I have BA (English and History) and MA (History) degrees from the University of Toronto, and in 1999 I received my PhD in History from the University of British Columbia. I have been in a member of Laurier’s History department (Waterloo campus) since 2000.
I am Canadianist particularly interested in Indigenous-non-Indigenous relations. I specialize in the Indigenous-Church encounter on Northwest Coast of North America in the 19th and 20th centuries. My interests are the History of the Indigenous Peoples of Canada; Aboriginal-Missionary Relations and forms of Indigenous Christianity in British Columbia; (Post)Colonialism; Canadian Social and Cultural History.
My first book, "The Heavens are Changing," examined 19th-century Protestant mission work among the First Nations of British Columbia’s north coast. I concentrated on the first generation of Tsimshian (Ts’msyen) Christians (1857-1901), when considerable agency and resistance to unwanted mission forms were still possible to examine the Indigenous role in mission work. I found not only their contributions to local churches, but how such forms were indigenized and made more relevant to Indigenous culture despite ongoing Christian colonialism. Recently my interests have turned to social histories focused on expressions of cultures that may have been first introduced by missionaries that have since taken on a distinctive life of their own meaningful expressions of Indigenous identities — marching bands and sports such as basketball. I strive towards developing more collaboratively based history projects done in conjunction with and participation by Indigenous communities. I am presently working on a book covering a range of topics related to the 20th-century Indigenous-church relationship.
I am willing to supervise graduate students, MA and PhD, as well as postdoctoral fellows, on topics related to Indigenous History in Canada; Indigenous Peoples and Colonialism; Indigenous North America; and Comparative Indigenous Ethnohistory.
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