Fall 2021 - INDG 462 D100

Indigenous Oral Testimony: Theory, Practice, Purpose, Community (4)

Class Number: 3909

Delivery Method: Remote


  • Course Times + Location:

    Fr 8:30 AM – 12:20 PM

  • Instructor:

    annie ross
    Office Hours: f 2:30 - 3:30
  • Prerequisites:

    60 units including INDG (or FNST) 101 or INDG (or FNST) 201W and permission of the instructor.



Examines protocol, theory, responsibility, issues of domain (including inherent rights) involving traditional oral testimony, storytelling, oral narrative in an Aboriginal/Nation-centric canon. Compares Aboriginal canon 'oral record' to Aboriginal individual first-person accounts. Students with credit for FNST 462 may not take this course for further credit.


Testimonio/Indigenous Oral Testimony: Theory, Practice, Purpose, Community, Justice (a global and hemispheric view)

Testimonio/Indigenous Oral Testimony
encompasses all of a specific Nations’ reality (methods, theories, philosophies, practice), and is the on-going and ancient way of indigenous education, for individuals, communities, and Nations.  Testimony/Testimonio is the means for continuous spiritual, social, political, and cultural practices.  

Testimonio/Indigenous Oral Testimony is evidence in the court of law, is the survival strategy for peoples severely marginalized by war, massive resource exploitation, missionization, and genocide. It is a pathway to Justice.



Students will:
* place themselves within the global paradigm of Truth and Reconciliation Commissions from several countries such as Guatemala, South Africa, and Canada;
* contemplate what we meant by 'genocide';
* discuss violence and lawlessness at the international, national, state and local level;
* consider what is meant by an Indigenous sense of responsibilities (rights);
* learn Indigenous Nation-specific protocols for oral testimony and value of the personal experience story;
* consider Indigenous Nation-centric concepts of relationship, responsibilities, and an Indigenous bioregionalism as defined by community and Land

* understand Indigenous Nation-centric traditional and contemporary laws, rights, priveledges rooted in Home Land Place;
* as a student/researcher/community member, respond appropriately to the above;
* practice group discussion in a clear and succinct manner;
* welcome, support, and discuss difficult topics factually, within a diverse set of various differing points-of-view;
* consider Nation-centric concepts of the researchers' responsibility to Indigenous community;
* review diverse methods and oral testimony products from and within Indigenous communities;
* interface with SFU ORE to learn in-house oral history protocols;

* consider Indigenous Nation-centric concepts of relationship, responsibilities, and an Indigenous bioregionalism as defined by community and Land;
* interview others and record interviews (depending upon pandemic rules); and
* other outcomes as they evolve through community coursework.


  • weekly discussions: 2 points each week for ten weeks of the semester = 20 points 20%
  • weekly participation: new ideas and supplemental material for each weekly work 20%
  • final presentation: final compiliation of all work 10%
  • final project in Testimonio 20%
  • final compilation of all class notes and other materials 20%
  • midterm presentation of course work to date; review, suggestions as we move forward 10%


* Topics for Fall 2021:

  1. Roots of Testimonio
  2. Forests, Old Growth
  3. Sacred Wild Salmon
  4. TRCs around the world
  5. Indigenous Land Defences, state violence
  6. ‘genocide by typewriter’, policies, and other bureaucracies
  7. Red List, Blue List
  8. MMIWG

* Topics may change based upon student interest, evolving events; via group consensus

in-class work is:
* physical presence for the duration of the class
* verbal participation
* intelligent commentary and analysis
* contributions to others in the class in sharing PDF samples
* other ways in which we create our community together.


1. come to class on time; be prepared with materials; project advancement/completion; completed readings; completed notes;
2. Participation, ability to discuss all readings and bring in other relevant materials; intelligent engagement with the group.




  • large binder for semester compilations
  • weekly notebook for taking notes, writing, other expressions (drawings)
  • pens, highlighter
  • access to a recording device of some type


Readings: there are  approximately three readings per week, divided by the class.

  • each student will read one file per week in a small group.
  • small groups each share findings to class.
  • professor trains students in reading, discussion, and presentation skills, growing our skills sequentially.
List TBA (please see topics above)

*available via the SFU Library, online, and on canvas as PDF files or web links.

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.