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Thompson Rivers University
Thompson Rivers University

ENGL 1021: Composition and Indigenous Literature in Canada I

This course introduces students to an exciting range of Indigenous Canadian literature and orature, including autobiographies, speeches, essays, short stories and storytelling. Students will also have the opportunity to listen to audio CDs of interviews and readings by many of the authors studied in the course and to view a video of a storytelling performance and an interview with a contemporary Indigenous multimedia artist.

Learning outcomes

This course will acquaint students with the range and power of written English, from the core components of its sentence structure to the beauty, subtlety and strength it commands when used by skilful Indigenous writers.

By the time students have completed this course they should be able to:

  • Describe stylistic writing devices, such as imagery, metaphor, simile, and irony.
  • Write a personal narrative developed around a limited, focused theme.
  • Describe recurrent characteristics and themes in Indigenous oral and written literature, in both fiction and non-fiction genres.
  • Evaluate various tones and levels of language in literature.
  • Distinguish between literature and orature in Indigenous works.
  • Analyze in essay form the role of narrative elements in short stories, such as point of view, theme, plot, characterization, and setting.
  • Apply elements of orature, such as tone, theme, humour and voice, in a personal oral story.
  • Write a persuasive essay that makes a convincing argument.
  • Write a research essay that meets academic disciplinary standards, including the MLA citation style.
  • Apply the essentials of grammar and composition skills effectively in various forms of essay writing.

Course topics

  • Unit 1: Personal Narrative
  • Unit 2: Exposition and Persuasion
  • Unit 3: Short Stories I - Realism
  • Unit 4: Oral Tradition
  • Unit 5: Short Stories II - Legends and Myths
  • Unit 6: Writing a Research Paper

Required text and materials

The following materials are required for this course:

  1. Ruffo, A. G. & Vermette, K. (Eds.). (2020). An Anthology of Indigenous Literatures in English: Voices from Canada. (5th ed.). Oxford University Press Canada.
    Type: Textbook. ISBN-13: 9780199031719

    Note: This textbook is also used in ENGL 1031. Students who already own the required textbook, should deselect it upon registering for this course.

Students  require the following e-textbook, which can be purchased directly from the TRU bookstore site at:

  1. Sarah Norton & Brian Green. (2021). The Bare Essentials (10th ed.) Nelson Education Ltd. 
    Type: E-Textbook. ISBN: 9781774128756

Additional requirements

Print students will need Internet access and use of a computer/laptop with a USB port.


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

Assignment 1: Personal Narrative 10%
Assignment 2: Literary Analysis 10%
Assignment 3: Oral Storytelling 5%
Assignment 4: Persuasive Essay 15%
Assignment 5: Research Paper 20%
Final Exam (mandatory) 40%
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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