Fall 2020 - HIST 325 D100

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

Class Number: 5235

Delivery Method: Remote


  • Course Times + Location:

    Sep 9 – Dec 8, 2020: Thu, 2:30–5:20 p.m.

  • Instructor:

    Cody Groat
  • Prerequisites:

    45 units, including six units of lower division history.



Examines selected themes in the history of Aboriginal peoples of North America from first contact with Europeans to the mid-nineteenth century. Students with credit for FNST 325 may not take this course for further credit.


Course Description: This course will discuss the diverse and complex histories of Indigenous Peoples in North America from their first interaction(s) with Europeans to the mid-nineteenth century. This course will cover several themes including diplomatic relationships, economic partnerships, cross-cultural transmission, and acts of forced assimilation. Each lecture will focus on a specific archival document to help us better understand these broad themes and further explore the ‘practice’ of historical research. Documents that will be discussed include The Vinland Sagas (ca. 1200s), the Waldseemüller Map (1507), the Kaswentha Wampum Belt (1613), the Four Mohawk Kings (1710) and oral histories associated with the HMS Terror and HMS Erebus.

Teaching Style: Mix of synchronous and asynchronous learning.

Asynchronous Elements: Lecture videos will be posted every week on Monday by 5:00pm for students to watch on their own time. Students are expected to watch every lecture and finish all the assigned readings prior to the synchronous group discussions (select dates as identified below).

Synchronous Elements: The class will be divided into 2 groups of 15 students each at the beginning of the semester. Group A will meet with the instructor via video call from 2:30- 4:00pm, and Group B will meet with the instructor via video call from 4:30- 6:00pm. The entire class is expected to call in for an orientation session and first group discussion on Thursday September 10th from 2:30- 4:30. During this call Group A and Group B will be assigned. Subsequent video calls will be held on October 1st, October 22nd, November 5th, and December 3rd.

Weekly Topics:

  • First Encounters - A European Perspective
  • First Encounters - An Indigenous Perspective
  • Creating the ‘Americas’
  • Economic Enterprise
  • ‘Peace and Friendship’
  • The Imposition of Religion
  • Acts of Indigenous Diplomacy
  • Contesting the ‘Nation to Nation’ Relationship
  • Revolution and Forced Relocation
  • The Beothuk Genocide
  • A New Culture Develops
  • First Encounters - Revisited


  • Group Discussions (Sept 10, Oct 1, Oct 22, Nov 5, Dec 3) 25%
  • Primary Source Analysis - Written Component (5 pages) 15%
  • Primary Source Analysis - Interpretive Audio/ Video Recording (5- 8 minutes) 20%
  • Research Essay - Outline and Annotated Bibliography (3 pages) 10%
  • Research Essay (8 pages) 30%



All readings will be posted on Canvas [no additional purchases are necessary].

Registrar Notes:


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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).