Course Descriptions


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

Current Timetable: September 2023 - April 2024

Registrars Office Timetables For All Programs

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

IS 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: Renee Bedard

Course Outline 2022-23

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

Language Courses

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: Mario Wassaykeesic
Course Outline 2023-24

Indigenous Studies 2000 Level Courses

IS 2210: Indigenous Peoples & Canadian History
Canadian history has relied on nationalist interpretations that reduce the role of Indigenous People. This course challenges these ideas by demonstrating the permanency of Indigenous Peoples and the continuity of their beliefs, practices, and political systems. Topics discussed include the Northwest Resistance, the World Wars, and the TRC. Antirequisite(s): The former History 2209E, the former Indigenous Studies 2901E, History 2210F/G. Extra Information: 2 lecture hours, 1 tutorial hour. Cross-listed with History 2210F/G.
Instructor: Cody Groat
Course Outline 2023-24

IS 2212F: Cultures of the Pacific
Focusing on the cultures of Melanesia, Micronesia and Polynesia, this course reveals how people often understood as peripheral are at the centre of global processes. The course addresses topics including social structure, gender, politics, economies, ecologies, cosmologies, and the representation of Pacific peoples. Antirequisite(s): Anthropology 2212F/G. Extra Information: 3 lecture hours.
Instructor: D. Campbell
Course Outline 2023-24

IS 2218G: Contemporary Indigenous Issues
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. Antirequisite(s): The former Anthropology 2218F/G. Extra Information: 3 lecture hours.
Instructor: Vanessa Ambtman Smith
Course Outline 2023-24

IS 2233G: 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.
Instructor: Peter Timmins
Course Outline 2023-24

IS 2251G: Select Topics in Indigenous Studies
Instructor: Vanessa Ambtman Smith
Course Outline: TBA

IS 2253B: Endangered Languages and Revitalization
This course focuses on endangered languages and the local and global factors affecting language vitality and revival. Practical strategies for sustaining and reviving languages, including language documentation and revitalization, will be addressed with examples coming from various areas of the world and special focus on Indigenous languages of the Americas.
Instructor: T. Granadillo
Course Outline 2023-24

IS 2601G: 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.
Instructor: Chantelle Richmond
Course Outline: TBA

IS 2676B: Land, Art, Place l
For Haudenosaunee the landscape is an animate, living and embodied archive with which we are all interconnected. This studio-based course involves community engagement learning where students will create site-specific artworks that explore our (inter)relationships with the living archive of ‘place’, while inspired by the rich cultural histories of this territory. Antirequisite(s): Studio Art 2676A/B. Extra Information: 6 studio hours, lecture, blended or online format. Priority will be given to students registered in Indigenous Studies. 
Instructor: TBA
Course Outline: TBA

IS 2682G: Indigenous Women's Art
This course examines traditional and contemporary artforms created and performed by Indigenous women. Art as an expression of Indigenous women’s social, political, and spiritual realities is studied through readings, lectures, and artistic assignments. This course also considers Indigenous analyses, varied artistic styles, forms, and mediums, from Indigenous women across Canada. 
Instructor: Renee Bedard
Course Outline: TBA

IS 2807F: Indigenous Feminisms
Students explore Indigenous feminist frameworks and epistemologies to understand the participation of Indigenous women in social, political, and environmental movements. This course examines issues relating to the historical and contemporary experiences of Indigenous women feminists nationally and internationally. This course also considers Indigenous feminist analyses and Indigenous women’s issues.
Instructor: Renee Bedard
Course Outline: TBA


Indigenous Studies 3000 Level Courses

IS 3140F: 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: Denise Desormeaux
Course Outline 2023-24

IS 3142F: 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: Ashley Sisco
Course Outline 2023-24

IS 3267G: Residential Schools
The Indian Residential School System has been recognized by the Canadian Parliament as an act of genocide. This course explores the long history of residential schools in Canada, from early initiatives in New France in the 1640s through the Final Report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in 2015.
Instructor: Cody Groat
Course Outline: TBA

IS 3722G: Indigenous Political & 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: Ashley Sisco
Course Outline: TBA

IS 3880F: Indigenous 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: TBA

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 Outline: TBA

IS 4023F: 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: D. Moser
Course Outline: TBA

IS 4806G: Indigenous Peoples & Archives
This course will critically examine archival sciences relating to Indigenous peoples. Long perceived as politically neutral, the collection of records is now identified as an act of settler-colonialism that displaces Indigenous peoples and their historical practices. A class project, alongside relevant case studies, considers themes of power, intersectionality, and reconciliation.
Instructor: Cody Groat
Course Outline: TBA

IS 4903G: 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: Renee Bedard
Course Outline: 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 Indigenous Studies office at