ANTH 202 - Ethnography of Canada's First Nations Peoples

This course introduces students to the cultural diversity of Canada’s Native peoples. We will study the archaeological, historical, and contemporary ethnographic descriptions of aboriginal cultures with respect to cultural ecology and modes of subsistence, religious practices and beliefs, family and kinship structures, and political systems on a region-by-region basis. The effects of European contact and colonialism on traditional patterns will be analyzed. Two underlying themes of the course will be (a) an evaluation of the contributions and political implications of “doing anthropology” among Native peoples, and (b) an evaluation of First Nations’ efforts in reclaiming and reconstructing their “traditional” cultures.


Credits: 3


Hours: 45 (Lecture Hours 3)


Total Weeks: 15


First year course in Anthropology or Sociology
OR consent of instructor.


Non-Course Prerequisites:




Course Content:
- Introduction to the course and discussion of course requirements. Issues in studying Native peoples; Aboriginal issues in Canada; “Doing” anthropology
- First Nations prehistory—archaeological and anthropological research; the record and the tradition
- Arctic prehistory, Inuit cultural traditions
- The Eastern sub-arctic; the Northern Algonquians
- The Western sub-arctic; the Northern Athapaskans; The Dene
- Western Sub-Arctic: the Slavey and the Carrier
- The Eastern Woodlands; hunters, horticulturalists and agriculturalist
- The Plains’ First Nations; The Blackfoot, Cree, and Metis peoples
- The Plains
- Native peoples of the Plateau
- The Native peoples of the South and Northwest Coast
- First nations’ futures; custom, tradition and cultural survival in the global context


Learning Outcomes:
When the student has completed this course, s/he will be able to:
- Recognize the prehistory and the linguistic and archaeological evidence of the diversity of Aboriginal peoples
- Comprehend the range of aboriginal culture and social traditions
- Assess the impact of European contact on Aboriginals’ cultures
- Evaluate the contributions of anthropological theory in general and applied anthropology particularly to help protect indigenous heritage, language and knowledge
- Examine key issues such as elders and their role in Aboriginal society; Aboriginal leadership; political, economic, and social development
- Emphasize the relationship of Aboriginal peoples with land/resources
- Understand aboriginal people’s efforts in reclaiming and their reconstructing their traditional cultures


Grading System: Letters


Passing Grade: D (50%)


Percentage of Individual Work: 100


Additional Course Comments:
- This is an online course. Students are responsible to read the assigned materials to involve in online discussions and seminars. Discussions will be based on critical evaluation of the assigned readings and/or occasional debate questions proposed by the instructor, students’ response papers as well as students’ feedback on posted messages and responses .
- Online Discussion Etiquette:
  To ensure a positive and stimulating learning environment for both yourself and your fellow students please make sure to:
    Post the materials in designated areas.
    Follow the course outline and make postings that are relevant to the assigned topic for the week.
    Assist those who may need guidance – use the “chat” tool for personal issues
    Respect the opinions of others – even if you disagree with them
    Use academic tone to disagree – Don’t make it sound you try to impose your view
    Support your opinion with factual/objective evidence (e.g., make reference)
    Avoid making offensive remarks (e.g., use of sexist, racist, or stereotyping)


Textbooks are subject to change. Please contact the bookstore at your local campus for current book lists.