To effect a three-tiered approach, consisting of local, national and global perspectives, to the study of Aboriginal societies.
To produce graduates who are capable of effectively researching in and for Aboriginal communities, by employing academically sound methodologies that take into account the cultural mores of the communities and individuals concerned, and contributes constructively to Aboriginal intellectual, cultural, political, or economic capital.
The Native Studies curriculum provides a thorough academic examination of aspects of Aboriginal life and histories using a three-tiered paradigm of separate yet interrelated social phenomena at the local, national and global levels. Students will be exposed to a variety of perspectives, worldviews, sources and intellectual traditions while they seek to link the processes of the past with contemporary issues. Successful graduates will have the skills and knowledge that will enable them to contribute constructively to the intellectual, cultural, political, or economical capital of Aboriginal societies. Students pursuing a Native Studies major follow Program Type B, Social Sciences.
The course program consists of three distinct and interrelated themes: a) Society courses, these courses relate directly to the first objective and collectively they offer the stated three-tired approach to examining Aboriginal society and communities as well as covering a range of key issues and situations, b) Native Studies research, these courses focus on research as it pertains to Aboriginal society and communities and are directed at achieving objective two, and c) Native Studies theory, these courses are those that encompass macro-ideas of change within Aboriginal societies and are illustrated in such things as identity, social institutions, tradition, contemporary cultures and economies. They provide a thematic approach that can be applied equally to either historical or contemporary Aboriginal societies. A unique feature of the Native Studies program is the requirement for students to participate in cultural practicum. Personal experience with local cultures is considered an essential ingredient of Native Studies as graduates of the program need to fully appreciate the uniqueness of local Aboriginal communities, as well as being able to operate comfortably in an Aboriginal environment for research and employment purposes.