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January 23, 2022
February 16, 2017

Learn about Indigenous Canada

A new online course from the U of A

Written by Jeff Samsonow

Not enough of us know about our Indigenous history. That applies to people in Edmonton as much as it does Alberta or other parts of Canada. A new online course from the University of Alberta offers a free opportunity to learn more about this important part of local history and heritage.

Indigenous Canada is a massive open online course (MOOC) that begins running this spring. It’s operated through Coursera, which is a major player in these types of online courses, from universities and schools around the world. This course will be taught by professors from the U of A’s Faculty of Native Studies.

Here’s the description of the program:

Indigenous Canada is a 12-lesson Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) that explores Indigenous histories and contemporary issues in Canada. From an Indigenous perspective, this course explores key issues facing Indigenous peoples today from a historical and critical perspective highlighting national and local Indigenous-settler relations. Topics for the 12 lessons include the fur trade and other exchange relationships, land claims and environmental impacts, legal systems and rights, political conflicts and alliances, Indigenous political activism, and contemporary Indigenous life, art and its expressions.

Canada is on a path to reconciliation with our Indigenous peoples, after centuries of colonization persecution, assimilation and many types of pain and suffering that’s been perpetrated against our first nations coast to coast to coast. In terms of current news and conversation, you should be seeing more about the follow-up to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls, the Sixties Scoop, land rights, and racism, among other issues.

So, there is no better time to learn some of the history behind these current topics, from pre-contact with white settlers to modern issues. We need to learn why topics in these areas are important to everyone, and what so many of us who are non-Indigenous can do to reconcile and build the rights kind of bridges to these many and varied communities.

You now more regularly hear that we in Edmonton are “on Treaty 6 land“. This course is an easy way to start learning what that really means.

If you’re interested in taking the Indigenous Canada course please let us know. We’d love to hear from people who are learning more about this history, possibly for the first time.

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