Summer 2019 - EDUC 711 G001

Special Topics

Indigenous Graphic Novels

Class Number: 5897

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Th 4:30 PM – 9:20 PM
    SWH 10051, Burnaby



Variable units 3, 4, 5.


This is a 5-unit course.

Indigenous Graphic Novels & Storytelling in the Curriculum

Indigenous graphic novels combine text and visual art and provide a platform to document experiences while envisioning future Indigenous identities. In recent years, the number of Indigenous graphic novels written by Indigenous authors has grown rapidly as way to speak back to settler colonial misrepresentations of Indigenous identities, issues and cultures, leading some scholars to refer to this this literary style as being a vehicle for Indigenous self-determination and sovereignty (Sinclair, 2013). For educators who are interested in utilizing Indigenous graphic novels in the classroom, this literary genre can provide useful tools to foster complex and structural understandings of settler colonialism, power, racism, decolonization, and Indigeneity while simultaneously building students’ critical thinking and interpretive skills. Along with the graphic novels listed below, we will also read zines, watch films, witness community murals, review video games, and read a selection of secondary readings that discuss graphic novels, adaptations, Indigenous storytelling traditions and popular cultural representations.  

This course will critically explore theoretical, cultural, educational, and political dynamics underwriting the history and future of this literary style. The course will be comprised of a combination of lectures, guest speakers, in-class demonstrations, community visits, group discussions and projects. This course will be taught from a wholistic and critically informed Indigenous perspective.


·      Briefly examine the history of Eurocentric misrepresentations of Indigenous peoples and cultures in graphic novels and popular culture.
·      Develop critical resource assessment skills in choosing appropriate Indigenous graphic novels for the classroom. ·      Investigate and the connections between Indigenous storytelling/oral traditions and graphic novels as a medium for Indigenous knowledge transmission and pedagogy.
·      Identify, discuss and write about theoretical themes in the novels that are connected to: self-determination, sovereignty, Indigenous language revitalization, decolonization, racism and Indigenous identities.
·      Gain skills and experience in searching, interpreting, summarizing, synthesizing and analyzing theoretical literature.
·      Provide students with the skills and time to create their own graphic story/journal and develop visual literacy skills.
·      Examine pedagogical practices for using Indigenous graphic novels, zines and Indigenous new media in the classroom.
·      Provide opportunities for students to bridge theory and practice by designing a theoretically informed curriculum design for an Indigenous graphic novel to be used in classrooms, schools, and/or community learning contexts.


  • Hosting a Learning Circle 25%
  • Graphic Based Story/Journal 25%
  • Final Assignment - Written portion & Oral Presentation. Due on July 22nd,2019 (firm deadline) 35 & 5%
  • Participation 10%


Risks: Students will be required to participate in a mural walk with the Vancouver Mural Festival Society as a non-classroom activity. Known associated risks with the walk are low.


Currently enrolled ESE students. *Alternatively, special consideration will also be given by written request for special permission to the instructor.



Students will need to purchase a sketch book from Amy on our first day of class for $4.00.


All reading course materials will be available through the SFU library, on-line or posted onto Canvas.

Graduate Studies Notes:

Important dates and deadlines for graduate students are found here: The deadline to drop a course with a 100% refund is the end of week 2. The deadline to drop with no notation on your transcript is the end of week 3.

Registrar Notes:

SFU’s Academic Integrity web site is filled with information on what is meant by academic dishonesty, where you can find resources to help with your studies and the consequences of cheating.  Check out the site for more information and videos that help explain the issues in plain English.

Each student is responsible for his or her conduct as it affects the University community.  Academic dishonesty, in whatever form, is ultimately destructive of the values of the University. Furthermore, it is unfair and discouraging to the majority of students who pursue their studies honestly. Scholarly integrity is required of all members of the University.