Dan Levy would love to be your classmate.
The former “Schitt’s Creek” actor is heading back to school this September to take a free online course on Indigenous history and issues, offered by the Faculty of Native Studies at the University of Alberta.
“Indigenous Canada” is a 12-week remote learning program the Canadian performer hopes the world will take along with him, from the comfort of their homes.
Levy shared the news about his academic pursuits in a short clip posted on his social media feeds and explained why he decided to take the course.
“Because if 2020 has taught us anything, it’s that we actively need to re-learn history,” he said. “History that wasn’t taught to us in school, to better help us contextualize our lives, and how we can better support and be of service to each other.”
The course’s website states that students will engage with weekly modules through lectures, videos, a detailed glossary, and readings that come from an Indigenous perspective.
Topics listed include the fur trade and circumstances surrounding the treaties made with settlers, along with deep dives into Indigenous resistance to assimilation, concepts like self-determination, and land sovereignty.
Hesitant about returning to class? Many current students are all too familiar with how hard it can be to learn at home. That’s why Levy will also be hosting a weekly study group with the Indigenous-led course’s facilitators: Métis and Fransaskois assistant professor Dr. Paul Gareau instructs the course, alongside presenters Tracy Bear, Alannah Mandamin-Shawanda, and Isaac Twin.
The course itself has received rave reviews since its creation in 2017, with CBC dubbing it “the most popular course in Canada.”
The outlet reported that more than 20,000 people enrolled in its first year, according to online learning platform Courseca; now over 92,000 people have taken the 12-lesson course.
Its online reviews are overwhelmingly positive, with several reviewers stating that they wish all Canadians would enroll themselves.
“A course that every Canadian needs to take to promote the healing of our nation,” one reviewer wrote.
Other Indigenous learning resources
When it comes to learning about Indigenous culture in school, many adults like Levy may recall their education — especially surrounding colonialism and the residential school system — as lacklustre, non-existent, or blatant misinformation. While some improvements have been made, there are still gaps to be filled: It was only a few months ago that a Hamilton, Ont. school went viral after students were asked to roleplay colonizers.
Here are a few other ways lifelong learners can take Levy’s words to heart:
Looking for a crash course? Professional advisor and workshop facilitator Sarah Robinson, of Fort Nelson First Nation and the Saulteau First Nation, offers “Indigenous & Canadian Histories 101: What You Didn’t Learn In High School,” a 45-minute video that covers a wide-range of introductory topics. It can be rented for $50, with low-income options available for marginalized communities.
Whose land is a website that can identify what Indigenous lands Canadians are on, accompanied with a robust FAQ section on land acknowledgements and treaties. A similar website, Native Land, does this on an international scale.
Podcast listeners love “The Secret Life of Canada” for shedding light and adding nuance to underreported history topics.
Their team recently tweeted a thread on Indigenous texts to read and notables worth following, which include 16-year-old water protector Autumn Peltier, writer Adrienne Keene, and animal history scholar Daniel Health Justice.
CBC Kids has an Indigenous section that’s filled with articles that answer questions like “What is Orange Shirt day?” and “Do you know what regalia is?” in easy-to-understand language.
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