Fall 2020 - PSYC 106 D100

Psychological Issues in Contemporary Society (3)

Indigenous Peoples & Psychology

Class Number: 8855

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Th 3:00 PM – 3:50 PM



Relates contemporary knowledge from psychology to current social problems. Provides relevant information from studies pertaining to problems such as attitude development, prejudice, race relations, addiction, behavior technology, and family pathology. Course can be repeated for credit. See Psychology department website for course description. Students may not take this course for further credit if similar topics are covered. Breadth-Social Sciences.


This course is designed to provide students with a survey of information on Indigenous peoples’ experiences and realities as it relates to key areas in the field of Psychology (i.e., research, social psychology, forensic psychology, professional practice). The primary focus will be on highlighting the impacts of historical and contemporary policies and institutions for Indigenous peoples with respect to key concepts, practices, and theories in psychology, with the goal to cultivate culturally safe social science research and professional practice amongst learners in the course. Topics include: assimilation and colonization, social determinants of health and trauma, Indigenous social movements, justice involvement, and culturally specific ethical guidelines for professional practice and research.


The goal is that students will gain knowledge and understanding of Indigenous peoples’ experiences as it relates to topics in psychology: past, present, future. This course, using a strengths-based approach, will provide students with information to engage critically in the field of psychology moving forward with their degrees.

The two major objectives of the course are to introduce students to: (a) foundational determinants of health and trauma for Indigenous Peoples, focusing specifically on colonial and assimilative polices and tactics; and (b) the pathways between historical and contemporary realities of Indigenous Peoples and key areas of psychology theories, research and practice.

Each class will include an instructor-led discussion of the weekly topic (via video recording or podcast), and will be followed by group-directed discussions of readings, and/or group activities. Selected readings will be from multiple disciplines.


  • Weekly discussion board: 50%
  • Thought/reflection papers: 20%
  • Final exam: 30%



There is no required text. Weekly readings will be provided in advance. Materials will be posted on Canvas

Registrar Notes:


SFU’s Academic Integrity web site http://www.sfu.ca/students/academicintegrity.html 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. http://www.sfu.ca/policies/gazette/student/s10-01.html


Teaching at SFU in fall 2020 will be conducted primarily through remote methods. There will be in-person course components in a few exceptional cases where this is fundamental to the educational goals of the course. Such course components will be clearly identified at registration, as will course components that will be “live” (synchronous) vs. at your own pace (asynchronous). Enrollment acknowledges that remote study may entail different modes of learning, interaction with your instructor, and ways of getting feedback on your work than may be the case for in-person classes. To ensure you can access all course materials, we recommend you have access to a computer with a microphone and camera, and the internet. In some cases your instructor may use Zoom or other means requiring a camera and microphone to invigilate exams. If proctoring software will be used, this will be confirmed in the first week of class.

Students with hidden or visible disabilities who believe they may need class or exam accommodations, including in the current context of remote learning, are encouraged to register with the SFU Centre for Accessible Learning (caladmin@sfu.ca or 778-782-3112).