Instructor: Michael Béchard (Rev. Dr.)
Contact: W142B / / 519-963-1477
Office Hours: Tuesdays 10:30 am – 11:30 am or by appointment 

Tuesdays 5:30 pm -7:30 pm

Course Description & General Information

2351F/G Inculturation and Spirituality:

Combining classroom time (Winter 2017), and a trip to Canada’s North (July 2017), students will come to a deeper understanding of the Church’s praxis regarding inculturation and spirituality within a First Nations context. Consideration will be given to the legacy of colonization and movements fostering greater autonomy in the Canadian aboriginal context. Additional travel expenses to be borne by students.


Attendance & Participation

Students are expected to participate in all the preparatory gatherings prior to departure and to be actively engaged with their peers and members of the community upon arrival at Fond-du-Lac and Pine Channel, Saskatchewan.

The preparatory gatherings will be an opportunity to welcome members of various First Nations in Southwestern Ontario and to meet with non-aboriginal men and women who have spent considerable time working with the Dene people.

On site, this participation will include sharing in religious ceremonies, common meals, “evening conversations,” and contributing through your labours (cooking, dish washing, hauling of water) to the general well-being of the group.

Community Engagement

There are a number of organizations in the city and on campus that work with members from various indigenous communities.  Students are expected to become familiar with one group and to participate in their programming.  A monthly report will be required to update the instructor on the status of your involvement. 


Once on site at Pine Channel, students will be responsible for facilitating some sort of activity with the young people of the area. More details on this assignment will be discussed at our gatherings prior to April. All assignments need to be approved by the instructor.

Final Essay

The final paper will be a synthesis and critical reflection of the readings, the preparatory gatherings and the student’s time in the north. Additional sources may be employed at the student’s discretion.
Required Readings

Course Pack

Abel, Kerry. Drum Songs: Glimpses of Dene History, 2nd ed. Montreal: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2007

Additional Readings provided by instructors.

Schedule of Classes / Readings

Tuesday, January 10, 2017
Michael Béchard DMin
Opportunities and Challenges

Tuesday, January 24, 2017
Jason Chartrand PhD (Candidate)
York University, Toronto
Colonization to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission

Tuesday, February 7, 2017
Jason Chartrand PhD (Candidate)
York University, Toronto
Colonization to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission

Tuesday, February 14, 2017
Christine Maracle-Lockwood RN, MDiv.
The Southwest Ontario Aboriginal Health Access Centre (SOAHAC)
Chippewa of the Thames, First Nation
Mental Health Concerns with Indigenous Youth

Tuesday, March 7, 2017
Carolyn Hopkins MSW
School of Social Work, King’s University College
Trauma and Resiliency 

Tuesday, March 14, 2017
Christian McConnell, PhD
Institute for Catholic Formation, London, Ontario
Inculturation in the Catholic Tradition

Tuesday, March 28, 2017
Alexandria Fung MRE
Corpus Christi College, Vancouver, BC
Religious Education with Indigenous Communities