Indigenous Studies (INST) 205

Indigenous Studies II (Revision 2)

INST 205 course website

Delivery Mode: Individualized study

Credits: 3

Area of Study: Social Science

Prerequisite: None

Precluded Course: INST 205 may not be taken for credit if credit has already been obtained for NTST 201 or INST 201.

Centre: Centre for World Indigenous Knowledge and Research

INST 205 has a Challenge for Credit option.

Course website

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In this survey course, we introduce the concepts of internal colonialism, decolonization, and Aboriginal self-government. We also explore the impact of Canadian economic policies, with special emphasis on how resource exploitation and the extension of social services have affected northern Natives socially, culturally, politically, and economically. Finally, we discuss Aboriginal land claims, using case studies of claims that have been or are being settled, either through the courts or by negotiations. This survey includes an examination of the significance of a land-based economy to the establishment of effective and sustainable indigenous government.


Indigenous Studies 205 is designed to provide students an opportunity to develop critical and analytical skills, and to acquire a basic understanding of some of the most important issues affecting contemporary Native people in Canada.

After completing this course, you will be able to

  • Discuss the concepts 'colonialism,' 'decolonization,' and 'Indian self-government.'
  • Compare the process of decolonization underway among Aboriginal peoples in other countries with that being undertaken by Aboriginal peoples in Canada.
  • Assess the impact of Euro-Canadian-oriented modernization processes on the indigenous inhabitants of Canada's North.
  • Describe and assess the responses of northern Aboriginal communities, and Aboriginal political organizations and leaders, to the Euro-Canadian-oriented social, cultural, economic, and political development processes imposed on the Aboriginal residents of the North.
  • Discuss the history of Aboriginal land claims in Canada.
  • Discuss several judicial opinions about Aboriginal land claims.


INST 205 is divided into three units, as follows:

Unit 1: Indian Government: Before and During Colonization

  • Section 1: Precolonial Societies
  • Section 2: Colonial Relationships
  • Section 3: The Colonial Relationship in Canada: Treaty Making and Assimilation Laws
  • Section 4: Contemporary Aboriginal Government
  • Section 5: Decolonization in Other Countries

Unit 2: Aboriginal People in Northern Canada

  • Section 1: Colonialism, Modernization, and Social Change Among the Inuit People
  • Section 2: Resource Exploitation and the Extension of Government Services
  • Section 3: Socioeconomic Issues

Unit 3: Aboriginal Land Claims

  • Section 1: Comprehensive Land Claims
  • Section 2: Specific Claims
  • Section 3: Canadian Court Rulings


To receive credit for INST 205, you must achieve a course composite grade of at least “D” (50 per cent) and a minimum grade of 50 percent on the final examination. The weighting of the composite grade is as follows:

TME 1 TME 2 TME 3 Final Exam Total
25% 25% 25% 25% 100%

To learn more about assignments and examinations, please refer to Athabasca University's online Calendar.

Course Materials


Frideres, James S., and René R. Gadacz. Aboriginal Peoples in Canada: Contemporary Conflicts, 9th ed. Scarborough: Pearson Education Canada, 2012.

Getty, A. L., and Antoine S. Lussier (eds.). As Long as the Sun Shines and the Water Flows: A Reader in Canadian Native Studies. Vancouver: University of British Columbia Press, 1983.

Ponting, J. Rick (ed.). Arduous Journey: Canadian Indians and Decolonization. Toronto: McClelland and Stewart, 1986.

Williamson, Pamela, and John Roberts. First Nations Peoples, 3rd ed. Toronto: Emond Montgomery, 2011.

Other Materials

The course materials also include a study guide, student manual, and a reading file.

Challenge for Credit Course Overview

The Challenge for Credit process allows students to demonstrate that they have acquired a command of the general subject matter, knowledge, intellectual and/or other skills that would normally be found in a university level course.

Full information for the Challenge for Credit can be found in the Undergraduate Calendar.

Challenge Evaluation

To receive credit for the INST 205 challenge registration, you must achieve a grade of at least “D” (50 percent) on the examination.

Undergraduate Challenge for Credit Course Registration Form

Athabasca University reserves the right to amend course outlines occasionally and without notice. Courses offered by other delivery methods may vary from their individualized-study counterparts.

Opened in Revision 2, March 2, 2006.

View previous syllabus