Fall 2023 - INDG 232 D100

Introduction to Ethnoecology in Indigenous Studies (3)

Class Number: 4402

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Sep 6 – Dec 5, 2023: Wed, 2:30–5:20 p.m.

  • Prerequisites:

    INDG (or FNST) 101 or 201W.



Through the interdisciplinary lens of ethnoecology, this course is an exploration of ongoing, hard-earned and reciprocal relationships between people and their environment. This course considers the cultural underpinnings of perception and interaction with landscape and ecologies - as one way to appreciate issues of sustainability and diversity in a global context. Students with credit for FNST 232 may not take this course for further credit.


Ethnoecology is an interdisciplinary field that considers the complex relationships between Indigenous and localized peoples’ knowledge and beliefs (culture = ethnos) and the natural world ( = ecology). This course will provide an introductory overview of the field of ethnoecology with an emphasis on Indigenous and local peoples’ perspectives, environmental knowledge, and global issues. This course is fundamentally structured around critical theory and praxes and encourages students to explore and challenge the history and current debates in scientific research. Woven into these critiques, and at the core our inquiry of “Science”, are the enlightened epistemologies and ontologies of Indigenous scientists and philosophers developed over millennia. Sometimes these epistemologies (Western/Indigenous) are complimentary, and students explore these connections in various units. Other times, there are incompatible and even egregious tensions between the two ways of knowing and by exploring these tensions, students learn to challenge the orthodox stance on what it means to generate knowledge and wisdom. The course was designed with 80/20 reading ratio of BIPOC/settler authors and exposes students to a broad range of voices and topics from ethnobotany, conservation, biomonitoring, and entheogens to issues in Indigenous sovereignty, landback, policy, and environmental justice.


• Describe basic issues in ethnoecology/ethnobiology and historical ecology
• Learn about the scientific method with perspectives from various Indigenous writers, thinkers, and knowledge holders
• Critically evaluate the role of science in society and the media
• List and discuss the variety of ethical issues involved in scientific research and intellectual property rights
• Consider the role of social institutions and governance in resource management
• Consider the nature of cultural knowledge and knowledge production
• Learn diverse methodological approaches and basic concepts ecology and anthropology
• Critically evaluate the role of Indigenous knowledge in climate change and conservation research
• Develop online sourcing and research skills/techniques
• Develop a sense of intellectual curiosity through observation, research, and investigation
• Build a new relationship with nature and explore concepts of community


  • Participation and Class Discussions 25%
  • Discussion Lead 10%
  • Podcast Reviews 20%
  • Ethnoecology and Media Assignment 15%
  • Bibliography and Abstract for Final Assignment 5%
  • Autobiology Final Assignment 25%



Your personalized Course Material list, including digital and physical textbooks, are available through the SFU Bookstore website by simply entering your Computing ID at: shop.sfu.ca/course-materials/my-personalized-course-materials.

Registrar Notes:


SFU’s Academic Integrity website 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


Students with a faith background who may need accommodations during the semester are encouraged to assess their needs as soon as possible and review the Multifaith religious accommodations website. The page outlines ways they begin working toward an accommodation and ensure solutions can be reached in a timely fashion.