Fall 2021 - HIST 325 D100

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

Class Number: 7870

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Sep 8 – Dec 7, 2021: Mon, 2:30–5:20 p.m.

  • Exam Times + Location:

    Dec 10, 2021
    Fri, 11:59–11:59 p.m.

  • Instructor:

    Nicholas May
  • 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.


This course is a broad overview of the history of the Indigenous peoples of Turtle Island, or what is currently Canada and the United States, from the beginnings in deep time up until the middle of the 19th century. While considering the coherence of the original peoples of this continent, both in their own self-understanding and in the eyes of newcomers, special attention will be given to the diversity of communities and individuals that came to be categorized as “Indian,” as well as to the great variety of of non-Indigenous communities, individuals, and colonialisms that engaged with them. Another focus will be on the agency of Indigenous peoples in shaping their history. Finally, throughout the course we will examine how our present moment in these settler societies has been shaped by this history, as well as how the truths currently coming to light are in turn helping us to view the past differently.

Themes and topics will include pre-European contact societies and worldviews, ecological encounters between continents and peoples, economic exchanges, political and military alliances, religious encounters and exchanges, policy and law, the social construction of race and other identities, the place of Indigenous peoples in the culture and politics of colonialism, and Indigenous strategies of resistance, accommodation, and survival.

This course is offered in conjunction with HIST 326 “History of Aboriginal Peoples of North America Since 1850,” which students may take in the Spring 2021 term.  Students with credit for FNST 325 may not take this course for further credit.


The course requirements of History 325 will help you achieve the educational goals of undergraduate courses in the Department of History. By the end of the course, you will be able

  • to understand “Indigenous issues” such as residential schools, treaties and land claims, and environmental justice, and how these issues affect all of us who call this continent home
  • to understand broad patterns and diversities of Indigenous and settler experiences in the US and Canada
  • to work with diverse primary and secondary sources, primarily by Indigenous authors, including the ability to read the archive “against the grain”


  • Participation 15%
  • Reading Repsonses 25%
  • Essay Assignment #1 20%
  • Essay Assignment #2 20%
  • Exam 20%



Brooks, Lisa. Our Beloved Kin: A New History of King Philip’s War. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2018.

King, Thomas. The Truth About Stories. Toronto: House of Anansi Press, 2003.

Merrell, James H., ed. The Lancaster Treaty of 1744: With Related Documents. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2008.

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.