NVision launched The Path: Your Journey Through Indigenous Canada in 2018 (and updated it in 2020). The online course consists of five modules; each module is approximately 30 to 40 minutes in length and features two videos, each covering a topic. Each video is accompanied by a short quiz with approximately 10 questions (a blend of True or False and Multiple-Choice questions). The modules can be done at one’s own pace.
The Path has been developed with input from adult learning experts and curriculum developers. NVision has had First Nations, Inuit and Métis advisors and reviewers in the preparation of this course. Please note that the course has also been vetted by an Indigenous lawyer for accuracy-related to legal references. The course is also available in French. It is called Le Parcours : Votre voyage au sein du Canada autochtone.
The Path presents pre-contact societies and cultures and the defining moments that have helped to shape the history of Indigenous peoples in this country we now call Canada, particularly their relationships with European settlers, the British Crown and the Dominion of Canada. The course covers topics such as residential schools, forced Inuit relocations, 60s Scoop, disease epidemics, and the treatment of Indigenous peoples in the Canadian justice system. The course demystifies some of the legal issues regarding the Indian Act, historical and modern treaties, Aboriginal law and the Canadian court system in the context of asserting Indigenous rights. Finally, this course will provide some context to better understand the importance of cultural traditions and values of First Nations, Inuit and Métis, and ways to strengthen relationships with Indigenous peoples.
Module 1: What’s in a Name?
Topic 1: Indians, Inuit and Métis
Your journey begins with an introduction to First Nations and Inuit, the original peoples in this land. For thousands of years they have explored and settled this hemisphere; hunted, fished and farmed; created trade and political networks; and created a rich mosaic of distinct cultures. You will also learn how the Métis Nation emerged with the birth of the fur trade in this country, how these three people groups are represented by national organizations today.
Topic 2: Name Calling
This topic will help you to demystify the use of such terms as “Indian,” “Native,” “Aboriginal,” “Indigenous”, “First Nation,” “Eskimo,” “Inuit,” and “Métis”, and come to an understanding of which terms to use when identifying various groups in different contexts. You’ll also review and debunk some of the stereotypes and myths propagated in media and popular culture regarding Indigenous peoples.
Module 2: Defining Moments in History
Topic 1: History: Pre-Contact to the mid-Nineteenth Century
All cultures have their own stories of how the world was created, how humans came to walk the earth, and how their own people came to be. This topic will introduce you to several creation and origin stories of First Nations and Inuit. The lesson also explores some of the current theories regarding the migrations of paleo-Indigenous peoples to the Americas, and presents an overview of different Indigenous groups that populated Canada prior to European contact.
Topic 2: Inuit across the North
This topic will introduce pre-contact Inuit culture, the major milestones that have impacted Inuit since the arrival of Europeans, and how each unique Inuit region came to be shaped and defined through the land claim process.
Module 3: More Defining Moments in History
Topic 1: A Colonial History
This topic will address some of the defining moments that have shaped the realities faced by Indigenous peoples. These include: the colonial relationship established by the Indian Act; the tragic legacy of residential schools; Métis resistances, Métis scrip, the hardships imposed by forced Inuit relocations; the tuberculosis epidemic and Indian hospitals, the fostering out and adoption of Indigenous children during the “Sixties Scoop”; and the underlying causes and events that fueled the Oka Crisis.
Topic 2: Milestones Along the Path
Although relationships between Indigenous peoples and Canada have been marked by conflict, there is progress. This video highlights the resilience demonstrated by First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples through four decades as they seek a renewed relationship with Canada. Topics include the birth of social movements like Idle No More, the creation of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and the Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women. Finally, this section will introduce you to some successful Indigenous artists and public figures.
Module 4: It’s the Law!
Topic 1: Understanding Historical Treaties and Métis Assertion of Rights
In the previous modules, you learned about Canada’s historic relationship with First Nations, Inuit and Métis. In this topic, you will learn about the historical and legal framework that underlies Canada’s current legal and constitutional relationship with Indigenous peoples. Historic treaties helped to define that relationship. You will also learn about the various ways that the Métis Nation has and continues to assert its rights.
Topic 2: Understanding Aboriginal and Métis Rights, Title and Modern Treaties
This topic discusses the resurgence of Indigenous rights spurred by the Federal government’s “White Paper” which ironically sought to eliminate them. It distinguishes between modern treaties (comprehensive land claims) and historical treaties, and explains how the courts, International law and the Canadian government are evolving to a recognition of rights approach.
Module 5: Relationship-building with Indigenous Peoples
Topic 1: Cultural Values and Traditions
This topic discusses some of the cultural values and traditions of Canada’s Indigenous peoples, and describes how these shape Indigenous perspectives and views of contemporary Canadian society.
Topic 2: Relationship-Building
In the previous topic, you learned about the role that culture, language, tradition and spirituality play in the lives and perspectives of many Indigenous peoples. These cultural traditions, as well as the history of the relationship between Europeans and Indigenous peoples, also affect their behaviours. This section presents some suggestions on how to work and communicate with Indigenous colleagues and partners and strengthen your relationships with Indigenous peoples and outlines the importance of becoming culturally aware and pursuing truth and reconciliation.