POL 208 Aboriginal Politics in Canada

  • PLEASE NOTE: this abridged outline is an example description of the course, from past years. Instructors can change elements of the course year-to-year.

    COURSE PREREQUISITES:  There are no prerequisites for this course.

    COURSE OBJECTIVES:  Justice for Canada’s Aboriginal peoples, given the devastating impact of colonialism upon their lives, is both a moral and political imperative.  This course takes up that question of justice, by examining both how the political power of the Canadian state has been utilized through historical time to marginalize Aboriginal peoples and how political power is now being used by Aboriginal peoples and their supporters to achieve their goal of political emancipation. 

    Through class activity, guest speakers, Elders, films, and readings, students will come to understand, appreciate, and take positions themselves on the important political challenges presented by colonialism and Aboriginal policy, Aboriginal political identity and nationalism, self-government, treaties, and court decisions on Aboriginal rights and title.  In doing so, the course strives to equip students with the understanding necessary to appreciate the nature of the claims that Aboriginal people bring to their engagement with the Canadian state.  

    REQUIRED TEXTS:  King, Thomas. The Inconvenient Indian: A Curious Account of Native People in North America. Canada: Doubleday, 2012.

    All additional course reading will either be on reserve in the Capilano University Library or on the course Moodle site.


    1. RESEARCH ESSAY: Students will prepare a research paper in response to a political challenge facing Aboriginal peoples in Canada today. Topics choices are extensive and can be customized to meet student interest (worth 25% of the final grade).
    2. MIDTERM EXAM:  An essay-style format based on assigned readings and topics covered to that point in the course (worth 25% of the final grade).
    3. JOURNAL ASSIGNMENT: Each student will write a journal of three entries, one submitted early in the term and two submitted in the last week of class.  These entries will describe the student’s own developing understanding of the course subject matter over the duration of the term (3 X 5% for a total of 15% of the final grade). 
    4. FINAL EXAM:An essay-style format based upon assigned readings and topics covered in class from the mid-term exam on (worth 25% of the final grade).
    5. PARTICIPATION: (worth 10% of the final grade).

      Note: Students who receive credit for POL 308 cannot receive credit for POL 208.