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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.


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.

  • Dimaline, Cherie. The Marrow Thieves. Cormorant/Dancing Cat Books. 2017.
  • Halfe, Louise. Burning in this Midnight Dream. Brick Books. 2021.
  • Moses, Daniel David. Almighty Voice and his Wife. Playwrights Canada P. 2009.
  • Robertson, David Alexander. Betty: the Helen Betty Osborne Story. HighWater Press. 2015.
  • Ruffo, Armand Garnet. Grey Owl: the Mystery of Archie Belaney. Wolsak and Wynne. 2021.
  • Van Camp, Richard. The Lesser Blessed. Douglas & McIntyre. 2016.


  • 20% - Engagement Exercises (x10 Discussion Forum Activities)
  • 10% - Land Encounter Reflection Part 1
  • 10% - Land Encounter Reflection Part 2
  • 10% - Essay Part 1: Thesis Workshop (Group Activity)
  • 25% - Essay Part 2: Final Essay
  • 25% - Take-Home Final Exam

*Evaluation Subject to Change*


Students must write their exam on the day and time scheduled by the University. Do not schedule vacations, appointments, etc., during the exam period.


  • ENGL 100 


  • Registration in an INDG Plan

Department of English, Queen's University

Watson Hall
49 Bader Lane
Kingston ON K7L 3N6

Telephone (613) 533-2153



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