I really enjoyed the course! So much I didn't know about the history. I also didn't have a true understanding why there is so much discourse between Indigenous people and government. Total eye opener.
Very well done! Thank you for allowing me to learn more about your history & culture. Being from Ireland and relatively new to Canada I wanted to know more about the beginnings of Canada as a country.
by Jennifer D•
To was ashamed and embarrassed by how little I was taught in school in the 1980s and how little work I had done on my own as a non-Indigenous person. I cannot express how grateful, thankful and emotional I am for this opportunity to commence my learning with respect of Indigenous Canada. I watched all the weekly videos as well as companion pieces and was delighted to have one of my questions addressed and answered during one of the discussions. I cannot express enough my gratitude to Dr. Bear and to the Faculty for creating this course. I could go on and on, but please accept my gratitude for this opportunity. The topics were fantastic jumping off points and the reading lists will provide hours of continued research. When I started my legal assistant career in 1999, I worked at a small firm that worked on the Residential School class actions against the many churches and the Canadian Government. I was fortunate to meet with several survivors and will never be able to extend the appreciation I felt towards them for speaking with me. It was a honour and a privilege. While the settlements won in these cases, in my opinion, were vastly lacking, what I appreciate about that time in my career was meeting these survivors. Thank you so much for this course. I cannot express my appreciation and gratitude enough.
by Madelaine R•
Thank you so much for this wonderful learning experience. To the instructors and student presenters, I salute you. Your expertise, your professionalism, presentation, wit.... Felicitations! I thoroughly enjoyed my learning journey. I was familiar with much of the content however, only superficially....And now to have more detailed explanations, context, and background - is excellent. I am very pleased. Contemplating and understanding all those treaties.....What a terrible legacy to still be dealing with! The Indian Act! Shameful document! And even to learn the further horror of South Africa's Apartheid Regime patterned off of this racist document! This course has been an eye-opener. The history and past certainly seem to be repeating today, now currently. If only more Canadians could learn about this colonial past, perhaps we can then begin to thrive proudly as a nation. Personally, I found the last chapters on the Arts to be the most enjoyable. Honourable mention to, and appreciation for Daniel Levy who first drew my family's attention to this course and the absolute need for us as responsible Canadian citizens to sign up and learn! And lastly, to the professors, thank you once again for this scholarly and thrilling introductory course presentation. Bravo! Well done!
by Maimu M•
Great course! Would like to learn more. Any recommendations?
Suggestions: more links to additional non-required reading. I researched Norval Morriseau on my own, you could add more. Same with regarding articles about the deaths of many youth and of missing women -- through education we can change attitudes and behaviours.
I would like to support Indigenous efforts more, I would like more information about this. I have written my MP and donated to causes, but want to do more.
NOTE: Indigenous peoples have much to teach the rest of people living in the Americas. What should be the focus of one's existence? I say it is not the hyperactive activity and destructive consumer existence (pollution) created by the western world. that many of us presently live. We need to change our ways to respecting our elders, respecting the land/environment and having a healthier relationship with ourselves through more wholesome spiritual, family and community life.
I'm sorry that the Indigenous peoples of the America's have so suffered for generations and continue to suffer (lack of clean drinking water, lack of respect, trauma through the generations from residential school atrocities in Canada). I want change for a healthier and meaningful existence.
Hope you will grow this course.
by Charles F•
I really got a lot more than expected out of this course! I learned about it by chance in an online article from a Canadian news source that cited the actor Dan Levy from Schitt's Creek having undertook the course and encouraging others to take the course. I have long had an interest in this area of study due to my own Canadian ancestry with very long historical roots dating back to the early French colonization and some known later ancestry in Maniwaki with ancestors from indigenous and non-indigenous groups who lived there in the 19th century. It has been fascinating to fill in many blanks I have about my ancestors, although at times painful. I truly appreciate this course, especially because it is so lovingly put together and presented by true representatives of indigenous Canadians. Thank you all for creating this fine resource, and please keep doing your work and developing this. I would love to take it again in the future with new information or other related courses; and definitely willing to pay again to keep these studies going. We have so much work to do to undo the damage that our ancestors have done on one side and to repair the damage done to our ancestors and our current family and turtle island / mother earth on the indigenous side. *much love and thanks*
by Nicole B•
I am a product of the public school education system of the 1970s, 80s and 90s. I grew up in Halifax, studied in Nova Scotia, Quebec, Saskatchewan and BC. I have a teaching degree. At no time, other than one course in my B.ed at University of Saskatchewan, was I exposed to Indigenous ways of understanding and knowing. I recall short, supplemental and stand alone chapters in my social studies textbooks in the 70s and 80s in Halifax, depicting the "savages" who my teachers pointed out, "did not believe in God". That was the Indigenous education of my childhood. I represent the vast majority of non-indigenous adults in this country whose education excluded Indigenous histories, experiences and perspectives. I originally registered for this course to improve my understanding and appreciation for the contributions Indigenous peoples have made to the economic development of this country because I am a business teacher. I have learned so much more than I had hoped and I have already included so much of what I have learned into my daily interactions with the high school students I teach. My students' exposure to my new knowledge base, and to my new understandings, will hopefully put them in a much better position to appreciate, "Indigenous Canada".
by Kellie Q•
Wow! What a course and what a journey. I want to thank U of A Faculty of Native Studies for creating this course online for many people to access and expand their knowledge and experience with Indigenous peoples of Canada. It is a very well-rounded, knowledgeable, and critically reflective course that takes the student on a journey of the true history of Canada through Indigenous perspectives, views, beliefs, traditions, ways of knowing and being, political entity, relationship to mother earth and the vital foundation of how this country has come to be and how interactions between cultures of people clashed at first contact which are the underpinnings of so much trauma because colonialism, assimilation, and oppression which are still prevalent within Indigenous families and communities today. The beginning of Canada started with and will always be a story of the First Nation Peoples who were inhabiting this land before settlers crossed the ocean. The legacy of Canada will forever be grounded within the Indigenous People's community.
Thank -you, again, for your expertise and immense knowledge. I will be telling people about this course in order to understand the history of Canada and to propel truth and reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples.
by Cassie N•
I was so grateful for all of the information in this course. I was born in Canada. I'm a settler of Scottish, Norwegian descent. I can't believe how little of this I was taught in grade school. I feel like we are all ripped off not learning the history of the people who inhabited the land we live on for thousands of years. The fact that this history and culture is not taught to most Indigenous children is appalling, but beyond that, I think that all children should have the opportunity to learn the history of the land they are born on. I especially enjoyed learning about the variety of Indigenous methods of child rearing, educational philosophy and legal systems. I also found the history of the fur trade very interesting. The whole course was great. The unit on treaties and Canadian Aboriginal Law was really challenging, but I feel so much more equipped to understand the nuances of current Canadian Aboriginal legal battles. There were so many pieces missing in my understanding before this course. I know there are still many pieces missing, but I feel like I have the bare minimum now. Thank-you so much to all of the Instructors, all of the contributors and the University of Alberta and Coursera for making this course available to the public.
by Christopher A•
I found this course to be insightful , interactive and relevant concerning the issues both past and present facing Indigenous communities. This presentation outlining the traditions , struggles and contributions of First Nations peoples was illustrated in a meaningful manner.
As it relates to First Nations, understanding history, culture and tradition with any community is how current and future generations connect with the past and preserve the future. As a Canadian myself, recognizing the challenges faced by First Nations peoples is an important reminder as to the rehabilitative work that needs to be progressive in eliminating the barriers and social constructs that have impacted these communities. The first step is learning about First Nations peoples and I believe this course has succeeded in its endeavor to educate myself and I trust, many others.
For anyone interested in growing as an individual and passionate about how you can make a difference in these communities, I would encourage you to take this course, immerse yourself in the culture and actively participate in these communities.
Thank you to the university instructors, facilitators and First Nations Community for making this course possible.
by Ursula W•
It is inspiring to take the colonial teaching we learned in school and flip it to get the other side of the equation. To open a window to the culture of a nation that respects and lives with the land in harmony. It also exposes the disrespectful nature of a government imposing unnatural expectations on indigenous people and pushing an agenda that completely disregards the culture and needs of the people. I think it is important to seek understanding of the indigenous plight and have empathy to their culture and the road of reconciliation. Where prejudices and racial discrimination are eliminated and replaced with kindness, knowledge, and understanding. It isn't just their struggle. For me, it hits close to home. I grew up in an environment where connection to the land and nature was a way of life. My father (settler in the late 40's) taught me to respect the land and live with it in harmony. As I watch the current changing times where the freedoms I had as a child are being compromised; freedom to have family in our homes, to travel, to own firearms, and to live without fear.... I reflect on the perils of the indigenous people stripped of their freedom and way of life. It's everyone's struggle.
by Anna-Maria S•
I am learning lots in this course and it would be even better ... if I did not have problems accessing the modules more than once. I did get the course notes for Week 3 module (video1) on Monday ... I attempted to get Module 2 (Rupertsland) and ended up also listening to module 3 ... at the same time today ... it is very aggravating that one cannot access the modules more than once ... I prefer to listen and print up the lecture and then reread it and see what I missed in my own note taking. Except for the modules being difficult to access more than once I would give the course content a full five starts. I am begining to wonder if anyone sees these comments.
With some assistance from a tech savy neighbour I was able to figure out what I was doing wrong to access the lecture notes and get them to print up ... which was why I was a little behind for several weeks. I did manage to catch up. In other comments I made I indicated that I would give this course 5 stars and that still stands. I learned a lot and it has opened up my eyes. Indigenous people need to be part of the decision making and law making processes ... it is about time our government ... doesn't matter who is in power ... smartens up.
by Silvana K•
This is an engaging, well constructed introduction to Canadian history & society as viewed by the Indigenous Peoples of the land. Their views are an imperative part of gaining a factual comprehension of our World, not only for the understanding of current Canadian matters, but also for gaining a true insight into the impacts of Colonialism & why it is so despised by almost ALL of the peoples it works against, globally. The course clearly highlights the tactics used by a small group of Europeans with very fixed & particular views dominated by the craving for short term profit, inappropriate control & the systematic decimation of anything and anyone they see as an obstacle to their goal of acquisition of material goods on both individual and mass scales. I regard this as essential learning for both the descendants of Colonials and other Indigenous Peoples who have suffered similar experiences of such management systems. This course shows us why we need to let go of the ideologies behind Colonialism and think differently about our societies, how we govern them and ourselves as individuals. Especially in the climate crisis we face everywhere on this planet, right here, right now.
by Rick K•
As a white, cis-gender, queer male born and raised in Canada I can say from first-hand experience having gone through the Ontario education system that this course should be taught to students beginning in kindergarten to replace the inaccurate, woeful misrepresentation of settler culture and its "positive" impacts on Canadian society as we know it today. This course has truly opened my eyes. It is with deep regret that I acknowledge my participation in perpetuating inaccurate historical information that was taught to me through a European, patriarchal, heteronormative lens, and to acknowledge my own ignorance in not learning the sad, hurtful truths of the origin of this country. As a friend recently said to me, "We can only do better when we know better" and with that in mind I promise to advocate strongly, loudly and fiercely on behalf of the First Nations community for their rights which have been denied far too long. I feel invigorated to do this with the knowledge learned from this incredible course. My deepest thanks and praise to all those involved in bringing this to fruition. It has been a privilege to take part. A heartfelt thanks to all of you.
by Deborah L•
I took this course because I love Inuit Art, and wanted to learn more, but what I came out with was a whole new perspective. I had to completely rethink the history that was taught to me in the 1970's and 1980's going to school in Toronto, cultural norms, and whether my "appreciation" would become "appropriation". I became more "woke"! I have now even incorporated my growing (though still in infancy) understanding in my work which is in the Red River Valley, to take a second look when I hear others talking about "family dynamics" or such regarding Aboriginals living on "The Rez" - - maybe it is family dynamics, or maybe it is just a different way of interacting/community based on historical marginalization. I have to say, I feel a lot of shame, and also regret that people continue to exert power/be greedy (not just over Indigenous peoples but over anyone they can) - - will humanity never find its kindness? This has really opened my eyes and heart and I want to learn more. I MUST COMPLIMENT the course developers, artists, those interviewed, the engaging presentations, and the presenters. I have been recommending this to everyone I know. THANK YOU.
by Nelson Q•
An absolutely fabulous introduction to Canada's original people and how horribly they have been treated as we colonized the country with little or no regard for the folks who already lived here. The fact that we still have not corrected our mistakes (i.e. inadequate housing on reserves especially up north, boil water advisories, and many other discriminatory practices around health & education) speaks to the need for every Canadian to be educated about what has and continues to be going on and to put pressure on our leaders to do something about it. There has been too much talk and not enough action and it's time for the government to articulate a clear and decisive change of heart and to put serious effort into settling claims, doing away with the Indian Act and rectifying the harm we caused with the Residential schools. The fact that First Nations, Inuit and Metis people are still able to produce beautiful art, reclaim their language and nurture their culture, in spite of all the pain we have caused, speaks to their resiliency and I personally wish there was more I could do to contribute to their struggle.
by Peta G•
This was a fabulously diverse and detailed overview of the Indigenous peoples of Canada & North America, covering creation stories, shared histories and learning through story telling, the affects of colonisation and treaties on the first nations people, through to governance, self-determination, rights, education, creativity and more. The 1-2 hr per week of study over the 12 week course was a very achievable goal to incorporate into most people's lives. Having the benefit of additional support through weekly MOOC panel discussions with key educators and specialists, arranged with the collaboration of settler & fellow leaner Daniel Levy was another wonderful aide to cementing the lessons. Highly recommended to not only all Canadians but also to those from worldwide nations that have been colonised or were colonisers. Thank you for the wonderful opportunity to participate, listen, learn and plant the seed to seek further knowledge of the histories of the Australian first nations people in my homeland and also that of the Māori people from my mother's birth country of New Zealand.
by Nancy H•
Thank you for this course. I learned a lot. I'm a little distressed, disappointed and more than sad to learn that the position of the Federal Government towards Indigenous Peoples hasn't shifted much in 150 years. When I've heard about the various protests over the years I will admit that I didn't really understand the essence of what was being protested. When I was a small child I had a goal to meet someone from every country in the world. While I haven't achieved that goal I have met people from many countries, including my own. I've always found that people are people and while the colour of our skin might be different, in essence, we are all the same. It makes me very sad that many people continue to treat one another with disrespect. That disrespect often begins in our family of origin and then ripples outward from there. I want to congratulate all the people who teach Native Studies throughout the world. It must be very hard to have these wounds re-opened on an ongoing basis in order to reach those of us who don't fully understand. Thank you for this course.
by Juliana d M•
The contents of this course were excellent, I learnt so much, stuff that I should've learnt back when I was in school. The watered down and filtered version the Canadian school curriculum has available is very disappointing. My only critique has nothing to do with the contents itself, but more with the errors in the video transcripts. Sometimes it seemed like the transcriber (which may have been a machine to be fair) misheard a word and would write down the wrong one, or there would be a chunk of a sentence missing. For me, I find it easier to learn from reading than from listening, so I would read through the transcripts first, take notes, and then watch the video for any graphs or context I may have missed. Made for some hilarious misunderstandings until I got to the point in the video where the mistake was, and then all was cleared. No harm though, the teachings still came across! :)
Might I suggest having someone go over the transcript and the video to fix those little mistakes?
But other than that, thank you UofA for the incredible work you've put into this course!
by Cathy B•
Taking this course has definitely opened my eyes to the worldview of Indigenous peoples of Canada. I really liked how the course was presented so that it was easy to follow along with the text while viewing the speaker. Many Indigenous words and terms were spoken so I could get a clearer understanding of how to pronounce them. Also very importantly, many, many issues concerning Indigenous peoples were made evident, and I could see that the battle to have their place in Canada as the first rightful citizens was very difficult. I liked hearing the names of prominent Indigenous people and how they fit into Canadian history. The variety of subjects that focused on many past and current issues and the chronological way they were presented was excellent. The three main speakers did a very creditable job of presenting, pronouncing and explaining. The art work of Leah Dorion was absolutely outstanding and the detail of each piece was pure genius. Thank you so much for putting together an incredible program which is so needed in our society today.
by Christine M•
Excellent, encompassing and eye opening course! It is a very good primer! I had previously done a minor in aboriginal studies from the University of Ottawa and graduated in 2007 but I must confess that I either forgot the information or did not understand it as well at the time than the information I learnt in this Indigenous Canada course for the University of Alberta. The reason might be because I am older and more aware of the indigenous social movements and activism from social media exposure or simply from having lived a little and worked full time instead of just being immersed in the academic world. I learnt a lot and have a much better understanding of history, land claims, the social issues brought about from colonialism assimilations practices and the racism against indigenous people in Canada. I also learnt a lot more from the resilience and strength of indigenous women and the sacred work and artwork made by artists or with a collaboration from a community. I truly appreciated the satirist video from 1491s. Great discovery! Thanks
by Gabriela B R•
Thought provoking and informative, this Indigenous Canada course is an excellent entryway into understanding how settlers of what we now call Canada can learn from the original inhabitants of this land. Thank you for putting this course together; it has helped me open my views into how Indigenous issues are framed in Canada. As an immigrant, this course made me think about my own place in Canadian society. From one side, I am thankful for all the opportunities I've gotten moving here. However, I must also acknowledge that all the benefits I enjoy have been stripped from Indigenous peoples. For immigrants moving to Canada and going through the Canadian citizenship application process, I highly urge you to take this course in addition to the citizenship booklet provided prior to the exam. Then, open your eyes to all the content made by Indigenous peoples. Pay respect to the people who were the traditional and original inhabitants of your land. Most importantly, keep on learning. The learning doesn't stop after Week 12 is done.
by Gurdit S N•
I am glad I took this course. It gives me a better understanding of the origins of the history of Canada and the the original and rightful owners of the lands ("the First Nations" - which includes all the different clans, Metis, Inuits, etc) and it enhances my love, respect, compassion and empathy for them. It saddens me to learn the way they have been treated and the trauma they have endured and are enduring. We cannot turn back the clock but we can certainly pray and support them in their quest for their rights and humanity should be first and foremost. To the whole team at the University of Alberta for Faculty of Native Studies, I thank you for an excellent job in putting together this very important significant historical studies as a curriculum for anyone who wish to learn about Canadian history and its people as it developed. All narrations, explanations, analysis and paintings illustrations in this course studies were exemplary and crystal clear. Thank you very much once again. It was worth it in all aspects! - Gurdt S.Nagi
by Sue W•
I really enjoyed this course. I appreciated that it was free (for me to take) and that it covered the Canadian context, not just the West Coast where I live now or the East Coast where I grew up. I have been trying to learn all I can about First Nations, Metis and Inuit culture and history for the last few years - and there was so much more in this course than I knew or had heard about before. Thank you Thank you for the every well rounded content and also the encouragement to keep trying. It took me over the summer to complete it - and I got poor marks on the first few quizzes, went away from it for sometimes weeks, but every time I came back it let me reset my deadline and today I completed it. I did not participate in any discussion groups - I did not notice them until the end - and that would have been good I am sure but I was really fitting it in to my work context so the time I gave it was probably all I had just covering the lessons. The humour at the end of the course in the 1491 video was a great pandemic antidote!
by Laura C•
As online courses go this one is way better than most. I like the combination of taped lectures, visual cues, guest speakers, and readings. So often online courses are about reading a bunch of material and, as a result, there's little engagement. This course connects us to the professors because we can see and hear them. I especially loved the animated sections and guest speakers.
In terms of content, I can't help but scratch my head over why almost none of this was taught in school. I couldn't help but think, shouldn't I know this already? I especially appreciate the creation story and the pre-contact materials. So often indigenous history starts with settlers and the pieces they want to tell. It's critical to remember there were thriving legal, political, spiritual, and education systems firmly in place for generations upon generations before contact. The piece that will stay with me and that I think about a lot is the concept of a communal culture and what that could mean for Canada. There's lots to think about there.
by Ken S•
I cannot begin to explain how much I learned. I was both inspired and intrigued by indigenous perspectives new to me, and I was challenged to change the misconceptions and misunderstandings I have held on to for most of my life. As a middle school teacher, I have shared some of my new understanding with my students when teaching canadian history, as well as the ongoing discussions we have had in class about the systemic racism, stereotypes, and bias still often found in our modern society. I am encouraged by the amount of work that has already been done to address the damage caused by colonization beyond the simple apology. I am commited to keep these conversations going! On a final note, I would like to say I really appreciated the positive tone of the entire course. It was not built on bitterness or resentment and was not communicated through frustration and anger. Rather, you spoke the truth in a way that is respectful and encouraging, hopeful and instructive. It opens the door to collaborative dialogue. Thank you.
by Bobbi C•
Thank you so much for the opportunity to complete this very informative and transformative course. I have learned so much and my deep wish is that I knew about all of this material earlier in my family life and career as an educator. I will be 68 years old this year and have recently retired, but I do plan to remain active in my learning in this area. The dedication and commitment to Indigenous ways of knowing of my last cohort of wise, wild and wonderful student teachers at VIU was my inspiration for 'un learning and re learning' about Indigenous Canada. I hope I can be an inspiration for my friends and relations to also experience your wonderful course materials. I am confident my ancestors and my student teachers are carrying a new mindset and new ideas for the a more authentic and respectful understanding of our ongoing work together.
Thank you very much
daughter, mother, grandmother, and educator
currently residing on the unceded territory of the Qualicum First Nations on Vancouver Island