information on the course, please contact Mr. Mario Wassaykeesic.

First Nations Studies 2000 Level Core Courses

FNS 2218F: Contemporary First Nations Issues in Canada

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.

Course Syllabus 2017.

For more information on the course, please contact Natahnee Winder.

FNS 2901E: First Nations in Canadian History

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.

Course Syllabus 2017/18.

For more information, please contact Evan Habkirk.

First Nations Studies 2000 Level Electives

FNS 2601G: Indigenous Environments

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.

 FNS 2601G course syllabus 2018 Winter

For more information, please contact Dr Chantelle Richmond

First Nations Studies 3000 Level Core Courses

FNS 3140F: Indigenous Knowledge & Traditions 

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.

Course Syllabus 2017

For more information, please contact Mr. David Kanatawakhon-Maracle

FNS 3722F: First Nations Political & Legal Issues 

**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.

Course syllabus 2017

If you would like more information, please contact Mr. Baker.

First Nations Studies 3000 Level Electives

FNS 3011F/G: Readings in First Nations Studies

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.

FNS 3880G: First Nations Literatures

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. 

Course Syllabus 2018

For more information, please contact Dr Pauline Wakeham

First Nations Studies 4000 Level Electives

FNS 4011F/G: Supervised Readings/Research in First Nations

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.

FNS 4022E: Field School in First Nations Studies

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.

FNS 4023F: Community-Based Research in First Nations Studies

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. 

Common Information

There are many requirements that students have to be aware of during the course of their studies. Some are addressed here. If you need further clarification, please visit Academic Counselling or the First Nations Studies Program office.

Prerequisite, Corequisite and Antirequisite

Prerequisite

A Prerequisite is a course that has to be completed successfully before enrolling in the course for which it is listed as a prerequisite. For example FNS 1020E is a prerequisite for First Nations Studies courses and has to be successfully completed with a minimum of 60% before enrolling in other First Nations Studies courses. One can view prerequisites in the Western Academic Calendar

Antirequisite

An Antirequisite is a course that overlaps sufficiently in course content that both cannot be taken for credit towards the degree requirement. For example, Anthropology 2220E is an antirequisite for FNS 2101E. Course antirequisites are listed in the Western Academic Calendar.

Corequisite

A Corequisite is a course that must be taken concurrently with (or prior to registration in) the desired course.

Course Load

Course Load

  • Normal course load first year is 5.0 courses numbered 1000 to 1999.
  • Students enrolled in 3.5 courses or more are considered full-time students
  • Students enrolled in fewer than 3.5 courses are considered part-time students

Spring/Summer Session

  • The workload for the Spring/Summer sessions (May to August) is a maximum of 3.0 courses
  • No more than 2.0 courses can be taken simultaneously
  • Where 2.0 courses are taken simultaneously, only 1.0 may be a laboratory course.

Distance Studies Courses

  • Students may not take more than 1.0 courses during the spring/summer session
  • In the fall/winter sessions, students may not take more than 2.0 courses
  • If a student wishes to take more than the allowed number of courses, they must get permission from the Dean of their academic faculty prior to selecting the courses.

Course Selection for your First Nations Studies Modules

When selecting courses for your First Nations Studies modules, please remember to select courses as follows:

  1. For ALL Modules
    • you are required to complete courses FNS 3140F/G and FNS 3722F/G
    • you need a 1.0 credit by completing FNS 2217F/G and FNS 2218F/G (=1.0) or FNS 2901E (1.0)
    • 2 essay credits from the table of courses listed in the "Modules and Course Selection" 
  2. Additional Essay Credits
    • FNS Honours Module - 4.0 credits selected from the table in the "Modules and Course Selection" section and under the "Modules and Course Combination Requirements.
    • FNS Major - 2.0 credits selected from the module sheet (see bullet 4 above) course lists or "Approved Course List" (see link above).

If you wish to discuss your options and course selections further, please contact the Acting Director, First Nations Studies or the First Nations Studies Program Coordinator.