Spring 2016 - HIST 326 D100

History of Aboriginal Peoples of North America Since 1850 (4)

Class Number: 4140

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Jan 5 – Apr 11, 2016: Tue, 2:30–4:20 p.m.

    Jan 5 – Apr 11, 2016: Thu, 2:30–3:20 p.m.

  • Instructor:

    Mary-Ellen Kelm
    Office: AQ 6227
  • Prerequisites:

    45 units including nine units of lower division history.



Examines selected themes in the history of Aboriginal peoples of North America in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Students with credit for FNST 326 may not take this course for further credit.


Foucault famously wrote in his 1979 volume Discipline and Punish that he was not attracted to history because he was interested in the past, but because he was interested in the history of the present. (Discipline and Punish, p. 31) Indigenous presents in Canada and the United States are multi-faceted, complex and important. We live with and in the result of myriad historical processes in which indigenous people have been involved both with and against their will. The course will start in the present and work backwards to try to understand what produced the world in which we live with indigenous peoples of North America. If you have ever wondered how the relations between indigenous people and settlers have become contentious, how residential schools and treaties came to be, whether it is accurate to portray indigenous people as struggling with poverty and ill-health, then this course is a good place to start to answer those questions.


Though each class and assignment will have specific learning outcomes, this course has the following educational goals overall:

  • to gain the ability to question and critique dominant myths about Aboriginal people in Canada and the United States;
  • to understand terminology and concepts related to indigenous histories in Canada and the United States;
  • to gain an understanding of the relationships between federal Indian policy on both sides of the border and the extension of capitalism onto indigenous lands and territories;
  • to gain an understanding of and appreciation for the ways in which indigenous people have responded to the challenges posed by settler colonialism;
  • to demonstrate an ability to read primary and secondary texts critically;
  • to develop the skills to find first-person sources (archival, published, oral historic and ethnographic) related to indigenous histories;
  • to use library, archival and community resources effectively;
  • to write succinctly and effectively;
  • to develop multiple methodologies for collecting, analysing and disseminating data.


  • Reading Journal 30%
  • Research Project (form and subject to be chosen by student in consultation with the instructor) 20%
  • Writing Project (form and subject to be chosen by student in consultation with the instructor) 20%
  • Presentation 10%
  • Seminar Participation 20%



Textbooks(for purchase and on-reserve):

Keith D. Smith, Strange Visitors

Thomas King, An Inconvenient Indian

Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz, An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States.

Registrar Notes:

SFU’s Academic Integrity web site http://students.sfu.ca/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