Western Canada

Humanities & Social Sciences
Course Code
HIST 2209
Semester Length
Max Class Size
Method(s) Of Instruction
Typically Offered
To be determined


Course Description
HIST 2209, Western Canada, surveys the historical experiences of the diverse Indigenous and immigrant peoples who have lived in and around the prairie region of Canada (present-day Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba), from time immemorial to present day. Topics include: the economies and cultures of the Indigenous peoples of the Plains; the bison hunt and the fur trade; colonization and resistance; immigration and resettlement; transportation and infrastructure; agriculture and industry; rural and urban communities; western alienation; contemporary Indigenous issues; and the current politics of energy resources. Students will be encouraged to consider how the geographic, economic, political, and social circumstances particular to Western Canada affected regional perceptions of ethnic, class, and gender identity over time. The specific thematic focus will vary by term and instructor.
Course Content

A sample course outline may include the following topics. 

Note: Content may vary according to the instructor’s selection of topics.
  1. Introduction - The Peoples of the Plains
  2. Establishing the Fur Trade
  3. Continuing the Fur Trade
  4. Métis Resistance 
  5. Canadian Colonization of the Northwest
  6. National Policy in the Northwest
  7. Immigration and Resettlement
  8. Province Building
  9. Reform and Activism 
  10. Progressive Prairie Politics
  11. Depression and the Dustbowl
  12. Promoting Prairie Policies 
  13. Resource Development
  14. Regional Identity and Western Alienation 
Learning Activities

Classroom instruction will include both lectures and seminar discussions. Lectures will provide instruction on weekly topics with opportunities for student inquiry and discussion. Seminars will encourage active class participation in the analysis of assigned primary and secondary readings. Classroom instruction may also include facilitation of student-led projects, student presentations on specific readings and/or topics, and other types of student-led activities. Classroom instruction may also include tutorials and workshops on transferrable skills, including research methods, academic citation practice, and presentation skills.

Means of Assessment

Assessment will be in accordance with the Douglas College student evaluation policy. Students may conduct research with human participants as part of their coursework in this class. Instructors for the course are responsible for ensuring that student research projects comply with College policies on ethical conduct for research involving humans.

Students will have opportunities to build and refine their research capacity and historical thinking skills through assessments appropriate to the level of the course. There will be at least three separate assessments, which may include a combination of midterm and final exams; research essays; primary document analysis assignments and essays; quizzes; map tests; in-class and online written assignments; seminar presentations; student assignment portfolios; group projects; creative projects; class participation.

The value of each assessment and evaluation, expressed as a percentage of the final grade, will be listed in the course outline distributed to students at the beginning of the term. Specific evaluation criteria will vary according to the instructor’s assessment of appropriate evaluation methods.

An example of one evaluation scheme:

  • Participation, In-Class Work: 15%
  • Seminar Facilitation and Presentation: 10%
  • Primary Source Analyses: 10%
  • Book Review: 10%
  • Research Proposal and Annotated Bibliography: 10%
  • Research Paper: 20%
  • Exams: 25%
Learning Outcomes

At the conclusion of the course, successful students will be able to demonstrate historical thinking skills, research skills, critical thinking skills and communication skills appropriate to the level of the course by:

1. Locating, examining, assessing, and evaluating a range of primary sources and secondary scholarly literature critically and analytically (reading history).

2. Constructing historical arguments, taking historical perspectives, and interpreting historical problems through different types of writing assignments of varying lengths (writing history).

3. Participating in active and informed historical debate independently and cooperatively through classroom discussion and presentation (discussing history).

4. Independently and cooperatively investigating the ways that history is created, preserved and disseminated through public memory and commemoration, oral history, community engagement, and other forms of popular visual and written expressions about the past (applying history).

Textbook Materials

Textbooks and Course Readers will be chosen from the following list, to be updated periodically.

An instructor’s custom Course Reader may be required. Additional online resources may also be assigned, and links to specific resources may be provided in the course outline.

Brink, Jack W. Imagining Head-Smashed-In: Aboriginal Buffalo Hunting on the Northern Plains. Edmonton: AU Press, 2008.

Bumsted, J. M. Thomas Scott’s Body and Other Essays on Early Manitoba History. Winnipeg: University of Manitoba Press, 2000.

Bumsted, J. M. Trials & Tribulations: The Red River Settlement and the Emergence of Manitoba. Winnipeg: Great Plains, 2003.

Carter, Sarah. Aboriginal People and the Colonizers of Western Canada to 1900. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1999.

Ens, Gerhard J. From New Peoples to New Nations: Aspects of Métis History and Identity from the Eighteenth to the Twenty-First Centuries. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2016.

Francis, R. Douglas and Chris Kitzan. The Prairie West as Promised Land. Calgary: University of Calgary Press, 2007.

Friesen, Gerald. The Canadian Prairies: A History. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1987.

Knafla, Louis A. and Jonathan Swainger, eds. Laws and Societies in the Canadian Prairie West, 1670-1940. Vancouver: UBC Press, 2005. 

Payne, Michael, Donald Wetherell, and Catherine Cavanaugh, eds. Alberta Formed, Alberta Transformed. Calgary and Edmonton: University of Calgary Press and University of Alberta Press, 2006.

Podruchny, Carolyn. Making the Voyageur World: Travelers and Traders in the North American Fur Trade. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2006.

Ray, Arthur J., Jim Miller, and Frank J. Tough. Bounty and Benevolence: A History of Saskatchewan Treaties. Montreal and Kingston: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2000.

Thompson, John H. Forging the Prairie West.Toronto: Oxford University Press, 1998.

Waiser, W. [Bill] A. Saskatchewan: A New History. Calgary: Fifth House, 2005.



One 1000-level History course, or permission of the instructor





Course Guidelines

Course Guidelines for previous years are viewable by selecting the version desired. If you took this course and do not see a listing for the starting semester / year of the course, consider the previous version as the applicable version.

Course Transfers

These are for current course guidelines only. For a full list of archived courses please see

Institution Transfer Details for HIST 2209
Kwantlen Polytechnic University (KPU) KPU HIST 2XXX (3)
Langara College (LANG) LANG HIST 2XXX (3)
Simon Fraser University (SFU) SFU HIST 2XX (3)
Thompson Rivers University (TRU) TRU HIST 2XXX (3)
Trinity Western University (TWU) TWU HIST 2XX (3)
University of British Columbia - Okanagan (UBCO) UBCO HIST 2nd (3)
University of British Columbia - Vancouver (UBCV) UBCV HIST 2nd (3)
University of Northern BC (UNBC) UNBC HIST 2XX (3)
University of the Fraser Valley (UFV) UFV HIST 1XX (3)
University of Victoria (UVIC) UVIC HSTR 2XX (1.5)
Vancouver Island University (VIU) VIU HIST 2nd (3)

Course Offerings

Fall 2023