Instructor: Professor Michel Hogue

Course Description:

This course examines the historical experiences of Indigenous peoples and their encounters with colonialism.  It examines key sites of interactions between Indigenous peoples—First Nations, Metis, and Inuit—and their would-be colonizers in nineteenth- and twentieth-century Canada. While we survey the contours of Indigenous lives and histories during this time period and the complex histories that entangled Indigenous and non-Indigenous people, we will pause to consider the utility of colonialism as an analytical framework for understanding these interactions. What do we mean when we talk about “colonialism”? What different forms has it taken? How have Indigenous peoples shaped, accommodated, or resisted such measures? How have the processes of colonization affected both colonizer and colonized? What are the legacies of these colonial interactions? What might de-colonization look like?

Our investigations will focus in large part on the primary sources that provide glimpses into aspects of this colonial past and its legacies.  While historians typically identify such primary sources as the “building blocks” of historical interpretations, many of the sources that have been used to write the histories of Indigenous peoples were themselves the product of colonial needs to survey and control Indigenous peoples. While such collections necessarily privilege the perspectives and desires of colonizers and the very conditions of colonization, such records have also proven vital to Indigenous efforts to seek legal redress before courts and other tribunals, as well as to the efforts to revitalize cultural practices in the present. Grappling with the double-edged nature of historical sources about Indigenous peoples will necessarily mean casting a critical eye on the practice of history and its implication in the colonial pasts that historians have sought to document.

Course Format:

The course will combine formal lectures with in-class discussions based on the assigned readings or other supplementary materials.


The grades for this course will be (tentatively) assessed as follows:

  • Participation – 20%
  • Written assignments – 50%
  • Final Exam (Take-Home) – 30%


In the past, we’ve used the following readings:

  • King, Thomas.  The Inconvenient Indian: A Curious Account of Native People in North America.  Toronto: Doubleday Canada, 2012.
  • Smith, Keith, ed. Strange Visitors: Documents in Indigenous-Settler Relations. Toronto: University of   Toronto Press, 2014.

Questions? Please contact me at