Course Descriptions

Indigenous Studies

This course will provide a background on the development of the field of Indigenous Studies. It will be a survey consisting of three primary themes: the diversity of Indigenous cultures; historic and contemporary interactions between the nation-states and indigenous peoples; and representations of Indigenous peoples in literature and other artistic forms. We will explore varied meanings and definitions of indigenism in the milieus of the personal, social, political, legal, academic, and economic.  Identity, power, ownership of knowledge, and tensions surrounding authenticity all serve to complicate this topic. While the topic is global, there will be a particular focus on Canada.

This course examines the Aboriginal colonial experience, particularly in Western Canada, and the impact colonization has had and continues to have on the relationship between Aboriginal peoples and Canadian governments.  This course emphasizes the contemporary effects of colonization, particularly as regards identity issues and how they play out in the urban and inner-city environment, and also processes and strategies for decolonization.
 POL-2020(3) AND UIC-2020(3).

As small-scale and not-for-profit structures, community-based and Aboriginal organizations often face unique challenges and political/cultural realities in terms of overall management and operations. This course provides students with a good understanding of the key facets of management and administrative structures within the community and Aboriginal sectors in particular. Key topics include organizational structures and management controls, financial statements and budgeting, performance measurements, strategic planning and operations analysis and evaluation.
 UIC-1001 OR AG/IS-1015 OR Departmental approval.
 UIC-2030(3), BUS-2030(3).

This course introduces students to human rights theory and practice in a global context.  Students explore debates and issues drawn from a range of disciplinary perspectives.  Course themes may include: legal, moral, and philosophical accounts of human rights; major international and national human rights frameworks/policies; the international human rights movement; tension between sovereignty and human rights; cultural relativism vs. universalism; retrospective justice/reconciliation; human rights methodology/reporting; the role of courts, IGOs, NGOs, and civil society; civil-political vs economic/social/cultural rights; the intersection of human rights discourses with gender, race, ethnicity, technology, health, indigeniety, foreign policy, militarism, security, labour, and globalization.

This course examines the current developments at the international level with respect to the rights of Indigenous peoples, particularly the right to self-determination. The course also examines issues of decolonization as the concept is used in reference to Indigenous peoples. It includes a review of the Draft Declaration of Indigenous peoples and the Organization of American States (OAS) Draft Declaration. In addition, the course reviews the United Nations bodies that deal with Indigenous issues, including issues dealing with cultural rights. Various international reports on Indigenous people’s rights to land and treaty interpretation are considered and compared to Canada’s current policy in maintaining a colonial relationship. Moreover, developments and issues of concern to the Indigenous Peoples Permanent Forum are covered in the course.

The program of reading and consultation is arranged between the instructor and the student. The student is required to complete a major research paper and take an oral examination based on it.
 Permission of the instructor.

Students are advised to consult with the Chair of the Department of Indigenous Studies on practicum placement options.

This course brings to the academy a pivotal concept for the present and future of Indigenous peoples. How Indigenous peoples face and deal with colonization, imperialism, and globalization will depend upon the critical understanding and realizations of self-determination. The legal, political, social, and cultural connotations around self-determination for Indigenous peoples are considered. The course is focused not only on theoretical considerations but is designed to bring issues of self-determination into the collective and individuals lives of those who identify themselves with the concerns of Indigenous peoples.

This course provides theoretical and practical grounding in Indigenous perspectives of governance based on the teachings and philosophies of Indigenous peoples in the central area of Turtle Island (North America).  The course will be taught by an Elder who is expert in indigenous governance systems.

This course provides review of the movement towards the decolonization of the western model of research and the revitalization of Aboriginal research frameworks and methodologies.  The unique issues and principals involving ethical research in Indigenous communities are explored.  The course also includes an overview of the governance by Indigenous communities of their own research and ethical review process.  

This course will focus on particular aspects of Indigenous Studies, with a particular focus on Indigenous governance/policy.  The selected topic will be discussed in seminar format.  It may be approached in a variety of ways, including philosophical, social/cultural, economic, political, or creatively, and may be offered by current faculty, local or visiting scholars from Canada or other nations. The course may be repeated for credit when the topic varies. Students should contact the Department of Indigenous Studies for details.

Experimental Courses

Experimental Courses are new courses offered on a trial basis to gauge interest in a topic.  Students who successfully complete any experimental course receive credit as indicated.

Students are advised to consult with the Chair of the Department of Indigenous Studies on the availability of new experimental courses.

IS-2001 (3/6) Special Topics in Indigenous Studies (Le3)
This course will focus on topics related to Indigenous Studies.

IS-2010 (3) Indigenous Movements & Resistance in Latin America (Le3)
The process of colonization and the struggle for their territories and resources is not over for Indigenous Peoples and their communities in Latin America.  During the last decades Indigenous territories have been explored, appropriated and plundered for gold, coal, oil, timber, mineral and natural resources in general.  Indigenous Peoples are creatively resisting megaprojects that destroy life and culture in their territories.  New initiatives and organization process are taking place while Indigenous Peoples move from marginalized population to play a central role in some L.A. states.  Understanding Indigenous movements in different countries like Colombia, Ecuador, Mexico and Bolivia among others may provide lessons for peoples around the world encountering the impacts of globalization.

IS-2040 (3) Indigenous Women and Resilience (Le3)
The contributions and resilience of Indigenous (First Nations, Métis, Inuit) women have become increasingly well known in the North American and international political, economic, and cultural arenas. Contrary to historical representations and stereotypes, Indigenous women have been leading advocates, actors, and activists in Indigenous struggles for centuries, making significant contributions to their families, communities, and nations. Of importance are the policies that reflect changing perceptions and approaches to the “Indian problem,” with particular focus on gender. Students develop critical thinking skills as we consider stereotypes and the impact they have on law and Indigenous rights in Canada and internationally.

IS-2050 (3) Indigenous Peoples, Lands and Resources (Le3)
Indigenous peoples today are enmeshed in the expanding modern economy, subject to the pressures of both market and government.  More indigenous communities are rejecting the traditional capitalist model of development as human and environmental exploitation and are focusing on new types of local development projects.  This course explores the myriad of controversies surrounding indigenous peoples and their relationship to globalization and natural resource development.  It includes a study of the national-and international-level legal frameworks for indigenous resource and property rights.  It analyzes conflicts associated with traditional development projects and explores the contradictions and possibilities for indigenous communities.

IS-3001(3/6) Special Topics in Indigenous Studies (Le3)
This course will focus on topics related to Indigenous Studies.

IS-3010 (3) The Politics of Indigenous Knowledge and Biodiversity (Le3)
This course focuses on emerging issues for Indigenous peoples regarding the use and exploitation of their knowledge and biological resources.  It examines international case studies where the rights over knowledge and the stewardship of biodiversity of Indigenous peoples have been threatened.  The course also covers successful examples where Indigenous peoples have been successful in managing and protecting their environment and associated knowledge.  The readings are selected from both Indigenous and non-indigenous scholars.  The encroachment of the State into Indigenous lives and lands because of the availability and importance of genetic information is to be analyzed.  The methodology for this course includes analysis and evaluation of community and institutional research protocols.  

IS-3101(3) Contemporary American Indian Policy in Cultural Context (Le3)
This course will explore the cultures of contemporary American Indians through the context of policy. We will examine the topic through a variety of texts, including ethnography, primary and secondary sources. It will provide students with an important comparative overview of the contemporary diversity of American Indian cultures (with necessary historical grounding), and to particular issues of importance for many American Indian societies at this time, including education, land claims, sovereignty, and socio-economic disparities. Policies covered include the Indian Reorganization Act, the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act, the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act, and the Indian Child Welfare Act.

IS-4023 (3) Indigenous Peoples, Globalization and Development (Le3)
Indigenous peoples today are enmeshed in the expanding modern economy, subject to the pressures of both market and government. More and more indigenous communities are rejecting the traditional capitalist vision of development as human and environmental exploitation and focusing on new types of local development projects. This course analyzes some of the conflicts associated with traditional development projects in indigenous communities Taking indigenous peoples as actors, not victims, as its starting point, the class will then examine innovations in indigenous economic development that are culturally respectful, environmentally responsible and build a new sense of community.  

IS-4024 (3) Biocultural Diversity Conservation: Issues for Indigenous Peoples (Le3)
The interconnectedness between biological and cultural diversity underscores the critical need for protecting biodiversity and Indigenous cultures.  The course addresses worldwide concerns regarding the loss of biological and cultural diversity.  The central premise of the course is the interrelationship between Indigenous people and their environment.  The course provides comprehensive reading material and learning strategies for developing a holistic understanding of the current global trends on conservation and bioprospecting activities.  The course discusses strategies and mechanisms for the protection of Indigenous peoples’ ancestral rights to traditional knowledge and biological resources