Fall 2020 - HIST 427 D100

Topics in Indigenous Histories (4)

Indigenous Peoples and Public History

Class Number: 3459

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

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

  • Instructor:

    Cody Groat
  • 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.


Course Description: This course will explore Canadian public history as it relates to Indigenous Peoples. Several aspects and venues of ‘public history’ will be examined, including the erection of statues and monuments, the recognition of cultural landscapes, acts of public ceremony, and both the ‘display’ and repatriation of ancestors. While this course will consider theoretical frameworks associated with the practice of public history, it will also consider Indigenous responses to the field including criticisms of the ‘nature/ culture divide’ and the concepts of ‘cultural resource management.’ Case studies that will be discussed include the Indians of Canada Pavilion at Expo 67, the controversial 1988 ‘Spirit Sings’ exhibition, the architecture of Douglas Cardinal, and the art installation ‘REDress Project’ by Jaime Black.

Teaching Style: Mix of synchronous and asynchronous learning.

Asynchronous Elements: Lecture videos will be posted every week on the Friday prior to every Monday class by 3:00pm 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 (every Monday from 2:30- 4:00).

Synchronous Elements: The class will be divided into groups of 2 at the beginning of the semester. Each week a different pair of students will be responsible for leading class discussions based upon the readings and the identified case studies. The first group discussion will be led by the course instructor on September 14th from 2:30- 4:30. Subsequent group discussions will be held via video call from 2:30- 4:00 on the following dates: September 21st, September 28th, October 5th, October 19th, October 26th, November 2nd, November 16th, November 23rd, November 30th and December 7th. Recorded lectures will be shorter than the three hour class time in recognition of the additional video calls.

Weekly Topics:

  • Place Names and Indigenous Languages
  • Denial of Indigenous Monumentalism
  • Popular and Mass Media
  • Statues and Monuments
  • Archaeology, Salvage Anthropology, and Mass Collecting
  • Indigenous Self-Representation, Art, and Performance
  • Cultural Centres
  • Cultural Landscapes
  • Repatriating Ancestors
  • Indigenous Architecture and Living History Museums
  • Ceremony and Public Art


  • Group Discussion Leadership and Reflection (3 pages) 15%
  • Public History Policy Analysis (8 pages) 20%
  • Digital Public History Exhibit Analysis (8 pages) 20%
  • Design a Public History Project (museum exhibit, policy document, living history site, podcast series, documentary film, etc)
  • - Proposal (3 pages) 10%
  • - Project Description and Thematic Analysis (15 pages) 20%
  • - Project Sample (interpretive panels, site map and brochure, podcast episode, etc) 15%



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

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).