Fall 2021 - INDG 353W D100

Indigenous Heritage Stewardship (3)

Class Number: 3908

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Mo 9:30 AM – 12:20 PM
    SWH 9095, Burnaby

  • Instructor:

    Eldon Yellowhorn
    1 778 782-6669
  • Prerequisites:

    45 units or permission of the instructor.



Examines issues that arise when Aboriginal people must balance economic development and cultural integrity. Topics include self-reflexive internalist research, ethics and best practices in representing Indigenous heritage, public laws and land claim agreements affecting heritage, the exhumation and repatriation of human remains and religious freedom and access to sacred sites and objects. Students who have taken INDG (or FNST) 322 previously under this topic may not take this course for further credit. Students with credit for FNST 353W may not take this course for further credit. Writing.


FNST 353W First Nations Heritage Stewardship introduces student to the issues that First Nations encounter as they assert their right to manage their heritage within a colonial reality. Course content examines the tenets of internalist archaeology as a conceptual framework for imagining the past in the aboriginal world. Topics to be covered include aboriginal thought on archaeological methods and theory, the exhumation, public display and repatriation of human remains and sacred objects, and archaeology in the context of land claims. First Nations heritage stewardship stands at the focal point of competing interests that include public media and private landowners, various levels of government, developers and industry. Aboriginal people define their rights through the courts and attempt to exert influence on policy and practice by negotiating agreements with government over customary lands or joint management arrangements. Outside these venues, Indian bands advocate rescuing cultural property and human remains that were taken from them in earlier years. They rely on public opinion and positive media representation to advance their causes. Moreover, there is an evolving bundle of legislation that compels public institutions to co-operate with them and accept claims from museum and public institutions.


  • Reading Reviews (4x15%) 60%
  • Midterm Exam 10%
  • Oral Report 10%
  • Research Report 20%


Week by week list of topics to be discussed:

September 14  --  First Nations Heritage Stewardship: Introduction to class

September 21  --  Examining the intellectual foundation of heritage stewardship and some guiding principles of ethical research; statements of ethics as living documents.

September 28  -- Aboriginal community economic development, equitable urbanism and First Nations tourism
Reading 1

October 5  --  Enabling legislation for heritage stewardship, lands reserved for Indians and Cultural Property; First Nations Heritage Management in the context of land claims; the Nisga’a and Twawassen agreements; First Nations Heritage Management Case Studies
Reading 2

October 19  --  Researching human remains; Repatriation, Restorative Justice and Religious Freedoms
Reading 3

October 26  -- Aboriginal Museology, virtual museums; recreating the dialogue between museums and first nations; telling the story from an internalist perspective
Reading 4

November 2  -- UNESCO, World Heritage Sites and  International development and Heritage Stewardship; Heritage sites and indigenous culture

November 9 -- Decolonizing First Nations heritage sites versus anti-colonial research

-- Resources versus cultural property; proprietary interest and perspectives of antiquities

November 16 – Reconsidering Canada’s national mythos about heritage, national parks and historic sites

November 23  -- Late Term Exam; Guest speaker

November 30 -- Oral reports

December 7  -- Course evaluations and Oral reports

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 2021 will involve primarily in-person instruction, with approximately 70 to 80 per cent of classes in person/on campus, with safety plans in place.  Whether your course will be in-person or through remote methods will be clearly identified in the schedule of classes.  You will also know at enrollment whether remote course components will be “live” (synchronous) or at your own pace (asynchronous).

Enrolling in a course acknowledges that you are able to attend in whatever format is required.  You should not enroll in a course that is in-person if you are not able to return to campus, and should be aware 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.

Students with hidden or visible disabilities who may need class or exam accommodations, including in the context of remote learning, are advised to register with the SFU Centre for Accessible Learning (caladmin@sfu.ca or 778-782-3112) as early as possible in order to prepare for the fall 2021 term.