Introduction to Aboriginal Studies

DEVS 220/3.0

An introduction to Aboriginal world view and culture organized on an historical basis, from Creation to 1969, emphasizing Aboriginal culture and experience in Canada. Aboriginal perspectives will be introduced through traditional teaching methods and contributions from elders and other community members.


To develop a foundation for further inquiries into Aboriginal Studies. Students will develop a general knowledge of North American Indigenaity with a focus on Aboriginal peoples in Canada. This course will prepare the student to evaluate written and oral historical/cultural knowledge in regard to Aboriginal people and issues. The student will develop strategies for analyzing primary sources as well as acquire a basic knowledge of secondary resources. Students will challenge pre-conceived ideas acquired as citizens of a colonial culture. Course lectures and material will be presented from an Aboriginal perspective. The instructor will use both Indigenous and Western pedagogies.


Storytelling 15%
Essay #14-5 pages15%
Essay #24-5 pages15%
Book Review 25%
Final Paper10 pages30%


Week 1
  • Introduction to the Course
  • A game of explanations
Week 2
  • Gaining a Basic Understanding and Aboriginal Nomenclature: Using the right language
Week 3
  • Physical and Cultural Geography of Aboriginal North America
Week 4
  • Culture and Society - Research Ethics, Examining the "relies," and interpreting meaning
Week 5
  • Culture and Society - Thanksgiving Monday NO CLASS
Week 6
  • Contact Themes - Trade and Conversion
Week 7
  • Contact Themes - Colonization - Empire and Settlement
Week 8
  • Colonization - Nationalism and Globalization
Week 9
  • The Métis
Week 10
  • Spirituality
Week 11
  • Cultural Redefinition
Week 12
  • Course wrap-up

Time Commitment

Students can expect to spend, on average, about 10 - 12 hours per week on the course.

Course Resources


SOLUS is Queen’s Student On-Line University System. You’ll have access to a SOLUS account once you become a Queen’s student. You’ll use SOLUS to register for courses, add and drop courses, update your contact information, view financial and academic information, and pay your tuition.


Moodle is Queen's online learning platform. You'll log into Moodle to access your course. All materials related to your course—notes, readings, videos, recordings, discussion forums, assignments, quizzes, groupwork, tutorials, and help—will be on the Moodle site.

About Credit Units

Queen’s courses are weighted in credit units. A typical one-term course is worth 3.0 units, and a typical two-term course is worth 6.0 units. You combine these units to create your degree. A general (three-year) BA requires a total of 90 credit units.

Computer Requirements

To take an online course, you’ll need a good-quality computer (Windows XP/Vista/7, Pentium III, or Mac OS X 10.5, G4 or G5 processor, 256 MB RAM) with a high-speed internet connection, soundcard, speakers, and microphone, and up-to-date versions of free software (Explorer/Firefox, Java, Flash, Adobe Reader). See also Preparing For Your Course.


The deadlines for new applications to Queen’s are 1 April (for May summer term), 1 June (for July summer term), 1 August (for fall term), and 1 December (for winter term). All documents must be received by the 15th of the month following the deadline. You can register for a course up to one week after the start of the course. See also Dates and Deadlines.

Tuition Fees

Tuition fees vary depending when you start, your year, faculty, and program. Fees for 2014-15 first-year Distance Career Arts & Science Canadian students are as follows: for a 3.0-unit course, $605.31; for a 6.0-unit course, $1210.62. See also Tuition and Payment.

Campus Bookstore

All textbooks can be purchased at Queen’s Campus Bookstore.

Non-Queen’s Students

All Queen’s Arts and Science Online courses are open to students at other universities. Before applying as a visiting student, request a Letter of Permission from your home university that states that you have permission to take the course and apply it to your degree. See also Apply.

Academic Integrity

Please see Queen’s policy statement on academic integrity for information on how to complete an online course honestly.