Indigenous Studies (INST) 358

Aboriginal Women in Canada (Revision 1)

INST 358 course cover

Delivery Mode: Individualized study or grouped study

Credits: 3

Area of Study: Social Science

Prerequisite: None

Precluded Course: NTST 358. INST 358 may not be taken for credit if credit has already been obtained for NTST 358.

Centre: Centre for World Indigenous Knowledge and Research

INST 358 has a Challenge for Credit option.

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This course examines the roles of women in traditional, pre-contact Aboriginal societies, the changes facing this group of women as a consequence of colonization, and contemporary issues of concern for Aboriginal women in Canada. While the course deals with Aboriginal women in Canada, particular emphasis will be on Western and Northern Canadian contexts and experiences and the women of those territories wherever the existing resources and materials permit. The course has been designed thematically and chronologically in order for patterns of experience to emerge and become evident. Throughout this course, the terms ‘Indian’, Inuit and ‘Metis’ will be used as they are the terms used in the Constitution Act (1982) to identify Aboriginal peoples of Canada and because these terms reflect historical usage. In the context of this course they are applied exclusive of the derogatory context which has sometimes arisen as a result of cultural misconceptions.


Indigenous Studies 358 is divided into 10 units each with its own readings and study questions as outlined throughout the course outline.

  • Unit 1: Introduction to Theoretical Concepts
  • Unit 2: Traditional Roles of Aboriginal Women: Oral Traditions
  • Unit 3: Traditional Roles of Aboriginal Women: Recent Scholarship
  • Unit 4: The Historical Fur Trade, ca. 1700-1850
  • Unit 5: The Colonial Impact, ca. 1850-1920
  • Unit 6: The Colonial Impact, ca. 1920-1960
  • Unit 7: Challenges to Colonialism, ca. 1960-1985
  • Unit 8: Violence and Aboriginal Women in the Late Twentieth Century
  • Unit 9: Reawakening Strength and Resistance
  • Unit 10: Survival, Strength and Healing through Literature and Artistic Expression


To receive credit for INST 358, you must achieve a grade of at least 50 percent on the final examination, and a course composite grade of at least “D” (50 percent). The weighting of assignments is as follows:

Short Essay 2 Critical Analyses (10% each) Long Essay Final Exam Total
15% 20% 35% 30% 100%

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

Course Materials


Anderson, Kim. A Recognition of Being: Reconstructing Native Womanhood. Toronto: Sumach, 2000.

Campbell, Maria. Halfbreed. Halifax: Goodread Biographies, 1983.

Deloria, Ella. Waterlily. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1988.

Evans, Augusta. Days of Augusta, edited by Jean Speare. Vancouver: Douglas and McIntyre, 1992.

Goulding, Warren. Just Another Indian: A Serial Killer and Canada's Indifference. Saskatoon, SK: Fifth House, 2001.

Other Materials

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

Students are encouraged to view:

The Burning Times [Montreal: Studio D, National Film Board of Canada, 1990].

Hands of History: Aboriginal Women Artists [Ottawa: National Film Board of Canada, 1994].

Mother of Many Children [Ottawa: National Film Board of Canada, 1977].

Daughters of the Country, Part I, Ikwe and Mistress Madeleine [Ottawa: National Film Board of Canada, 1986].

Donna’s Story [Ottawa: National Film Board of Canada, 2001].

Doctor, Lawyer, Indian Chief: A Documentary Tribute to Native Women in Canada [Ottawa: National Film Board of Canada, 1986].

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

For more information please contact the course coordinator.

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 1, December 13, 2007.