Canadian Residential School History

Canadian Residential School History focuses on the history of Indigenous representation in Canada. Students have the opportunity to engage with texts, films, articles, photographs, etc. that either represent Indigenous peoples or consider how they have been represented through images.

Canadian Residential School History
Canadian Residential School History

Students will then consider the ways in which the image(s)/texts compare/relate to Jeff Lemire’s images from Secret Path (a new text, published 2016) with respect to the representation of Indigenous people and their culture(s).

To be clear, you will need to construct an argument about Secret Path; this book will be the focus of your essay. You will consider the ways in which it fits within, or rejects, the tradition of indigenous representation. Is, for example, a graphic novel a powerful medium through which to confront reconciliation? Does the text subvert earlier assumptions about Indigenous people, allowing us to see Indigenous culture through a new lens? Or, does the text make use of similar stereotypes that you have discovered in your research? Does the fact that this book is written by white men matter? Why, or why not?

In order to answer questions such as these (questions that could formulate a strong thesis), you must study images of Indigenous peoples in Canada and contrast and compare them with the images from Secret Path. It will be your choice if you choose to focus solely on the images of Secret Path or to include an analysis of the music that accompanies it (a download for the accompanying music, written and performed by Gord Downie, is located at the back of each book). Keep in mind that considering the music will offer an accompanying narrative that may well contribute to your reading and/or understanding of the images. This, in itself, would be an interesting topic to consider.

This is a formal essay; it will have an introductory paragraph with a thesis statement, the main body, a conclusion, and works cited page. This essay should have a word count of at least 1700 (not exceeding 2000). This is a research assignment where quotations & images from both primary and secondary sources must be used and referenced using MLA (Modern Language Association) format. Although I will be teaching you the basic rules of MLA formatting, please know that copies of the MLA handbook can be found in the reference section of the library and are also accessible online. Learning to use MLA properly helps to avoid the serious offense of plagiarism: the borrowing/use of ANY idea from another source MUST be referenced accordingly. Please avoid using online sources unless you clear them with me; ebooks, journals articles and online encyclopedic entries found using MRU databases, ARE acceptable. Your essay will make use of at least FIVE other sources, all of which I’ll find on your works cited page, in addition to Secret Path. I should find a minimum of six images in your essay.

I have arranged a library session for your class. We’ll be meeting in a computer lab on the main floor of the library. our librarian will be teaching you how to research for reputable sources. She will also spend time talking about MLA and documenting sources. The dates for this session are located on your syllabus.

Your research essays should be well edited. We will spend time discussing the mechanics of writing; I am looking for essays free from careless errors. Students should consider visiting Student Learning Services where they will provide you with invaluable support as you plan and revise your papers. I’ll be talking more about this in class; there are links found in the announcement section of your Blackboard page.

I want to see that you have researched carefully and attentively and that you have constructed works cited according to my instructions

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