Indigenous Canada course launched by University of Alberta

The online course is freely available for those interested

Indigenous Canada course launched by University of Alberta
June marks National Indigenous History Month in Canada.

The University of Alberta has launched a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) entitled Indigenous Canada. The online course aims to highlight and explore Indigenous histories as well as present-day issues in Canada. The course will focus on the Indigenous perspective, with modules including topics such as the fur trade, land claims and environmental impacts, political activism or contemporary Indigenous art.

The course is available in English for free on online learning platform Coursera. Registration is now open for the course here. The MOOC starts this week, on June 15. It includes 12 lessons and takes approx. 20 hours to complete.

The Indigenous Canada course is available to anyone, though it is a beginner’s course not designed for Native Studies majors.

National Indigenous History Month

June marks National Indigenous History Month in Canada. June was declared National Aboriginal History Month in 2009 by the Canadian government, with the name changing to National Indigenous History Month in 2017.

The month aims to honour and celebrate the history and heritage of Canada’s Indigenous communities, including First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples.

Additionally, June 21 is National Indigenous Peoples Day. Due to current COVID-19 concerns, the government encourages all participants to keep celebrations at home or online.

COVID-19 challenges

It is especially important to understand and recognize the issues facing Indigenous peoples in Canada due to the ongoing COVID-19 crisis. Indeed, NGO Human Rights Watch released a statement last week saying that though containment efforts in Canada seem to be successful, Indigenous communities are still at risk due to “systemic inequities and discrimination.”

As of June 14, Indigenous Services Canada (ISC) is aware of 246 confirmed positive cases on First Nations reserves in all provinces, this includes 22 hospitalizations and 6 deaths.

On May 29, PM Trudeau announced additional funding for health, economic and social support for Indigenous peoples and communities. This includes $285.1 million to support the ongoing public health response to COVID-19 in Indigenous communities; $270 million to supplement to On-Reserve Income Assistance Program; $44.8 million over five years to build 12 new shelters for Indigenous women and girls fleeing violence; $305 million for the Indigenous Community Support Fund and $75 million for communities and organizations working with Indigenous peoples living in urban areas and off-reserve.

"COVID-19 has further highlighted the unique challenges that already exist for Indigenous peoples and communities. We are listening to Indigenous peoples, and are working with them to ensure they have the support they need to get through this crisis." Said Trudeau.