Political Science (POLI) 311

Aboriginal Politics and Governments (Revision 5)

POLI 311 Course website

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Delivery Mode: Individualized study online or grouped study (with eTextbook)

Credits: 3

Area of Study: Social Science

Prerequisite: None

Faculty: Faculty of Humanities & Social Sciences

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Detailed Syllabus (PDF - 25 KB )

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POLI 311 examines the complex issues associated with Aboriginal peoples and their politics. The central issues of this course include the history and context of Aboriginal government and political movements, and the political goals of Aboriginal peoples today. Political Science 311 will help you recognize the efforts of Aboriginal peoples to create and recreate their governing institutions, which is essential for understanding Aboriginal politics. This course will also help you understand the policies of the various levels of government in Canada, particularly the federal government, concerning the circumstances, rights, and self-determination of Canada's Aboriginal peoples.


Unit 1: Introduction to Aboriginal Politics and Government

Unit 2: Ideas about Aboriginal Government in Canada

  • Section 2.1: Aboriginal Government Traditions
  • Section 2.2: The Indian Act and Aboriginal Governance
  • Section 2.3: Citizenship and the “Inherent Right” Movement for Self-Government
  • Section 2.4 Treaties and Land Claims in Canada

Unit 3: Issues in Aboriginal Government

  • Section 3.1: The Politics and Policies of Self-Government
  • Section 3.2: Financing and Economic Development
  • Section 3.3: Social Services
  • Section 3.4: Justice

Unit 4: Interests in Aboriginal Self-Government

  • Section 4.1: Métis and Inuit Issues
  • Section 4.2: Urban Issues
  • Section 4.3: Canada Compared I: United States and Mexico
  • Section 4.4: Canada Compared II: Australia and New Zealand


To receive credit for POLI 311, you will be based on your performance on three written assignments: one on-line quiz and two essays. You must achieve a grade of at least 60 percent on the quiz, and an overall course grade of at least D (50 percent). The weighting of the assignments is as follows:

Activity Weighting
Assignment 1: Quiz 30%
Assignment 2: Essay 30%
Assignment 3: Essay 40%
Total 100%

To learn more about assignments, 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.

Belanger, Y. D. 2018. Ways of Knowing: An Introduction to Native Studies in Canada, 3rd edition. Toronto: Nelson

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.

Other materials

The course materials include an on-line study guide and course information manual

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 POLI 311 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 5, May 16, 2014.

View previous syllabus