HUMS 1771
Introduction to First Nations Studies and Human Service Practice

3.0 Credits


This course will introduce students to the historical process of colonization in Canada, and the resulting societal, political, linguistic, spiritual and cultural impacts that are challenging First Nations people today. Attention will be paid to understanding the past and working with the present and future within a context of self-government, healing and empowerment. A focus will include introduction to the knowledge, skills and attitudes towards the development of culture and competence and decolonizing practice in the Human Service field.

Delivery Method

Online, self-paced.


Admission to the Human Service Diploma Program or permission of the Program Coordinator.


HUMS 1770: Introduction to First Nations Studies and Human Service Practice


After successfully completing this course, you will be able to:

  • Understand the history and impact of colonization and demonstrate awareness of how colonial policies and practices affect First Nations.
  • Reflect upon your own personal awareness and experiences of privilege, oppression, and racism in relation to First Nations, and make clear connections to your own social circumstances and emerging human service practice.
  • Display an awareness of the concept of self-determination as well as the structural barriers, strengths, and resource issues that exist for First Nations peoples.

Course Outline

The course is organized into the following lessons:

  • Lesson 1: Course Introduction and Orientation
  • Lesson 2: Aboriginal Worldviews
  • Lesson 3: The Medicine Wheel
  • Lesson 4: Providing Social and Human Services in Partnership with Aboriginal Peoples
  • Lesson 5: First Peoples of North America
  • Lesson 6: European Arrival and Expansion--Changing Systems
  • Lesson 7: War and Diaspora--Crisis and Disrupted Social Systems
  • Lesson 8: Colonization, New Treaties and a New Reality for Aboriginal Peoples
  • Lesson 9: Policies that Affect Indigenous Peoples
  • Lesson 10: Self-Governance and Social Services
  • Lesson 11: Social Services with Indigenous Peoples
  • Lesson 12: Relating History, Current Issues, and Theory to Practice

Maximum Completion

30 weeks.

Required Text and Materials

  1. Bezeau, R and J Hoskins. Fallen Feather: Canada's Indian Residential Schools. Vision Productions/Kinetic Video, 2007.
    Type: DVD
  1. Dickason, O. A Concise History of Canada's First Nations. 3e. 2015.
    Type: Textbook, ISBN: 9780199008537

Additional Requirements

Computer with Internet is required. Refer to page 104-105 or the TRU-OL website.

Open Learning Faculty Member Information

An Open Learning Faculty Member is available to assist students. Primary communication is through the Learning Management System's "Mail" tool or by phone. Students will receive the necessary contact information when starting the course.


To complete this course successfully, you must achieve a passing grade of 50 per cent or higher on the overall course and 50 per cent or higher on the mandatory Final Project. The following table illustrates how your final grade will be determined for this course.

You are required to complete eight assignments and a final project, which are used to measure your success formally in achieving the course outcomes. These assignments are designed to give you an opportunity to demonstrate and apply your understanding of the concepts and skills you have learned and your growing self-awareness. Your course Open Learning Faculty Member will evaluate your assignments. Please refer to the Assignments for details.

Assignment 1: The Bannock Intelligence Test 2%
Assignment 2: The Medicine Wheel 4%
Assignment 3: Historical Contributions Quiz 14%
Assignment 4: Aboriginal Group Research 5%
Assignment 5: The Indian Act and Wardship 9%
Assignment 6: Residential Schools 9%
Assignment 7: Historical Impact 15%
Assignment 8: Case Study 12%
Final Project: Community Overview 30%
Total 100%

Note: Students using this course to satisfy any TRU Social Service Worker Program requirements must achieve a minimum of 60 per cent overall in this course.