In the last year, some Canadian universities have begun to make Indigenous Studies (IS) courses mandatory in order for their students to graduate. At first thought, this seems like a fantastic idea. It would be great if every Canadian with an undergraduate degree knew the history of colonization in Canada, including how colonial Canadian policies (the Indian Act, residential schools, the ’60s Scoop, the violent dispossession of Indigenous peoples from their lands via murder and starvation, etc.) impact First Nations communities, and how settler Canadians benefit from colonization. These are some of the topics that undergraduate students would analyze in a typical IS course. However, the policy to mandate these courses raises new concerns that should be addressed by any institution considering adopting a similar approach.
Opinion Social Policy Posted on February 18, 2016