November 20, 2015

Two Canadian universities make Indigenous Studies courses mandatory

Lauren SouthernArchive

Despite mandatory indigenous studies in high school curricula, the constant pandering on indigenous issues by politicians, and a perpetually supportive media narrative, the University of Winnipeg and Lakehead University have decided that Canadians haven't heard enough.

Next fall, students at these universities will be required to take mandatory Indigenous courses to qualify for graduation. 

This came about because of a motion submitted last winter by the UWSA and the University of Winnipeg Aboriginal Students Council. The two groups requested that their university require students to take a 3-credit indigenous studies course before graduation.

The goal here is the same as most student groups today: “Ending bigotry” and “challenging racism.” Naturally, the definition of these words is constantly shifting as activists move the goalposts. One day "racism" means Native American Halloween costumes and the next it’s disagreeing with certain opinions.

According to an article in Maclean's, concerns have been raised by both engineering and business students about the necessity of these courses. Highly politicized courses on race and justice have little relevance to their careers, and will give them less knowledge for their money, as opposed to a course directly related to their subject of study.

Indigenous vice-president of the UWSA Kevin Settee replied to their concerns, saying that it’s important for students who may be hiring First Nations employees in the future to “know that we’re not lazy, that we do want to work, that they understand that these are stereotypes, and they continue to do a lot of damage.”

That's a fair point. However, considering one of the mandatory classes to be chosen is on Inuit art, I'm not sure how the courses relate to those goals.

I do wonder though:

Will the university now have to have mandatory classes to combat stereotypes against all groups? Mandatory classes teaching us about the Canadian internment of Japanese and smashing the bad-driver stereotype? Mandatory classes on the Irish being treated as second class citizens? Mandatory women’s studies or LGBTQ studies? If one area of study is mandatory, consistency would demand that the others be too.

Based on the current atmosphere of campuses, I don’t doubt this will come to pass.

Instead of offering designated courses on individual groups, why not (and this is probably already happening) have business students be taught to hire the best person for the job regardless of race or gender? It’s certainly a route that would waste less time, be more inclusive and save them more money.

This isn’t progressive enough though, is it? Opposition to discrimination is no longer good enough for your average progressive student. They don’t want to hear about people being individuals, to be judged on their individual merits.

Just look at what happened to an Asian who argued that all groups can be racist or accepting, and dared to suggest we judge based on individual character:

Students want to focus on interest groups, not individuals. I believe that attitude will only foster more negative emotions and relations on campus.

When indigenous students (who receive subsidized post secondary education) are now forcing students who pay in full to take classes irrelevant to their degrees, classes that they may or may not be able to afford, I doubt that will foster a positive attitude towards indigenous groups.

That's why you are already seeing questions arising from trades and business students. If anything, this forceful pushing of "tolerance" and "diversity" on students will breed bitterness.

This has nothing to do with racism, or intolerance. Our society has already rejected those. Indeed, if you happen to leave the school system without a politically correct bias, you'd better get one if you want to get and keep your job. I mean really people, it is the current year. (Thanks for that gem, Trudeau.)

Instead, this has everything to do with deciding whether these are genuinely relevant courses for students, or just pandering. Because once the pandering begins, it doesn’t end.

We’re seeing campus faculty and staff caving to the ridiculous requests being put forward to universities for "safe spaces," mandatory courses or even resignations. Unless the trend is reversed, social justice warriors will be able to dictate what we have to learn, and inevitably, the direction of our society.  

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commented 2015-12-26 18:27:49 -0500
One other thing, although indigenous studies are supposed to be mandatory in Ontario high schools, the reality is that they are taught only if students sign up for them, and only if there’s a teacher available. The result is that not much is taught at all on indigenous peoples located in Canada.
commented 2015-12-26 18:20:41 -0500
I think we need to teach the basics: how First Nations define themselves, the treaties, the Indian Act, how and why the reserve system was set up, why residential schools were started and their effect. In the case of Ontario, the fact that several indigenous nations came to it from the USA, as refugees around 1795 etc.
commented 2015-12-07 03:54:28 -0500
The leftists have taken over the universities for a long time now. At this point, they are just becoming a parody of themselves.
commented 2015-12-02 12:51:41 -0500
Universities are being taken over by leftist ideologies and the time honoured attitude that they are bastions of free thought and intellectual critical discourse has gone the way of the dodo bird. When my daughter was in university it was made mandatory that every first year female had to take a Woman’s Studies course. My daughter was not happy since she was in a science program and couldn’t see why she had to pay $500 for a course that had no bearing on her program. She came home one day laughing because she had been told that if a woman walks into a room and men look at her , that’s harassment . If a woman walks into a room and men ignore her , that’s harassment . Also that all women have been abused by their fathers AND DENIAL IS THE FIRST SIGN.
Mandatory courses on native history is just more revisionist nonsense. A few years ago some Mohawks were arrested with a car load of illegal cigarettes while headed West They defended themselves saying that their ancestors used to take tobacco from the East Coast a few thousand miles west to trade with natives on the prairies. Apparently they carried this tobacco for thousands of miles to trade for furs and dried meat which I am to believe was not available where they lived.
I worked all over the Canadian north and whenever there was a project located between to native reserves , workers would be hired from both places. In camp , both groups usually stayed to themselves and it was always a concern to make sure a native foreman was not in charge of workers from the other reserve.
This little bit of information will never see the light of day in any of these mandatory fairy tale courses.
commented 2015-11-29 05:03:01 -0500
And I say again.. In the interests of historical accuracy about indigenous people across North America, make sure the course includes slavery, ritual child torture, mass extermination of rival villages, limb amputations of enemies, baby fire sacrifices, scalping, cannibalism of enemies, deliberate prairie wildfires, and launching those “magnificent” Haida cedar canoes over the bodies of slaves… Oops; almost forgot the sacrifice of slaves when placing lodge mainpoles… Do I hear “crickets chirping”?
commented 2015-11-26 17:44:18 -0500
No luck on the accuracy of aboriginal history.

All you get is some revisionist drivel, that tells you how aboriginal history society was like. Coincidentally, it resembles what modern leftists want our society to transform into. That is why you will be bombarded with things like how two spirited transexuals were considered wise shamans, or how mand and woman did everything together and had equal rights, or how their justice system could work things out consensually and never relied on punishment. Oh, and the white man ruined it all. So now we need to take tax dollars, to rebuild this society for all the leftists to live in.
commented 2015-11-26 10:40:41 -0500
I’m waiting for the part where they review the pre-Columbian tribal wars, slave trade, ritual torture and inter-tribal territorial invasion and tribute traditions. Followed up by the over 200 post colonial massacres of women and children by warring natives. Should be interesting to see all those PC Zombie heads exploding, classrooms will be a mess.
commented 2015-11-25 13:30:42 -0500
I would like to see the curriculum and go over it for historical accuracy. I also think cameras should be rolling in these classrooms, to ensure they aren’t just inciting hatred of the white man.
commented 2015-11-23 22:06:58 -0500
At this point, what more is an aboriginal course in university goin to do that is not already being done in grade school? You can not escape hearing about aboriginal history, as it is bombarded all over the place.

At the end ofthe day, this is politics and not education. It is also about creating more jobs inside the department of aboriginal studies.

I hope this backfires. I want there to be a new generation that knows about aboriginal history, and will not accept colonization as an excuse for being on welfare. And when the activists bitch about ignorance, the new generation can all say that they were force fed the education in university, and are thus not uninformed.
commented 2015-11-23 20:26:35 -0500
Chris Mallory, got a warning for you. I’ve heard of other elementary school teachers disseminating blatantly biased political propaganda before, and it usually ends badly for the teacher. Unless, of course, you’re in Ontario, or possibly Alberta. In Ontario I’m under the impression that it’s not only accepted, it’s kinda a pre-requisite for a teaching job that you get your students to help your local NDP or Liberal candidates’ campaigns. Like Ed Broadbent used to say, “Get ‘em while they’re young, before they learn to question our authority in what to think.”. I think I heard him say that, one time. It might have been Alexa, though. I’m under the impression that’s soon going to be in the job descriptions for all elementary school teachers in Alberta, also.
commented 2015-11-23 20:19:21 -0500
Mark Johnson, your assertion that because fine arts courses are both un-neccesary and mandatory that we should accept that indigenous studies should also be mandatory is flawed logic. The obvious solution isn’t to add to the mandatory and un-necessary courses, it’s to subtract from them, doncha think? And, nobody’s saying that we shouldn’t learn about indigenous studies because they don’t “like” them, we’re saying we shouldn’t be forced to take it, pretty much for the same reason that you’re pissed about having to take fine arts courses. Who says that anyone who doesn’t take these classes, or don’t want to, is “living in ignorance”? That’s pretty assuming of you. Maybe everyone should be forced to take a class in interpreting Ayn Rand novels. My opinion is that anyone who isn’t familiar with her body of work is “living in ignorance”. Is my opinion about how ignorant people are any more, or less, valid than your own? My heritage is Ukrainian. Should everyone be forced to learn every little detail about the Holodomor? It’s important to me, and more than a million other Canadians who are decendants of Ukrainians. Therefore it should be important to everyone who wants to graduate, by your logic. Unless it isn’t. Unless it’s only important, by your standard, to learn about indigenous peoples, and nobody else matters enough to force people to learn about them. Whaddya say?
commented 2015-11-23 12:18:58 -0500
I don’t know how you can say the education system is used for brainwashing. It didn’t work with the residential schools.
The fact of the matter is, most people don’t know how badly we treated the indigenous. There are middle aged people who were in residential schools. These are people that were abused, separated from their families for indoctrination. This would be torture in any other country.

Fact of the matter is, most adults over the age of 40 don’t actually understand how bad we made it for them. We wonder why they have mental health issues, yet we never question that the government of Canada helped create the issues.
As for residential schools, there is no “other side”. It was torture, plain and simple.

Just because you don’t like the indigenous for reasons that are your own, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t learn about them. Fine Arts credits are mandatory, so I don’t see why an indigenous studies course should be any different. I don’t use my western humanities or sociology courses for anything (I am an Engineer).

People need to know what happened. Living in ignorance because it fits your worldview is ridiculous.
commented 2015-11-23 09:55:03 -0500
Evelin Cooper – our education system has been used to brainwash children for over 3-decades now, basically unhindered due to the unions, keeping parents out.
commented 2015-11-23 02:20:35 -0500
Education has been about indoctrination for a long time now.

If the students are smart, they will keep their mouths shut in class, and go look for the other side of the story on their own time.
commented 2015-11-22 20:02:25 -0500
Chris Mallory: So you want to use your teaching power to propagandize to children. You can tell them what to do because you know all the answers. You’re part of the problem. I hope the U of W has more ethics than you demonstrate. Or is this how education works nowadays?
commented 2015-11-22 18:27:19 -0500
This is ridiculous. The people in that photo are ridiculous. These do gooders are so intent to eat away anything they few as the status quo. Look it like a forest of beautiful trees, but they are stopping the little trees from growing so they impede the growth of the beautiful trees. Before they know it the little trees will be the majority in the forest and the beautiful trees will be dying. Just an analogy. I’m not saying the beautiful trees are any colour, class, or diversity.
commented 2015-11-22 03:09:38 -0500
The only rights the Liberals are trying to undermine, are the population that it considers to be privileged. In typical left wing fashion, it is about taking from people that HAVE, to give to people that DON’T have. In order to do so, the left wing has to educate via mandatory classes. In the mind of the left wing, they are not trying to divide society. They are just trying to make it more equal.

Not that I find there to be much of a problem with the concept of equality. I just think that how the modern left does things is just forceful and creates more problems.

I would love to see an aboriginal student make a stink because they are being forced against their will to take a course in aboriginal studies.
commented 2015-11-21 15:50:49 -0500
Isn’t Pakistan also where the gang rape culture started too?
commented 2015-11-21 14:48:24 -0500
Dr Genius,
Were you aware that the capital of the world, for Gay Pornography, is Pakistan.
commented 2015-11-21 13:38:01 -0500
After reading this article I would never hire an Indian – for anything, ever…
Shhhh. Can you hear that?
I can faintly hear some Indian voices, they seem to be saying, "STOP HELPING US!!!!
Or are the voices saying, "Give us more money!!!!
commented 2015-11-21 10:31:27 -0500
Sean Penson, i have printed off 24 copies of your statement and will be handing them out to my grade 6 students on Monday. The chronic under funding of our first nations is tantamount to slow motion genocide.
commented 2015-11-21 09:59:54 -0500
Once again my good friend Sean is the voice of reason in a sea of bigotry. The indigenous people’s from whom we stole this land have a deeper understanding of environmental stewardship than we will ever know. Bravo Sean, you are a role model for the rest of us.
commented 2015-11-21 09:49:24 -0500
This course is meant to drive a wedge further between the white man and the natives. It gives me hope to know that people like Darcey get it, and know exactly what is going on under the Indian Act. I don’t hate anyone based on their heritage or skin colour, but this is exactly what the Liberals do want, and by making these courses mandatory, they are attempting to further divide us, by malicious indoctrination. Any self respecting person, does not want everything given to them for free, no matter what the Liberals are trying to make us believe. When you have to struggle and compete with others, there is more self satisfaction when you do survive, in spite of the odds, than when someone gives you what you need, with no expectations. The Liberals need victims, so that they can continue to undermine the rights of individuals.
commented 2015-11-21 05:32:02 -0500
And in the interests of teaching “Indigenous History” truthfully, I am sure we will include discussion of slavery, baby fire sacrifice, village revenge extermination, scalping, cannibalism, deliberate prairie wildfires, torture, and ritual slave sacrifice to bless Haida canoe launchings and lodge house main post placings… I’m sure…
commented 2015-11-21 04:06:48 -0500
I hope all Canadians get to read what Darcey posted. Now that will shut up all the social justice warriors.
commented 2015-11-21 03:01:22 -0500
Sean Penn(son) the Indian act needs to be abolished completely not amended and Canadians don’t need to better fund First Nations , Canadians taxpayers have every right to insist that tribal chiefs and council members who live a life of luxury while " their people " suffer in poverty be held accountable.
As for the suffering of Indigenous woman and children most of the tragedies happen because of liberal policies that separate mother from child and restricts contact between them and laws that favor the rights and civil liberties of violent criminals and predators ( the Boozing Barber and Robert Pickton being prime examples ) over the victims.
Finally , everyone suffers hardships ( I grew up in foster care ) no one person or any group of people are the exception, you have to take responsibility for yourself and work hard for a better life.
To rely so heavily on the government or political party like the liberals for personal needs and comforts is not only shameful, it’s dehumanizing.
commented 2015-11-21 02:50:56 -0500
Biggest imperialistic tone I can think of is having a central government dole out money and exercise control based on race. But that kind of pre-existed Harper’s term in office, didn’t it? So I’m guessing since Harper can’t be blamed for that you wouldn’t count it as something to be repealed, eh Sean?
commented 2015-11-21 01:49:23 -0500
We need to do something about the Indian Act, and amend it to everyone’s liking. Next, we have to better fund to each and every First Nations Community out there. We must also repeal any imperialistic tone adopted by the previous Harper government, including imposing so-called acountability measures. A federal Royal Commission on Missing Indigenous Women would also be welcome. The Kelowna Accord should be implemented, and we must negotiate with the provinces on a nation to nation basis to help their plight.
commented 2015-11-21 01:26:41 -0500
Any course which describes itself as a “study” is going to be a subjective interpretation of an event or given series of events, based on the instructor’s biases in choosing what he or she deems essential to “study”. Another, less sexy, name would be indoctrination.
commented 2015-11-21 01:24:55 -0500
I am not going to blame the government for the state of the aboriginals. Because if it really is the fault of the government, how come there are aboriginals out there that have JOBS? I have met aboriginals that talk badly about unemployed aboriginals making them look bad. I even worked with an aboriginal guy who was sexually abused in the residential school, and you know what? He had a JOB.

I don’t know what the solution to fix everything is. But I do know that what we have right now makes it too easy for aboriginals to have an excuse, and that this mandatory class at university is not going to change anything. I am also totally against how the aboriginals get to have their own agency for dealing with kids that are in the placement of the government, as it only promotes more racism. I am tired of people making it look like you have to be aboriginal to be qualified to work with aboriginals. Yet, it is the aboriginals that get affirmative action in school, and in some cases, can get into a program with a lower GPA.

It seems like not a day goes by when I do not hear the drums and chanting on the local news. It is always something to do with the residential schools, the sixties scoop, orthe missing and dead aboriginal women. I wish the media and society could focus their efforts more constructively, such as helping the welfare aboriginals get jobs.