Course Descriptions


The Annual Program Timetable summarizes courses offered each academic year.  All course offerings can be found on the Western Academic Calendar.

2019/2020 Course Offerings

Core Course

Introduction to Indigenous Studies

(IS) 1020E: Introduction to Indigenous Studies

The introductory course is a prerequisite for admission to the program modules. You need it to enrol in a Minor, Major or Honors module in Indigenous Studies. A minimum grade of 60% (70% if you wish to pursue a Honors Specialization), is required for the course in order to pursue an undergraduate degree in Indigenous Studies. A variety of contemporary Indigenous topics will be examined from both academic and community perspectives. Students will learn key terms, facts, events, issues, worldviews and lifestyles of Indigenous peoples in Canada. Students will be introduced to current Indigenous scholarship, cultural experts, Elders and researchers. 

Indigenous Studies Courses

Program Entrance Required Course

FNS 1020E: Introduction to Indigenous Studies 

An interdisciplinary survey of Indigenous issues, from academic and community perspectives including indigenous knowledge, historical background, oral history, socio-political context, arts, language and culture. Specific practical examples will be explored by researchers and community members actually engaged in their contemporary documentation and resolution.

Instructor: Ian Puppe

Course Syllabus 2019-20

Required:  Enrollment in All Modules (Minor, Major, Honors Specialization)

Language Courses

IS 2103F/G: Lunaape Language, Culture and History

Students will be introduced to the basics of the Lunaape (Delaware) language, a North American Indigenous language. Students will examine the relationships of that language to various culturally relevant concepts and historical experiences of the Lunaape people.
Instructor: David Kanatawakhon Maracle
Course Syllabus: TBA

IS 2104: Introductory Mohawk Language 

In this unique introductory course, students will learn the basic structural framework of the Mohawk language and, through that process - standing (metaphorically) at the "edge of the woods" - will transform how they view an Indigenous culture and its traditions in a collaborative, supportive learning environment.
Instructor: David Kanatawakhon Maracle
Course Syllabus 2019-20

IS 2113: Algonquian Language and Culture

Students will learn the basics of a particular North American Aboriginal language (e.g., Ojibwe) and will examine the relationships of that language to various culturally relevant concepts.
Instructor: TBA
Course Syllabus: TBA

IS 2700A/B: Mohawk Metaphor: What We Say - What We Mean

This course, designed for a general audience, explores the Mohawk vocabulary in everyday situations. Students will learn to deconstruct the vocabulary to discover its underlying cultural references and how this reflects the values and world view of its speakers, as well as explore how the vocabulary has changed over time.
Instructor: David Kanatawakhon Maracle
Course Syllabus 2019-20

IS 3104: Intermediate Mohawk Language

Your introduction to Iroquoian culture and tradition through the Mohawk language began when you arrived at the "edge of the woods." Now, having acquired the consent of the village, you may head towards it by "crossing the fields" and continuing on your learning journey of Mohawk language, culture, and tradition.
Instructor: David Kanatawakhon Maracle
Course Syllabus: TBA

Indigenous Studies 2000 Level Courses

IS 2203F/G: Indigenous Peoples, Globalization, and the Environment

An examination of natural resource development emphasizing the interplay between indigenous people, the state and transnational developers. Topics include: environmentalism and livelihood; land rights; corporate power and state policies; common property and community-based resource management; NGOs in environmental politics; sustainability and the greening of development.
Course Syllabus: TBA

IS 2211F/G: Cultures of the Caribbean

An introduction to the Caribbean and circum-Caribbean, emphasizing religion, aesthetic styles, current political processes, and relationships of the region and its peoples to Canada.
Course Syllabus: TBA

IS 2212F/G: Cultures of the Pacific

The cultures of Polynesia, Micronesia and Melanesia with an emphasis on indigenous social structures. Other topics include ecology and economy, male-female relations, ritual and cosmology, hierarchical and egalitarian political systems, Pacific history, and contemporary political and economic issues.
Course Syllabus: TBA

IS 2213F/G: Historical Issues: From Pre-Contact to the 1969 White Paper

This course examines key issues related to the history of Indigenous peoples in Canada. The time frame covers the pre-contact era to the 1969 White Paper. Topics may include: Aboriginal rights and title; treaty-making; colonial policy development; residential schools; relocation and centralization; child welfare; and the 1969 White Paper.
Instructor:Diana Lewis
Course Syllabus 2019-20

IS 2216F/G: Cultures of Latin America

The cultural history of Latin American societies. Topics include the historical formation of indigenous communities, and a wide variety of contemporary social problems in Latin America.
Instructor: Adriana Premat
Course Syllabus 2018-19- Reference Only

IS 2218F/G: Contemporary Indigenous Issues in Canada

This course explores the critical challenges still faced by Indigenous peoples in Canada. The material covered will be timely and relevant, including: legal and political mobilization; jurisdictional authority and self-determination; land rights and treaty relationships; the Truth and Reconciliation Commission; and the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls inquiry.
Instructor:Diana Lewis
Course Syllabus 2019-20

IS 2233F/G: Archaeology of Ontario and the Great Lakes

The prehistoric societies of Ontario and surrounding areas. Topics include the entry of humans into the New World and their arrival in Ontario; development of agriculture; appearance of historic period societies such as the Huron, Neutral and Ojibwa; impact of European settlement and economic systems on native societies.
Course Syllabus: TBA

IS 2234F/G: Andean Prehistory

This course will focus primarily on the prehistory of the Peruvian Andes and Coast, with some overlap into Ecuador, Bolivia, Chile and Amazonia. We will study the area's archaeological record in some detail, touching on a variety of themes that are of general archaeological interest, e.g. agricultural origins, trade, the rise of complex societies, the role of religious ideology, and the interpretation of archaeological evidence.
Instructor: Dr. Jean-Francois Millaire
Course Syllabus: TBA

IS 2501F/G: Iroquoian Arts

An introduction to the decorative expression of Iroquoian peoples, from before contact to the present, providing descriptions of manufacture and use with culturally relevant explanations for non-ritual and ritual applications. Students will have the opportunity to understand and appreciate the Iroquoian worldview through its artistic expressions in daily life.
Instructor:David Kanatawakhon Maracle
Course Syllabus 2019-20

IS 2601F/G: Indigenous Environments

The consequences of physical environmental change for Indigenous communities around the globe will be examined in relation to the processes of colonialism and environmental dispossession. Topics include: identity, culture, local economies, social functioning, food security and health.
Course Syllabus: TBA

IS 2901E: The First Nations in Canadian History

First Nations peoples are the original inhabitants of Canada. This course will examine history recorded since European contact with all possible efforts to privilege an Aboriginal point of view and the contribution Aboriginal peoples have made and continue to make to Canada as a nation-state and as a cultural community.
Instructor: Michelle Hamilton
Course Syllabus: TBA

IS 2919F/G: The Iroquoians: Their History and Culture

An examination of the culture and history of the Iroquoian Peoples from European contact to present day as presented by historical and contemporary writings and interpretation of events. Students will use a combination of primary and secondary sources drawn from both Iroquoian and Non-Iroquoian traditions.
Instructor:David Kanatawakhon Maracle
Course Syllabus 2019-20



Indigenous Studies 3000 Level Courses

IS 3001F/G: Warriors, Veterans and Peacekeepers

Taking its title and theme from an exhibit at the Woodland Cultural Centre, this course will explore the historical evolution and participation of Indigenous peoples in conflicts from the War of 1812 to the Secodn World War. By accessing recent scholarship, the student will develop an understanding of how colonial governments have recruited and used Indigenous soldiers to enhance their own militaries and how and why Indigenous people chose to participate in these conflicts.
Instructor: Evan Habkirk
Course Syllabus 2019-20

IS 3140F/G: Indigenous Knowledge and Traditions

Indigenous knowledge, as a distinctive field of study, is emerging as an important tool in the movement toward self determination and empowerment. This course will examine Indigenous beliefs, ways of knowing, and worldviews to understand their differences and similarities, while exploring contemporary expressions through a variety of sources and interpretations.
Instructor: TBA
Course Syllabus: TBA

IS 3142F/G Doing Research with Indigenous Communities (In a Good Way)

In this interactive course students will learn the theoretical and practical foundations for conducting research with Indigenous communities. Discussions will focus on the history of research with Indigenous peoples; ethics, especially as it relates to protocols for using Indigenous knowledge(s); Indigenous research models; research agreements; and data governance (OCAP Principle).
Instructor: Diana Lewis
Course Syllabus 2019-20

IS 3306A/B: Field Course: Language Revitalization in Practice

This course offers students the opportunity to study current issues in language revitalization through participation in collaborative research projects on site with a community partner.  Projects will vary depending on the needs of the community and the skillset brought by the students.
Instructor: Tania Granadillo
Course Syllabus 2018-19: TBA

IS 3500F/G: Indigenous Music

Students will learn basic Indigenous music philosophy and apply this knowledge through practical singing and performative experience while examining the philosophical disposition of Indigenous music. Students will come away from this course with practical experience and experiential knowledge of Indigenous music (traditional cultural or contemporary).
Instructor: TBA
Course Syllabus: TBA

IS 3722F/G: Indigenous Political and Legal Issues

Political and legal issues are inseparable in contemporary examinations of land use, self-determination, governance, individual and community rights. This course will examine the legal institutions and practices of traditional Indigenous cultures as well as contemporary practice.
Instructor: Ted Baker
Course Syllabus 2019-20

IS 3880F/G: Indigneous Literatures of Turtle Island

This course will introduce students to a diverse range of Indigenous storytelling practices from Turtle Island (North America), which may include oral narratives, literature, and visual and performance arts. Students will consider how these practices both shape and are shaped by specific historical and geographical contexts.
Instructor: Pauline Wakeham
Course Syllabus 2019-20

Indigenous Studies 4000 Level Courses

IS 4022E: Field School in Indigenous Studies

An advanced seminar course combining in-class discussions of theoretical texts, research papers alongside community-based research. Students will be trained in appropriate methodologies and ethics of working with Indigenous Communities. Areas of research and instruction may include land claims, self-government, education, health care, and urban issues.
Instructor: TBA
Course Syllabus: TBA

IS 4023F/G: Community-Based Research in First Nations Studies

This is an advanced community-based experiential course that combines in-class discussions with community based research. Students will train in methodologies and ethics of working with First Nations communities. Areas of research may include but not limited to ecological restoration, land claims, self-government, education, health and wellness and urban issues.
Instructor: Desmond Moser & Clint Jacobs
Course Syllabus: TBA

IS 4903F/G: Indigenous Research and Methodologies

This advanced course examines the critical issues and tensions of doing research with and for Indigenous peoples. Themes will include Indigenous methodologies (including but not limited to oral histories), and decolonizing research.
Instructor: TBA
Course Syllabus: TBA


Common Information

There are many requirements that students have to be aware of during the course of their studies. Some are addressed here. If you need further clarification, please visit Academic Counselling or the Indigenous Studies Program office.

Prerequisite, Corequisite and Antirequisite


A Prerequisite is a course that has to be completed successfully before enrolling in the course for which it is listed as a prerequisite. For example IS 1020E is a prerequisite for Indigenous Studies courses and has to be successfully completed with a minimum of 60% before enrolling in other Indigenous Studies courses. One can view prerequisites in the Western Academic Calendar


An Antirequisite is a course that overlaps sufficiently in course content that both cannot be taken for credit towards the degree requirement. For example, Anthropology 2220E is an antirequisite for IS 2101E. Course antirequisites are listed in the Western Academic Calendar.


A Corequisite is a course that must be taken concurrently with (or prior to registration in) the desired course.

Course Load

Course Load

  • Normal course load first year is 5.0 courses numbered 1000 to 1999.
  • Students enrolled in 3.5 courses or more are considered full-time students
  • Students enrolled in fewer than 3.5 courses are considered part-time students

Spring/Summer Session

  • The workload for the Spring/Summer sessions (May to August) is a maximum of 3.0 courses
  • No more than 2.0 courses can be taken simultaneously
  • Where 2.0 courses are taken simultaneously, only 1.0 may be a laboratory course.

Distance Studies Courses

  • Students may not take more than 1.0 courses during the spring/summer session
  • In the fall/winter sessions, students may not take more than 2.0 courses
  • If a student wishes to take more than the allowed number of courses, they must get permission from the Dean of their academic faculty prior to selecting the courses.

Course Selection for your Indigenous Modules

If you wish to discuss your options and course selections further, please contact the Program Director, or Indigenous Studies office at