Indigenous Studies (INST) 205

Indigenous Studies II (Revision 3)

INST 205 course cover

Under Revision

Delivery Mode: Individualized study online (with eTextbook)

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: Nukskahtowin

INST 205 has a Challenge for Credit option.

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In this survey course, we introduce the concepts of internal colonialism, decolonization, and Indigenous 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 Indigenous peoples 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 Indigenous people in Canada.

After completing this course, you should be able to

  • Discuss the concepts colonialism, decolonization, and Indigenous self-government.
  • Compare the process of decolonization underway among Indigenous peoples in other countries with that being undertaken by Indigenous 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 Indigenous communities and Indigenous political organizations and leaders to the Euro-Canadian-oriented social, cultural, economic, and political development processes imposed on the Indigenous 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: Indigenous 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 Indigenous Government
  • Section 5: Decolonization in Other Countries

Unit 2: Indigenous 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 percent) and a minimum grade of 50 percent on the final examination. The weighting of the composite grade is as follows:

Activity Weighting
Assignment 1 25%
Assignment 2 25%
Assignment 3 25%
Final Exam 25%
Total 100%

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

Course Materials


Registration in this course includes an electronic textbook. For more information on electronic textbooks, please refer to our eText Initiative site.

Frideres, J.S., & Gadacz, R.R. (2012). Aboriginal peoples in Canada (9th ed)., Scarborough, ON: Pearson Education Canada.

A print version of the eText may be available for purchase from the publisher through a direct-to-student link provided on the course website; you can also acquire the textbook on your own if you wish.


Getty, I.A.L., & Lussier, A.S. (Eds.). (1983). As long as the sun shines and water flows: A reader in Canadian Native studies. Vancouver, BC: University of British Columbia Press.

Williamson, P., & Roberts, J. (2004). First Nations peoples (2nd ed.). Toronto: Emond Montgomery.

Other Materials

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

Challenge for Credit Overview

The Challenge for Credit process allows you to demonstrate that you 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 about 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 3, February 9, 2017

View previous syllabus