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Canadian Native Cultures

Course Code: ANTH 1160
Faculty: Humanities & Social Sciences
Department: Anthropology
Credits: 3.0
Semester: 15 weeks
Learning Format: Lecture
Typically Offered: TBD. Contact Department Chair for more info.
course overview

This course examines the nature and diversity of Canadian Indian, Inuit, and Métis cultures. It looks at native adaptations from the earliest evidence recovered by archaeologists to selected aspects of modern aboriginal life in Canada. Particular attention will be given to the traditional cultures as they existed shortly after contact with Europeans. As First Nations of British Columbia are covered in another course (ANTH 1120) they will largely be omitted here.

Course Content

1.    Introduction

        a)   Indians (First Nations), Inuit, and Métis-introduction to Native Studies
        b)   Anthropological concepts and approaches to the study of Native cultures
        c)   Aboriginal languages in Canada

 2.     The Earliest Evidence

        a)   Debate over timing and routes of initial arrival
        b)   The Paleoindians in Canada

3.     The Atlantic Coast

4.     Iroquoia

5.     The Algonkians of the Eastern Woodlands and Subarctic

6.     Plains

7.     Western Subarctic-the Athapaskans

8.     The Inuit of the Canadian Arctic

9.     The Métis

10.   Historic Native Administration in Canada

        a)   The Indian Act
        b)   Treaties
        c)   Allocation of reserves

 11.  Selected Contemporary Issues

a)   Land claims and treaty grievances
b)   Self-government and the constitution

Methods of Instruction

The course content will be presented through lectures.  Videos and slides will play a role in class instruction.  Guest lecturers and class discussion groups may also be employed.

Means of Assessment

The evaluation will be based on course objectives and carried out in accordance with Douglas College policy. The instructor will provide a written course outline with specific evaluation criteria at the beginning of the semester.

An example of an evaluation scheme would be:

First mid-term exam  20%
Second mid-term exam  20%
Final exam  25%
Library research paper  30%
Attendance & participation        5%
Total 100%

Learning Outcomes

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

  1. Identify the major aboriginal languages of Canada, their distribution and relationships.
  2. Describe how the various sub-fields of anthropology can contribute to our knowledge of native cultures, assessing the strengths and limitations of each approach.
  3. Discuss the traditional cultural patterns, such as economy, housing and social organization, in each of the major geographic regions of Canada.
  4. Assess the impact on native cultures of the various stages of Euro-Canadian settlement and colonization.
  5. Discuss federal policies of administering Indians, such as the Indian Act, treaties and reserves, and how these continue to affect Canadian First Nations.
  6. Identify the major differences in government policy toward different aboriginal groups (status Indian, non-status Indian, Inuit, Métis) in Canada.
  7. Discuss the modern movement toward aboriginal self-government in Canada.

curriculum 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 schedule and availability
course transferability

Below shows how this course and its credits transfer within the BC transfer system. 

A course is considered university-transferable (UT) if it transfers to at least one of the five research universities in British Columbia: University of British Columbia; University of British Columbia-Okanagan; Simon Fraser University; University of Victoria; and the University of Northern British Columbia.

For more information on transfer visit the BC Transfer Guide and BCCAT websites.


If your course prerequisites indicate that you need an assessment, please see our Assessment page for more information.