Curriculum Guideline

Canadian Aboriginal History

Effective Date:
Course Code
HIST 2270
Canadian Aboriginal History
Humanities & Social Sciences
Start Date
End Term
Semester Length
Max Class Size
Contact Hours
Lecture: 2 hrs. per week / semester Seminar: 2 hrs. per week / semester
Method Of Instruction
Methods Of Instruction

An examination of a series of problems in the history of First Nations-Settler Relations will give the student ample opportunity to practice and improve these skills (see course Objectives).

Classroom sessions will be divided between lectures and discussions.  The discussions sessions will serve as a forum for the exchange of student reactions and criticism and as a testing ground for student hypotheses.  By acting as referee and devil’s advocate the instructor will encourage the student to elaborate, refine, revise his/her ideas.  Participation in class discussions is therefore essential.  Reluctance to participate can result in a failing grade for the class work section of the term evaluation since credit cannot be given for work not done.

Course Description
This course examines the evolution of First Nations - Settler relations from the invasion of Europeans in northern North America to the present. The themes of race, class, and gender are explored. Topics include fur trade and war, the growth and dislocation of Metis communities, colonization in the reserve and treaty systems, the creation of a bureaucracy of control, the growth of native political organizations, the quest for self determination and conflict in the courts.
Course Content

NOTE: Content may vary according to the instructor’s selection of topics.


  1. Introduction (note here some concepts besides overview)
  2. Aboriginal Worlds (a brief pre-contact overview)
  3. Contact (Atlantic-New France)
  4. Contact (Pacific Coast-Russian/British/American)
  5. Trade (of New France)
  6. Hudson Bay Trade, 1670-1760
  7. War (New France-Iroquois-Micmac in Acadia)
  8. The Middle Ground, 1760-1814
  9. Western Fur Trade
  10. Acculturation (Structures (Gender-Kin)/Beliefs)
  11. Demographic Impact (include Beothuk)
  12. Mid Term Exam
  13.  A People Apart - Treaties and Reserves (Colonial Models)
  14. Western Treaties to the Indian Act
  15. The Metis (include settlement colonies experiment)
  16. Bible and Plough
  17. Economic Choices (Modern fur trade/fishery/wage labour)
  18. False Dawn: Early Organization (to 1939)/US alternative
  19. Liberal Reform, 1945-70
  20. Struggle for Self Determination, 1970 to 2000
  21. BC Model: Reserves No Treaties
  22. Guest Speaker re: BC Treaty Making Process
  23. The Urban Challenge
  24. Debates: from Self Government to a new Indian Act
  25. International Dimensions (Aust/NZ/Sami in Scandinavia)
  26. Interpretations
  27. Final Exam
Learning Outcomes

At the conclusion of the course the successful student will be able to:


  1. The critical examination of historical sources (reading history).  These sources include not only survey texts and articles but also short monographs and extended primary sources.
  2. The creation and communication of personal interpretations of historical problems (writing history).  Forms for communication of personal interpretations include annotated bibliographies, medium-length essays (1500-3000 words), comparative book reviews, and three-hour final examinations.
  3. The independent analysis of the ideas of other students and the instructor in class in both tutorials and seminars (discussing history).
Means of Assessment

The evaluation of this course follows Douglas College policies as outlined in the current calendar.  During the first week of classes the instructor will provide students with a typed course outline handout setting out the evaluation scheme for the course.  A copy of this handout will be filed with the History Discipline convenor.  A sample evaluation scheme follows.



Written/oral analysis of article  10%
Bibliography - Review analysis          15%
Midterm exam  10%
Research essay  25%
Final exam  25%
Class/seminar participation  15%
Total 100%
Textbook Materials

Textbooks and Materials to be Purchased by Students:


Texts will be updated periodically.  Texts will be chosen from the following list:


Brown, J.S.H., and E. Vibert, eds.  (1996).  Reading beyond Words: Contexts for Native History.

Dickason, O.P.  (2002). Canada’s First Nations: A History of Founding Peoples from Earliest Times. 3rd ed.

Fisher, R. and K. Coates.  (1988).  Out of the Background: Readings on Canadian Native History.  Toronto:               Copp Clark Pitman.

Miller, J.R. (2002).  Skyscrapers Hide the Heavens: A History of Indian-White Relations in Canada. 3rd ed.

Ray, A.J.  (1996).  I Have Lived Here Since the World Began: An Illustrated History of Canada’s Native     Peoples.