Indigenous Canada: Looking Forward/Looking Back

A critical exploration of Indigenous histories and contemporary issues in Canada

by Faculty of Native Studies, University of Alberta

A primer on Indigenous culture, history and contemporary social issues in Canada, used as the print course materials from the incredibly popular massive open online course offered by the Faculty of Native Studies, University of Alberta.

Breaking with the dated, colonial pedagogy and perspectives embedded in most Canadian history books, this book engages with Indigenous perspectives and worldviews to present an Indigenous account of the complex relationship Indigenous peoples have with Canada — now and in the past.

Readers will re-learn Canadian history as contemporary and past relationships between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples in Canada are examined. Chapters on the history of the fur trade, political systems and legal issues, activism and the environment help Canadians gain a better understanding of their past and present.

This book is made up of the print course materials accompanying the popular Indigenous Canada course created and made available in 2015 by the Faculty of Native Studies at the University of Alberta. The course was developed by incorporating the input of authors, artists, elders and knowledge-keepers across Canada, and presents an account of events up to 2015.

The text is accompanied by works of art by First Nations artists Leah Dorion and Brenda Morency, along with many historical photos drawn from archives across Canada.

This course material is also available for free download from the Faculty of Native Studies course website, and the course itself is available in the form of video lectures at no cost online. Course enrolment is continuing, and exceeds 450,000.

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