Aboriginal Studies

  • Are you interested in Aboriginal Studies?
  • Are you from an Aboriginal culture or do you have friends who are?
  • Are you a non-Aboriginal person who wants to know more?
  • Do you want to understand Canadian society, history, geography, culture and traditions from a new perspective?
  • Do you think your future career may include work with First Nations, Métis and Inuit communities?

If the answer to any of these questions is “Yes” then read on!

The Aboriginal Studies Certificate at John Abbott College allows you to choose from a designated list of courses that relate to Aboriginal cultures. To obtain the Certificate, which is given out at graduation, you need to pass six courses from the list and do a special project in one of those courses. The Certificate encourages a self-identified focus on Aboriginal Studies but does not entail extra work on top of your DEC requirements.  It gives you a “value-added” diploma.

Some of the topics covered include:
Aboriginal peoples’ perspectives on history, identity, tradition and modernity; Present day social and political realities; Colonialism; Aboriginal arts: literature, theatre, music, dance, film, new media and broadcasting; Languages: threatened languages and language revival; Spirituality and indigenous world views; Impact of climate change on Aboriginal territories and lifestyles; Story-telling and oral traditions; Diversity of Aboriginal communities in North America and around the world.

What do we mean by Aboriginal Studies?
First Nations, Métis and Inuit students are increasingly finding their place and their voice in post-secondary education. At the same time, non-Aboriginal Canadians are becoming more aware of the enduring presence and contemporary realities of this country’s Aboriginal peoples. The Aboriginal Studies Certificate offers both the Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal student an excellent general-knowledge base which will focus on the history, languages, art, cultural traditions, philosophy, spirituality, as well as present-day political and social conditions of Aboriginal Peoples. A thorough understanding of the values and dignity of Aboriginal peoples will allow the student to better appreciate their achievements and challenges and also the important contributions they have made and continue to make in national and global contexts. Finally, the Aboriginal Studies Certificate will serve as an excellent introduction for students interested in pursuing Aboriginal Studies later on at the university level.

Why take the Aboriginal Studies Certificate?
Long before Europeans came to Canada, Aboriginal Peoples with distinct languages, customs and cultures lived on this land. We now refer to them as First Nations, Métis, and Inuit peoples. First Nations include over 50 distinct nations including Kanien’kehá:ka or Mohawk, Cree, Ojibwe, Atikamekw, Innu and others. What were their initial relations with the newcomers? What are the relations today between Canadians and Aboriginal Peoples? In the history books of Canada and Quebec, these peoples were mostly invisible until very recently. Whatever visibility they were given was often based on stories drawn from folklore or myth, accentuated with a heavy Eurocentric bias. With the Aboriginal Studies Certificate, we hope to bridge the gap, to raise awareness about contemporary Aboriginal realities and, hopefully, to establish a favourable basis for mutual understanding and cooperation.

Who should take the Aboriginal Studies Certificate?
Everyone! The Aboriginal Studies Certificate will be of interest to any student who studies here at the college, whether they are Aboriginal or of any other ethnic origin. In modern Quebec society, and in Canada as a whole, rapidly evolving economic, social and environmental conditions are front and centre in both the governmental and public spheres. In order to address these concerns responsibly and efficaciously, a better understanding of the past and present contributions of Aboriginal Peoples is essential. The Aboriginal Studies Certificate aims to provide the student with an awareness of the important role Aboriginal Peoples play in the ongoing evolution of society.

For more information, please contact the coordinator of the Aboriginal Studies Certificate:
Aboriginal Studies Coordinator.
(email): aboriginalstudies@johnabbott.qc.ca
(telephone) 514 457 6610, extension 5976