Course offerings

In cases where this website differs from the Academic calendar, the calendar shall be considered the final source.

Required courses

IN 601: Foundations of Indigenous Nationhood (1.5 units)

This is a required foundational course for all incoming IN students, offered every Fall. It offers a survey of the major historical and contemporary themes and issues in Indigenous governance, politics and law. The course enables cross-disciplinary engagement in such areas as politics of recognition and refusal, revitalization and resurgence, nationhood and treaty-making, Indigenous critical theory, and Indigenous legal and political traditions.

IN 697: Capstone Experience (1.5 units)

This capstone course is meant to provide an integration and synthesis of concepts, principles and practices discussed throughout the program. Students will write an integrative examination of IN (see suggested reading list and exam instructions), demonstrating their knowledge of the field of Indigenous Nationhood.

Instead of an examination, students can choose to participate in a community internship, co-op or other community-based work/service-integrated learning opportunity. In this case, they must be able to demonstrate their knowledge of the field of Indigenous Nationhood through the completion of an academic portfolio, developed in conversation with and approved by the IN Program Committee.

Elective courses

You must choose at least one 1.5 unit course from each of the following: IGOV, Law, and Political Science. The electives must be chosen from the approved list of courses below (if you have taken any of these courses previously, please see the IN Program Director). The electives may not be offered every year so be sure to check in advance.

IGOV 540 Indigenous Resurgence (1.5 units)

This course centres on practices of Indigenous resurgence from theoretical underpinnings to strategic organizing to on-the-ground action. It will lead students toward a deeper understanding of Indigenous experiences and knowledges related to liberatory and decolonizing strategies in six key resurgence projects through engagement with readings, discussions, guest speakers and critical personal reflection illuminating key aspects of thought and action from a number of traditions and movements.

IGOV 550 Indigenous Peoples and Self-Determination (1.5 units)

Indigenous peoples in Canada and around the world assert self-determination as being crucial for community survival and regeneration in all facets of life, including (but not limited to) governance, hunting and fishing, honoring homeland/water relationships, revitalizing languages, engaging in ceremonial life, remembering sacred living histories, and strengthening families/clans. This course examines prevalent theories and strategies for pursuing Indigenous self-determination from both inside and outside the state-centric global capitalist system and reflects on the realization of these goals. How are Indigenous peoples rearticulating powers of self-determination through their everyday actions of resistance and regeneration? How are processes of self-determination, decolonization and resurgence intertwined? And how are Canada and other countries responding to Indigenous mobilization for freedom and self-determination?

LAW 340 Indigenous Lands, Rights and Governments (1.5 units)

This course examines the major legal issues concerning Indigenous peoples (Indian, Inuit and Metis) in Canada. It will explore the development of Canadian case law relative to these groups and its simultaneous preservation and dispossession of Indigenous people’s rights. It will provide an overview of aboriginal title, treaties, the distribution of legislative authority with respect to Aboriginal peoples, fiduciary law, the treatment of Aboriginal women in Canadian law, Aboriginal child welfare and criminal justice issues. Comparisons will be drawn from other countries dealing with Indigenous Rights. In exploring these issues the course will also examine aspects of legal pluralism, and assess a variety of normative and political justifications for aboriginal rights.

LAW 368 Indigenous Feminist Legal Theory (1.5 units)

This seminar course takes an interdisciplinary and intersectional approach to selected legal issues concerning indigenous women in Canada and elsewhere. Students will critically examine a range of legal and political issues (i.e., indigenous feminisms, indigenous feminist legal theories, citizenship, nationhood and political collectivities, governance, aboriginal rights and title, Charter rights and freedoms, human rights, Indian Act, indigenous legal traditions, and criminal justice). This is not a course about developing solutions to the political, economic and social challenges facing indigenous women and their families in contemporary Canadian and indigenous societies. Rather, in this course students will be invited to engage in creative critical thinking, and will examine case studies in a way that examines the continuum between practice and theory. Students will explore indigenous feminist perspectives and employ a standpoint analysis to examine and discuss indigenous women’s various experiences and perspectives; develop an overall analysis of the political, economic, legal, and social challenges faced by indigenous women; work toward a rigorous development and articulation of indigenous feminist legal theories, and; present weekly questions for discussion.

LAW 395 Comparative Indigenous Rights (1.5. units)

This course surveys the development of law relating to Indigenous peoples.  It examines the significance of Indigenous peoples' laws for development of settler society’s Indian Law and Aboriginal Rights law; and comparative analysis of constitutional, statutory and jurisprudential rules of non-Indigenous society. The course also provides the context for understanding doctrines and theories governing relationships between Indigenous and non-Indigenous states, the history of Indigenous-non-Indigenous relations, and the limits of state authority in Indigenous territories.

LAW 397: Indigenous Legal Theories (1.5 units)

This course focuses on developing theoretical legal perspectives about Indigenous law, its engagement, operation, and practice. It explores and challenges a range of theoretical approaches including Indigenous interpretive theories, Indigenous critical theories, and Indigenous feminist legal theories, broad theoretical constructs and theorization of specific themes within selected legal orders (e.g., property, lands and resources, justice, or gender). We will also engage western legal and political theories, Indigenous law research methodologies and substantive law, and Indigenous political and legal scholarship.

POLI 463/533: US and Canadian Comparative Indigenous Law and Policy (1.5 units)

Indigenous nations maintain a unique legal and political relationship with the United States and Canada. Indigenous peoples, as the original inhabitants, engaged in diplomatic accords and treaties with newcomers that outlined their sovereign status and national character. In addition, the United States and Canada have further recognized and entrenched Indigenous rights within their state constitutions, statutes, executive orders, and judicial decisions. Yet, the United States and Canada continue to move away from the early principles outlined in their diplomatic relations with First Nations, instead placing narrow definitions and numerous constraints on Indigenous nations’ abilities to exercise their inherent sovereignty. This course will compare and contrast US and Canadian Indigenous law and policy, paying particular attention to the constitution, court cases, and legal doctrines.

POLI 533/633/Law 343: Special Topics in Indigenous Politics (1.5 units)

This course introduces students to the field of Indigenous politics. Drawing on recent publications, students will be exposed to the seminal concerns taken up within the field of Indigenous Politics. The scholarly field of Indigenous politics emerged out of and has been primarily engaged in the quandaries and contestations surrounding sovereignty, nationhood and indigeneity. With the emergence of Indigenous Studies (Native Studies) as an autonomous discipline, scholars have pushed back and challenged western disciplinary inquiries and responded to Indigenous community concerns. Scholars have increasingly turned their attention to the political, social and economic concerns facing Indigenous communities; detailed the impacts of colonialism and state formation through an examination of Indigenous-state relations; and critiqued western disciplinary inquiries that objectify Indigenous nations and eclipse Indigenous epistemologies. This course, focusing on Indigenous politics in Canada, draws out the historiography of the field through an examination of central themes present in the scholarship: politics of recognition and refusal, revitalization and resurgence, nationhood and treaty-making, Indigenous critical theory, and Indigenous legal traditions.