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Indigenous Studies

Indigenous students dancing in the Performance Space against a black background
Chanie Wenjack School for Indigenous Studies

Indigenous Studies

Cultural Expressions & Performance

Indigenous students performing the hoop dance on the podium of the Bata libraryLearn how the Indigenous Performance Arts (dance, literature, media, music & theatre) contribute significantly to the understanding and communications between and with Indigenous Peoples, demonstrating the significance of oral histories and the intergenerational transmission of knowledge.

Canada Research Chair in Aboriginal Arts and Literature, Marrie Mumford, is the Director of the Indigenous Performance Program, Indigenous Performance Initiatives and Nozhem: First Peoples Performance Space. The Indigenous Performance Arts contribute significantly to the understanding and communications between and with Indigenous Peoples, demonstrating the relationship between the Oral History method and inter-generational transmission of knowledge. Attend one of the many performances to experience the ‘spirit’ of performance and the relationship between the audience and the performers in the creation of sacred space.

Become an actor, a stage manager, lighting and sound specialist or choreographer under the direction of the capable and experienced members of the faculty delivering the Indigenous Performance Program of study. Or just improve your self-confidence, your oration skills, learn to dance and sing and let go of life’s struggles as you experience why art is an important component of life and become uplifted by it.

Nozhem: First Peoples Performance Space, designed in conjunction with the First Peoples House of Learning, by Six Nations architect, Brian Porter, of Two Row Architects. The building, Enweying, (The Way We Speak Together), incorporates The Ernest and Florence Benedict Gathering Space, a Traditional area which includes a tipi, sweat lodge and traditional medicine garden, the Teaching Rocks, an outdoor classroom, the First Peoples lecture hall, The Jake Thomas seminar room, faculty and graduate student offices, First Peoples House of Learning offices and Indigenous Student Services, Peter Gzowski College and an art gallery.

  • INDG 2010H: Indigenous Contemporary Dance Indigenous contemporary dance is rich in heritage and multi-faceted in form, including social and ancient dances based in ceremony, contemporary derivations, and traditional choreography staged for theatrical performance. This course offers a study of the dance practice, history, and cultural context of the intertribal dance of the contemporary powwow. Open to first-year students. Excludes 3952H: Special Topic: Indigenous Contemporary Dance.
  • INDG 2020H: Indigenous Contemporary Music Provides an opportunity for students to obtain foundational performance knowledge of Indigenous drumming and song practice, along with the development of Indigenous contemporary music and its evolution from traditional music. Students explore song structure, instrumentation, and performance formats in an Indigenous environment of traditional and contemporary practitioners. Open to first-year students. Excludes 3957H: Special Topic: Indigenous Contemporary Music.
  • INDG 2110Y: Introduction to Indigenous Theatre Performance cultures are expressed in the theory and practice of Indigenous artists. Traditional and contemporary oratory, storytelling, language, movement and music, individual and group expression—physical, emotional, vocal, and intellectual experiences—are enhanced through sensory exercises, improvisation, and text. Professionals translate cultural concepts to Indigenous and European methodologies. Open to first-year students.
  • INDG-ENGL 2480Y: Indigenous Literature and Creative Writing Examines examples of both traditional and contemporary Indigenous narratives, the critical discourse around Indigenous narratives, and creative writing by students with a concentration on poetry and prose. Students are asked to read their creative work in class. Pre- or co-requisite: INDG 1001H (or 1000Y) or 1.0 ENGL credit.
  • INDG-CAST-WMST 2485H: Indigenous Women’s Creative Non-Fiction (see Canadian Studies)
  • INDG 3010H: Indigenous Storytelling: Oral, Written, and Performative Explores the interlinking facets of storytelling as it is found in oral traditions in both Indigenous and non-Indigenous societies, as expressed creatively in written forms, and as a foundation for “storytelling” performance in mask and movement. Culminates in a masked storytelling performance. Prerequisite: INDG 2010H or 2020H or 2110Y or permission of instructor. Excludes INDG 3954H: Special Topic: Indigenous Masked Dance and Storytelling.
  • INDG 3030H: Indigenous Dance Theatre Offers the opportunity to create new or reconstructed dance theatre works, drawing creatively from the movement vocabulary of Indigenous dance practice. Dramatic themes are drawn from traditional, historic, and personal storylines. This workshop for dancers, actors, choreographers, and playwrights culminates in production and public performance. Prerequisite: One of INDG 2010H, 2020H, 2110Y, or 3010H, or permission of instructor. Excludes INDG 3953H.
  • INDG 3060H: Theatre for Indigenous Communities Investigations in performance for Indigenous communities, focusing on the educational elements of Anishinaabeg storytelling. Skills in Indigenous dance, music, theatre, and Anishinaabemowin (Ojibwe language) are developed in class and taken into community workshop settings with selected groups of Indigenous students. Course fee: $100. Prerequisite: One of INDG 2010H, 2020H, 2110Y or 3010H, or permission of instructor.
  • INDG 3102Y: Images in Contemporary Media By examining the portrayal of First Nations peoples and their cultures in mass media, this course provides students with a better understanding of the power of television and film and the impacts of these images on the relationship, place, and space occupied by Indigenous peoples in contemporary society. Excludes INDG 3951.
  • INDG-CUST 3128H: Indigenous Science Fiction and Speculative Storytelling Topics include conceptualizing Indigenous science fiction; empire and Indigenous space; vampires, wîhtikow, and the naming of darkness; anticolonial impulses of Indigenous science fiction and speculative storytelling; conceptualizing classical Cree and Anishinaabe
  • INDG-CAST-ENGL 3481H: Indigenous Fiction (see English Literature)
  • INDG-CAST-ENGL 3483H: Indigenous Poetry (see English Literature)
  • INDG-CAST-WMST 3485H: Indigenous Women’s Writing in Canada (see Canadian Studies)
  • INDG 3560Y: The Living History of Indigenous Dance and Theatre An exploration of Indigenous dance, theatre, song, orality, and performance art from its origins as an integral aspect of community life through to its living expression in the present. Reflects on the effects of colonial policies on Indigenous performance and its resurgence as a strategy for cultural revitalization. Recommended prerequisite: INDG 1001H (or 1000Y), 2110Y, 2010H, or 2020H.
  • INDG 4481H: Advanced Indigenous Literature and Creative Writing Examines examples of traditional and contemporary Indigenous written narratives and the critical discourse around them through the use of creative and critical writing. Prerequisite: INDG 1001H (or 1000Y) or 1.0 ENGL credit. Recommended: INDG-ENGL 2480Y. Excludes INDG 4480Y.