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Introduction to Indigenous Literatures in Canada


Aboriginal drawings

This course examines Indigenous novels, traditional stories, poetry, short stories, and plays from various time periods, written by Métis, Inuit, and First Nations authors. We will study the themes, aesthetics, and politics of the texts, using a combination of culturally specific and pan-Indigenous approaches. With the goal of developing a broader understanding of the powerful anti-colonial sentiment at the core of Indigenous cultural production, the course will also consider the texts in the light of Indigenous-authored criticism. Participants will examine textual and theoretical approaches to topics such as colonialism and resistance, storytelling and orality, traditional and contemporary stories, land and language, residential schools and “reconciliation,” sexuality and gender, spirituality, community and nationhood. The course will also consider the role that Indigenous literatures play in shaping both Indigenous and non-Indigenous perceptions of identity. Some of the works and themes we will study are disturbing—please talk to the instructor at the beginning of the course if you have any concerns in this regard.


Texts include work by;

  • Louise Halfe
  • Richard Van Camp
  • Thomas King: David Alexander Robertson
  • Cherie Dimaline
  • Daniel David Moses
  • Armand Garnet Ruffo
  • Jeannette Armstrong.


  • Discussion Posts
  • A passage analysis
  • Thesis workshop and essay
  • Land encounter exercises
  • Final Exam

**Assessments subject to change**


  • Level 2 or above or 6.0 units of ENGL

Department of English, Queen's University

Watson Hall
49 Bader Lane
Kingston ON K7L 3N6

Telephone (613) 533-2153


Telephone (613) 533-6000 ext. 74446 extension 74446


Telephone (613) 533-6000 ext. 74447 extension 74447

Queen's University is situated on traditional Haudenosaunee and Anishinaabe territory.