Introduction to Indigenous Studies

DEVS 220/3.0


DEVS 220 will help you develop a foundation for further inquiries into Indigenous Studies. Students will develop a general knowledge of North American Indigeneity with a focus on Indigenous peoples in Canada. This course will prepare the student to evaluate written and oral historical/cultural knowledge related to Indigenous people and colonial interventions affecting Indigenous communities. 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 Indigenous perspective. The instructor will use both Indigenous and western/mainstream pedagogies.

Learning Outcomes

After completing DEVS 220, students will be better equipped to:

  • Describe historical/cultural knowledge of various Indigenous groups in Canada, and apply this knowledge to critique colonization and by attempting to decolonize;
  • Apply elements of Indigenous ways of knowing (emotional, spiritual, mental, and physical) to learning and development, holistically with respect to one’s life journey, and specifically to: terminology and doctrines, Indigenous cultures and politics of Indigenous identity, myths of indigeneity, intergenerational state violence, and Indigenous resurgence and resistance;
  • Recognize Indigenous connections to the land and all elements of creation, and explore the place of Indigenous people, centering Indigenous voices and perspectives;
  • Engage in deep and sustained self-directed, inquiry-based learning, supported by a community of learners, developing appropriate strategies for engagement, solidarity, and allyship; and  
  • Contribute to building a consensus-based learning community that prioritizes laws of the group, trusting relationships, consistency, accountability, and respect.

Topics at a Glance

Module 1 (Teminology and Doctrines)

  • Introduction to the Course
  • Terminology
  • Doctrines of Colonialism

Module 2 (Indegenous Cultures and Politics of Indigenous Identity in Canada)

  • Grounding History, Remapping History
  • Indian Status in Canada
  • Indigenous Identity in Canada

Module 3 (Myths of Indigeneity)

  • Dispelling Myths Associated with Indigenous Identity
  • Decolonizing the Academy

Module 4 (Intergenerational State Violence)

  • Politics of Indigenous Identity
  • Residential Schools and the Sixties Scoop
  • Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women

Module 5 (Indigenous Resurgence and Resistance)

  • Intergovernmental Relations
  • Indigenous Feminisms
  • Indigenous Masculinities


Summer (May–July) 2024
Course Dates
Exam Dates (if applicable)
Delivery Mode


Situating Ourselves:  Engaging Indigenous StoryworkPaper, oral presentation, song, performance, or Indigenous cultural production and performance.1 x 15%15%
JournalsJournal submissions (module summaries + a reflective piece)1 x 10%
1 x 10%
Beyond Land AcknowledgmentPeer Feedback1 x 5%20%
Submission1 x 15%  
Essential QuestionsParticipation in two live sessions (or summary/reflection)2 x 2.5%45%
Brainstorming (5% post; 5% discussion)1 x 10%  
Annotated Bibliography1 x 10%  
Narrated Poster Submission1 x 20%  

*Evaluation subject to change*

Textbook and Materials

ASO reserves the right to make changes to the required material list as received by the instructor before the course starts. Please refer to the Campus Bookstore website at to obtain the most up-to-date list of required materials for this course before purchasing them.

  • Chelsea Vowel. Indigenous Writes: A Guide to First Nations, Métis and Inuit Issues in Canada. Highwater Press, 2016.

Time Commitment

Students can expect to spend, on average, about 9 hours per week completing relevant readings, assignments, and course activities.