Online course: Indigenous Canada

Dates: any time

Duration: 21 hours

Rating: 4.8 / 5.0 out of 7196 ratings (see top rating courses here)

Participating countries: any country

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Organizer: University of Alberta at Coursera


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  • $49 with sharable certificate

Indigenous Canada

Indigenous Canada is a 12-lesson Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) from the Faculty of Native Studies that explores Indigenous histories and contemporary issues in Canada. From an Indigenous perspective, this course explores key issues facing Indigenous peoples today from a historical and critical perspective highlighting national and local Indigenous-settler relations. Topics for the 12 lessons include the fur trade and other exchange relationships, land claims and environmental impacts, legal systems and rights, political conflicts and alliances, Indigenous political activism, and contemporary Indigenous life, art and its expressions.




WEEK 1: 2 hours to complete


In this introductory module, students learn the significance of stories and storytelling in Indigenous societies. We explore history that comes from Indigenous worldviews, this includes worldviews from the Inuit, Nehiyawak, Kanien:keha’ka and Tlingit peoples.

Indigenous Worldviews
Reuben Quinn
Worldview Course Notes
Interactive Painting: A Tribute to Aboriginal Women

WEEK 2: 2 hours to complete

Fur Trade

This module discusses pre-contact trading systems between Indigenous peoples of North America with a focus on the geographical region of Canada. We examine the chronological events of contact with Europeans and the events leading up to, and during the fur trade. This module also explores the long lasting social, political and economic ramifications of the fur trade on Indigenous peoples.

Pre-Contact North American Networking
The Fur Trade Part
Frank Tough
Fur Trade Course Notes
Interactive Painting: Education

WEEK 3: 2 hours to complete

Trick or Treaty

Examines Indigenous and settler perspectives of treaty making. Discusses the variation of treaties in Canada and the unique circumstances surrounding these events. Outlines the temporal and geographical history of the numbered treaties (beginning on the east) and ends with a discussion of the historical events and policies leading up to Métis scrip.

Perspectives on Treaty Making
Numbered Treaties
The Métis Nation
Trick or Treaty Course Notes
Interactive Painting: Governance

WEEK 4: 2 hours to complete

New Rules, New Game

This lesson begins with a discussion about what is distinctive in Indigenous legal traditions. Explores impacts of policies put in place as British North America attempted to solidify itself geographically and socially. Examines the ways in which the Indian Act contributed to assimilation.

Indigenous Concepts of Law
Outside Influences
New Rules, New Game Course Notes
Interactive Painting: Governance

WEEK 5: 2 hours to complete

“Killing the Indian in the Child”

Outlines characteristics of teaching and learning in Indigenous communities, and discusses how relationships were critical in teaching and learning. Traces the development and implementation of the Residential school system in the period after Confederation. Discusses intergenerational impact of Residential school system and the creation of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

Indigenous Teaching and Learning
Residential Schooling
Truth and Reconciliation Commission
“Killing the Indian Child” Course Notes
Interactive Painting: Education

WEEK 6: 2 hours to complete

A Modern Indian?

This lesson examines the burgeoning resistance of Indigenous leaders and the formation of Indigenous-led organizations as the Canadian government employed strategies to encourage assimilation of Aboriginal peoples and communities into mainstream society, specifically relating to urbanization.

Traditional Economies
Resource Extraction & Shifting Roles
Aboriginal Women
Education in the City Shifting Roles
A Modern Indian? Course Notes
Interactive Painting: Resource Use

WEEK 7: 2 hours to complete

Red Power

In this lesson students will learn about key characteristics of a few different Indigenous political structures and the impacts of colonialism on these structures (e.g. Indian Act, Red Power/AIM, White Paper, Red Paper -Citizens Plus) Concepts explored include self-government, self-determination, and Indigenous resurgence.

Indigenous Political Structures
Influences of the Political System of the Canadian State
Sovereignty and Governance
Red Power Course Notes
Interactive Painting: Education

WEEK 8: 2 hours to complete

Sovereign Lands

Utilizing contemporary and traditional examples, this lesson connects Indigenous worldviews and traditional ecological knowledge. As well, this lesson traces the historical impacts of settlement. Discusses key concepts of case law associated with Aboriginal title, rights to land and resources. List the on-going threats to Indigenous lands and how these threats and challenges are being addressed.

Indigenous Relationship to the Land
Aboriginal Title and Right to Land
Disconnection From Indigenous Lands
Sovereign Lands Course Notes
Interactive Painting: The Arts and the Environment

WEEK 9: 2 hours to complete

Indigenous Women

Exploring Indigenous concepts of gender, and the traditional roles and responsibilities, this lesson then moves into an examination of how colonization can be characterized as a gendered project. Identifies some concrete examples of the impact of colonialism on Indigenous women.

Indigenous Concepts of Gender
Indigenous Women
Billy-Ray Belcourt
Indigenous Women, Girls, and Genderful People Course Notes
Interactive Painting: A Tribute to Aboriginal Women

WEEK 10: 2 hours to complete

Indigenous in the City

Looking critically at the statement: “Cities are the place where Aboriginal culture goes to die”, this lesson explores sites of urban Aboriginal agency/active participation, urban Aboriginal governance practices, and urban reserves.

Urban Indigeneity
Impact of City Life
Indigenous in the City Course Notes
Interactive Painting: Urbanization and its Effects1

WEEK 11: 1 hour to complete

Current Social Movements

What is an Indigenous concept of community? How do Indigenous people form communities traditionally and today? This module will explain how social and environmental activism can mobilize and create communities. This module identifies key moments such as the Oka Crisis, Idle No More and Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls are grassroots resistance movements.

Social Media
Current Social Movements Course Notes
Interactive Painting: Governance

WEEK 12: 2 hours to complete

‘Living’ Traditions – Expressions in Pop Culture and Art

Finally, we will explore how geographical location, trading networks and partnerships have influenced Indigenous art in the past. As well, we will examine contemporary iterations of Indigenous art and explore some of the artistic responses of Indigenous artists, musicians, and writers to the impacts of colonialism.

Indigenous Art
Aboriginal Voice
Course Art
Living Traditions Course Notes
Interactive Painting: The Arts and the Environment