Women's and Gender Studies (WGST) 305

Counselling with Indigenous Women (Revision 1)

WGST 305

Revision 1 is closed for registrations, replaced by current version

Delivery Mode: Individualized study online

Credits: 3

Area of Study: Social Science

Prerequisite: None

Faculty: Faculty of Humanities & Social Sciences

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WGST 305 is not available for challenge.

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Welcome to Women’s and Gender Studies 305: Counselling with Indigenous Women. This course will engage you in issues and practices critical to working with First Nation, Métis, and Inuit women in culturally appropriate ways that promote principles of human dignity, decolonization, and self-sovereignty.

Counselling is one of many processes Indigenous women may turn to for support or assistance in working with difficult issues. Traditionally, problem solving and healing took a broader community focus, where supports were found through relationships of interconnection, family, friends, and community. Ceremony was one way to acknowledge important life events and offer mutual support, spiritual connection and possibilities for transformation; working with medicine healers, shamans and teachers, with nature, and with spirit offer other possibilities for problem solving and healing. Customs and cultural practices have offered community members ways to promote safety, well-being, and minimize conflict.


  • Unit 1: Locating Ourselves and Indigenous Communities: Who are Indigenous Women in Canada?
  • Unit 2: Violence and Trauma in Relation to Indigenous Women
  • Unit 3: Theories and Approaches to Counselling with Indigenous Women
  • Unit 4: Response-based Practice
  • Unit 5: Working with Grief and Loss
  • Unit 6: Identity, Rediscovery and Reconnection
  • Unit 7: Relationships and Family Life
  • Unit 8: Celebration and Ceremony


To receive credit for WGST 305, you must achieve a minimum grade of "D" (50 percent) on the course assignments and an overall course grade of "D" (50 percent) or better. Students will be evaluated on the basis of five assignments, the first of which consists of regular postings throughout the course in the Assignment 1 Journal Forum.

Assignment 1 Assignment 2 Assignment 3 Assignment 4 Assignment 5 Total
20% 20% 20% 20% 20% 100%

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

Course Materials


Smith, A. (2005). Conquest: Sexual violence and American Indian genocide. Cambridge, MA: South End Press.

Anderson. K. (2001). A recognition of being: Reconstructing Native womanhood. Toronto, ON: Sumach Press.

You will also view two home-made videos online:

Unit 4: Richardson, Catherine. (2009). A response-based interview with Audrey Chartrand.

Unit 7: Wade, Allan. (2010). An interview with Dr. Allan Wade on the origins of systemic family therapy in North America.

Other Material

All other materials will be accessed online.

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, August 16, 2011.