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Thompson Rivers University
Thompson Rivers University

HIST 3711: Histories of Indigenous Peoples and Canada

Students explore many aspects of the historical experiences of Indigenous peoples in what is now Canada. Topics include historical accounts predating the arrival of non-Indigenous peoples, as well as contact experiences, the establishment of commercial and other relationships with newcomers, Indigenous strategies of power and resistance from the 1600s through the 1900s, changes in the diplomatic environment from the Imperial phase through relations with the Canadian state, and the environmental consequences of colonialism. Methodologically, students are introduced to ethnohistorical resources and approaches, and thematically situate Indigenous experiences within the contexts of settler colonialism and decolonization.

Learning outcomes

  • Identify the ideas, concepts, and challenges associated with both Indigenous ways of knowing the past and Euro-Canadian historical method.
  • Distinguish between and describe the principal and diverse Indigenous cultures in what becomes Canada and the socio-economic orders that existed and thrived before and after colonization began.
  • Describe broadly the ways in which Aboriginal people reacted to their discovery of Europeans.
  • Describe the fur trade and the ways in which it drove, followed, and complemented other aspects of Indigenous-Indigenous and Indigenous-European relationships, including military, political, cultural, and personal alliances.
  • Demonstrate an awareness of the role played by Aboriginal women in the binding of ancient and new societies, along with their particular struggles and roles under settler colonialism.
  • Describe connections between distinct Indigenous societies and communities, independent of their relationship with Europeans.
  • Illustrate the social and economic revolutions that followed the introduction of exotic diseases, technologies, flora, and fauna.
  • Describe the principal treaty agreements struck between Indigenous peoples and Europeans, as well as attempts on the part of Indigenous peoples to insist on Canada meeting its treaty obligations, to renegotiate treaty terms, and to obtain treaty where none previously existed.
  • Describe elements of Indigenous spiritual beliefs and the encounter with newcomers’ belief systems, including the impact and legacy of the residential schools and their relationship to broader Canadian policies of assimilation and cultural genocide.
  • Speak to the ways in which colonial histories and culture characterized Indigenous peoples and how that continues to impact relations between Indigenous and settler peoples in Canada.
  • Identify some of the goals of and obstacles to a decolonized Indigenous history while being able to articulate the role that “un-settling” new histories may play in reconciliation.

Course topics

  • Unit 1: Commerce & Alliances
  • Unit 2: Engaging Colonialism
  • Unit 3: Culture Crisis Change Challenge

Required text and materials

The following Open Education Resources (OER) textbook, free of charge, is required for this course:

Note: If you have questions about course textbooks or other materials, email OLMaterials.


Please be aware that should your course have a final exam, you are responsible for the fee to the online proctoring service, ProctorU, or to the in-person approved Testing Centre. Please contact with any questions about this.

To complete this course successfully, students must achieve a passing grade of 50% or higher on the overall course and 50% or higher on the mandatory Final Exam.

Assignment 1: A Sense of Place 15%
Assignment 2: Reading Reflections 20%
Assignment 3: Current Event in Historic Perspective 25%
Assignment 4: Commentaries & Reflections 20%
Final Exam (mandatory) 20%
Total 100%

Open Learning Faculty Member Information

An Open Learning Faculty Member is available to assist students. Students will receive the necessary contact information at the start of the course.

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