Course Exam—Anthropology 362

First Peoples of Canada

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ANTH 362 is three-credit senior level anthropology course in the field of Social Sciences that “provides an introduction to the diversity of cultures in Canadian First Peoples, including those people who identify as First Nations, Inuit, and Metis.” The course is designed for students who are interested in learning more about the diverse Aboriginal culture and reveals and assists with dispelling the mainstream stereotypes and overgeneralizations of the First Peoples of Canada.  Upon taking the course, students will gain different perspectives about Canada’s Aboriginal culture.  ANTH 362 does have a pre-requisite and is also available for challenge.  It is recommended to have taken one of the following courses (ANTH 275, HIST 224, HIST 225, INST 203 or INST 205) before students enroll in this course.

Who and Why You Should Take This Course

For this course, we had the opportunity to interview two students who recently took the course, Guylaine Hau and Stephanie Collins, who both gave their valuable feedback for the course.

Guylaine Hau is a mature student who enjoys lifelong learning.  She is currently taking courses at Athabasca University as it gives her the flexibility she needs to juggle her family life and her career as a Labour Relations Officer with the Federal Government.

When we asked Guylaine if she recommended this course, and if so, who she would recommend it to, she stated, “I would highly recommend considering taking ANTH 362, First Peoples of Canada, to any student who has a keen interest in learning more about Aboriginal cultures.  Human resources professionals, professionals whose tasks involve interacting with various peoples, or professionals who are taking courses to upgrade their existing skills may all benefit greatly from taking ANTH 362.  This course can provide a different perspective regarding Canada’s First Peoples.”

We also asked why she took this course and she explained, “I was motivated to take the course for two reasons: the first one was to sharpen my professional skills as a Human Resources practitioner.  The second reason is simply because the subject matter is of great interest to me personally.  I believe that this course has strengthened my awareness of the dignity of Aboriginal cultures and of the challenges that members of these cultures still face.  I believe that ANTH 362 was time well spent because much of my job involves making recommendations to managers regarding current or future employees.  I believe that the solutions I may bring to regarding members of Aboriginal descent will be more sound as a result of having taken First Peoples of Canada.  From a purely personal standpoint, I really enjoyed taking this course.  I highly recommend taking ANTH 362, First Peoples of Canada, to any student who is interested in learning more about Aboriginal cultures.”

Stephanie Collins who is currently a full-time fourth year student in the Bachelor of Arts program, majoring in Anthropology here at AU.  She is a mother to two and in her spare time she enjoys reading and hiking in the mountains.

When we asked Stephanie Collins if she recommended this course, and if so, who she would recommend it to, she mentioned that she would recommend this course to everyone.  Stephanie stated “There is important historical information to be learned about when it comes to the Indigenous Peoples of Canada.  This course provides not only information about many of the different peoples, but also explains the issues they may face.  This is helpful in teaching about different worldviews and can help provide a foundation of understanding and respect for others’ way of life.  The more we learn about the diversity in Canada, and the world, the more I hope that tolerance and respect begin to emerge more.  This course showed that there are many different cultures in our country and it also showed that injustice and atrocities that have been committed against Indigenous Peoples in Canada.  When this information is taught, I believe that that education helps to ensure that the horrors of the past are hopefully not repeated.”

Course, Assignments, Midterm and Final Exam Details

The course consists of ten units with the first eight units focusing on one specific culture area.  The ten units include an introduction, followed by two case studies all in the textbook Native Peoples: The Canadian Experience.  Unit nine deals with current perspectives and unit ten covers truth and reconciliation.  Along with the main textbook, each unit also includes videos and additional ethnographic material.

The course itself consists of study journals that are due at the end of each unit and worth a total of 10%.  Each of the journal entry requires students to answer a few specific questions provided.  Students are encouraged to share and exchange information for each unit through the online Study Journal Discussion Forum on Moodle.  Guylaine Hau recommends that “it is best to submit the journal entries upon completion or each unit, as this allows students to demonstrate that they have understood the contents and associated concepts before proceeding to the next unit.  It also allows the professor to provide timely feedback and advice throughout the course.”

Event observation is an assignment that requires students to participate and observe an event related to Indigenous culture and write about it.  It is worth 15% of the final grade.  Guylaine also mentions, “Although students are expected to submit their event observation report after Unit six, it is highly recommended that, early on in the course, they seek their professor ‘s approval regarding the nature of the event they are contemplating attending.  Attendance at events does not need to be complicated.  Students who may experience difficulties in selecting an event are strongly advised to discuss their concerns with their professor soonest.  Professors are very helpful at making recommendations.  The same applies to the potential research term-paper’s topic (which is worth 25%).  Students are asked to provide their initial thoughts about the topic they wish to research as part of their journal submission for unit five.  They are also asked to report on their progress, as part of their journal submission for unit nine.  This allows the professor to give some feedback and to ensure that students are on the right track.  It is highly recommended that students submit the Research Term Paper at the conclusion of unit ten as completing the assignment requires demonstrating a good understanding of the different concepts that have been present throughout the course.”

The course does contain a midterm and final exam that are each worth 25% and must be taken online with an AU-approved exam invigilator.  The midterm covers the four units of the course and consists of short answer and essay questions.  When answering the questions, students are encouraged to use the information and examples from the course readings and films.  The final exam is not cumulative and only covers the last five units of the course and is similar format as the midterm.

How to Be Successful in the Course

Tips from the Course Coordinator

Dr.  Janelle Marie Baker is the Course Coordinator and Tutor for ANTH 362 (Katie Strand is the other Course Tutors for ANTH 362).  Dr.  Baker is an environmental anthropologist and ethnobiologist who collaborates with First Nations communities in Alberta to monitor safety and security pf bush (wild) foods.  Dr.  Baker has mixed settler and Metis ancestry on her mother’s side.

We asked Dr.  Baker to share with students some advice for this course and she responded “I wrote this course with all students in mind, and by that I mean that I wanted the content to be accessible and welcoming to students from all backgrounds, whether Indigenous, settler, recent immigrant, etc.  I hope I have accomplished this and welcome feedback on this topic.  My advice to students for this course is that content about colonization is shocking and depressing, so remember to also take note of the positive content too and think about doing your observation assignments on events and Indigenous made films that celebrate resilience.”

Student Tips

When we spoke with AU student and Labour Relations Officer for the Federal Government, Guylaine Hau, for tips for the course, she stated, “As with most distance courses, exercising sound time management skills is of the essence to completing ANTH 362.  I encourage students to observe the study schedule, as there is a fair amount of material to cover in this course.  Students should also pay close attention to developing the study journal questions, as doing that will prove to be quite useful in grasping the different concepts being presented.  Last, but not least, I encourage students to plan for their research term-paper early in the course.”

When asked how Guylaine’s experience with the tutor was, she mentioned, “I found out that the Course Coordinator and my Course Tutor were one and the same.  My Tutor was very responsive to my queries, often providing answers to my e-mails on the same day.  The marking was very quick.  My assignments would be returned marked within a week, and the feedback I received was very helpful.  Whenever I encountered a problem, my tutor did not hesitate to provide assistance.  The advice I received was sound.  I could tell that my tutor really cares about teaching and students.  This is by far the best interaction I have had with a course tutor.”

When we spoke with fourth year Bachelor of Arts student, Stephanie Collins and asked her for tips for the course, she suggested “My tip for the class would to not be vague in answering the study journal questions.  Try to use specific examples from the course materials.  Having specific examples will also help you in exams.” We also asked Stephanie what she thought about communication with the Course Coordinator, and she mentioned she communicated with the Course Coordinator, Dr.  Janelle Baker and stated that her “communication with the course tutor that I had, Dr.  Janelle Baker, was wonderful.  She was easily reached, was very helpful with feedback, and encouraged me to come up with an idea for the research paper that I was actually interested in.”


If you have any further questions regarding the course, please do not hesitate to contact the Course Coordinator – Dr.  Baker at

We want to thank students Guylaine Hau and Stephanie Collins for their contributions, and also thank Dr. Baker for her feedback!

Happy learning!