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Ottawa, Apr 2 (Canadian-Media): An Indigenous history course 'Indigenous Canada' created by the University of Alberta launched one year ago had been considered the most popular course in Canada and has already had more than 20,000 enrollments, media reports said.
'Indigenous Canada' was jointly developed by faculty of the Native Studies program working with other academics, both Indigenous and non-Indigenous, teaches Canadian history from the Indigenous perspective and addresses pre-contact as well as contact with settlers.
The course with its free online program and its 12 modules, available through Coursera, reportedly called 'Indigenous Canada,' can reportedly be taken at a student's own pace or with a cohort of others who will learn together, includes modern teachings about present-day Indigenous movements such as Idle No More.
Idle No More. Image credit:Wikipedia
Idle No More is a grassroots movement founded in December 2012 by four women: three First Nations women and one non-Native ally and comprises the Aboriginal peoples in Canada consisting of First Nations, Métis and Inuit peoples and their non-Aboriginal supporters in Canada, and to a lesser extent, internationally. This movement was a reaction to alleged legislative abuses of Indigenous by federal government, and has included round dances in public places and blockades of rail lines.
Paul Gareau, assistant professor with the U of A's Native Studies program and the academic lead had reported an overwhelmingly positive response to the course.
"A lot of Indigenous experiences in Canada have been silenced by a normative settler vision of Canada and the history of it," said Gareau and added,
"This course focuses on telling an Indigenous experience of Canada."
Paul Gareau. Image credit: Facebook official
"What's really great about this course is that it touches Indigenous people as much as it does non-Indigenous people," said Paul Gareau.
'My eyes have been opened', Shirley Jubinville who did not know she was a Sixties Scoop survivor, reportedly said.
The Sixties Scoop reportedly refers to an estimated 20,000 Indigenous children across Canada who were taken from their families by child welfare officials from the 1960s through to the 1980s and placed with non-Indigenous families.
Many of these children had experienced not only loss of culture, language and identity, and even physical and sexual abuse.
Jubinville, Sixties Scoop survivor was also taken from her family when she was young and adopted into a white family.
Luckily for Jubinville, her adoptive parents were loving and treated her as part of the family but for most of her life she had been reportedly dealing with an identity crisis.
"I lived all my life thinking I was basically a white person because I was raised in a white family," she told CBC's Radio Active. "But every time I looked in the mirror, there is this Native person staring back at me."
Inspite of being keen to learn more about Indigenous culture, she was hesitant initially to enrol for Indigenous Canada course.
"It involves a lot of emotions and feelings that come with adoption and not knowing your culture and then all of a sudden finding out that I'm not the only one in the world who doesn't know anything about her culture," Jubinville said.
But after signing for the course, Jubinville realized there was a whole new culture of hers to explore that she didn't think she had access to originally.
"I wasn't surprised until I realized how much I missed out on," she said and added,
"What I've learned in the last six weeks has been amazing. It's a completely different world," she said. "My eyes have been opened."
Gareau said the course is created and run for people like Jubinville.
"To create that balance in presenting things from an Indigenous perspective is fantastic," he said. "It's exactly what we're trying to do in Native Studies in the University of Alberta and as Indigenous people as well."
(Reporting by Asha Bajaj)