Summer 2018 - HIST 427 D100

Problems in the History of Aboriginal Peoples (4)

Indigenize/Decolonize Hist

Class Number: 7381

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    May 7 – Aug 3, 2018: Tue, 1:30–5:20 p.m.

  • Instructor:

    Jennifer Spear
    1 778 782-8435
    Office: AQ #6018
  • Prerequisites:

    45 units including nine units of lower division history.



Examination of selected themes in the history of Aboriginal peoples. Content may vary from offering to offering; see course outline for further information. HIST 427 may be repeated for credit only when a different topic is taught.


Decolonizing Indigenous Histories of North America

In 2008, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada (TRC) was established to investigate the historical abuses and ongoing legacies inflicted upon indigenous peoples in Canada. Seven years later, the TRC issued its 94 Calls to Action to address the legacy of these abuses, many of which require institutions of higher education to decolonize their curriculum and integrate indigenous content, knowledge, and ways of knowing.

This reading seminar will introduce students to the study, writing, and methodology of histories of indigenous North America, focusing primarily on the period from the seventeenth through the early nineteenth century. We will ask what does it mean to Indigenize/decolonize the practice and writing of history? What methodologies should they utilize? What can an Indigenized/decolonized history look like?


  • Participation 25%
  • Portfolio (weekly reflections on the readings and other course materials) 50%
  • Critical review essay of two indigenous histories of your choice 20%
  • Presentation 5%
  • The assignments are geared towards helping you improve your skills in identifying and evaluating evidence and arguments in historical writing; interpreting primary documents; and writing argument-driven, evidence-based papers.



Thomas King, The Truth about Stories: A Native Narrative (2003)

Matthew Liebmann, Revolt: An Archaeological History of Pueblo Resistance and Revitalization in 17th Century New Mexico (2012)

N. Scott Momaday, The Way to Rainy Mountain (1969)

Jean M. O’Brien, Firsting and Lasting: Writing Indians out of Existence in New England (2010)

Joshua Piker, The Four Deaths of Acorn Whistler: Telling Stories in Colonial America (2013)

Michael Witgen, An Infinity of Nations: How the Native New World Shaped Early North America (2011)

Other required readings will be available via Canvas. You should expect to read about 200 pages per week, occasionally more, and must complete all assigned readings for each week before the class meeting.

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.