Fall 2021 - INDG 301 D100

Issues in Applied Indigenous Studies Research (3)

Class Number: 3910

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    We 9:30 AM – 12:20 PM
    SWH 9095, Burnaby

  • Prerequisites:

    INDG (or FNST) 101 or 201W.



Involves a survey and examination of method, theory and related topics associated with contemporary Indigenous Studies research in applied contexts. Ethical conduct and protocols for working within First Nations communities are reviewed. Students with credit for FNST 301 may not take this course for further credit.


This course examines the protocols, methods, and best practices in Indigenous Studies. Assignments throughout the course will help students develop their skills in conducting research through archival and library sources, examination of material culture, the inclusion of oral narratives in the research process, as well as preparing and presenting a professional style, formal research report.

Students will be introduced to some of the ways in which Indigenous and non-Indigenous scholars are theorizing Indigenous Studies and how researchers can ground their work in the needs of Indigenous communities.  We will also examine the place of tradition and cultural protocols in our research methods.

Students will have the opportunity to work in pairs to conduct an oral history interview. We will focus on the process of this research method, from obtaining consent, drafting guiding questions, to conducting the interview. Students will then present the oral history back to their partners.

Indigenous Studies are inter- and trans-disciplinary and researchers are often required to work collaboratively within a range of disciplinary methods and perspectives. In small groups, students will prepare and present a professional style research report. Students will be encouraged to reflect on their own practise and the potential issues that can arise in achieving consensus on methods and stakeholder values.

Assigned readings and lectures will focus on ethical considerations, intellectual property rights, legislation (eg. The Indian Act, Heritage Conservation Act), community cultural resources, as well as examples of methods used in conducting  Indigenous research.

Assignments throughout the course are aimed at helping students improve their overall research skills including creating written works about Indigenous Peoples. Emphasis will be placed on applying Indigenous principles of style, recognizing biased language, terminology, and culturally appropriate attribution of knowledge.


Upon successful completion of the course, students will be able to:

  • Understand how Indigenous research methodologies differ from western academic approaches to research;
  • Critically evaluate the development, role and political function of research and the researcher's position in relation to Indigenous Studies research;
  • Understand the effect of law, policy, culture, race and power relationships on the research process;
  • Evaluate the researcher's ethical and professional responsibility in research with Indigenous communities;
  • Exhibit research skills sufficient to produce a research report that demonstrates effective use and interpretation of evidence, consultation and co-operation within a research team, and that is coherent, persuasive, and well-written.


  • Research Proposal 10%
  • Group Research Report & Presentation 30%
  • Oral History Interview 30%
  • Ethics Case Study Analysis 20%
  • Participation 10%



All assigned readings and materials will be available on Canvas either as pdf documents or by a link to the resource.  Additional readings may be assigned in class.


Younging, Gregory (2018) Elements of Indigenous Style: A Guide for Writing By and About Indigenous Peoples. Brush Education (available on-line through SFU library)

Smith, Linda T. (2021) Decolonizing Methodologies: Research and Indigenous Peoples. Third Edition.  Zed Books (or First (1999) or Second (2012) edition)

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.