Towards a New Ethnohistory

Community Engaged Scholarship among the People of the River

Keith Thor Carlson (Author), John Sutton Lutz (Author), David M. Schaepe (Author), Naxaxalhts’i – Albert “Sonny” McHalsie (Author)

Towards a New Ethnohistory engages respectfully in cross-cultural dialogue and interdisciplinary methods to co-create with Indigenous people a new, decolonized ethnohistory. This new ethnohistory reflects Indigenous ways of knowing and is a direct response to critiques of scholars who have for too long foisted their own research agendas onto Indigenous communities. Community-engaged scholarship invites members of the Indigenous community themselves to identify the research questions, host the researchers while they conduct the research, and participate meaningfully in the analysis of the researchers’ findings.

The historical research topics chosen by the Stó:lō community leaders and knowledge keepers for the contributors to this collection range from the intimate and personal, to the broad and collective. But what principally distinguishes the analyses is the way settler colonialism is positioned as something that unfolds in sometimes unexpected ways within Stó:lō history, as opposed to the other way around.

This collection presents the best work to come out of the world’s only graduate-level humanities-based ethnohistory fieldschool. The blending of methodologies and approaches from the humanities and social sciences is a model of twenty-first century interdisciplinarity.


“At a time when Indigenous sovereignty has come to the fore, this volume sets the ‘gold standard’ for ethical scholarship and provides a roadmap and manifesto for sensible and sensitive decolonization.”

– Chris Friday, Professor of History, Western Washington University

“The strength of the collection is its appreciation for and attention to interpreting history with reference to Stó:lō interpretative frames.”

Tyler McCreary, BC Booklook

“In a time when many scholars are looking to decolonize their approaches to research—especially when working with Indigenous communities—this book stands as a clear exemplar of community-engaged research and demonstrates how it can be done well.”

– Jennifer Megan Markides, University of Calgary, Qualitative Research in Education

“Exemplifies a new, transdisciplinary approach to ethnohistory, in which the researcher recognizes not only the legacy of settler colonialism in Canada, but also the subjectivity and relativity of their own views and western knowledge as a whole. This new ethnohistory aims to work with the community at all levels of research and form and sustain relationships that last long after fieldwork is conducted. Its hope is to produce scholarship that is cutting edge, complex, accessible and relevant to members of the community.”

Daniel Sims, NICHE

“Settler scholars concerned with disciplinary crises need look no further than this excellent anthology for models of respectful intercommunity engagement, radical methodology and pedagogy, and a paradigm for solidarity work that chooses to develop respectful relationships over moribund agonizing.”

Madeleine Reddon, Canadian Literature

“Blending archival research with critical theory, oral history, and personal observation, the individual pieces explore the interplay of continuity and change in Stó:lō culture with a high degree of nuance and sophistication.”

– Andrew H. Fisher, College of William and Mary, Pacific Northwest Quarterly

“Navigating the roiling waters of contemporary identity politics, Indigenous issues, and scholarly debates are challenges in and of themselves, but, in this collection of essays, the contributors attempt to manage all three at once and calm the waters in the process.”

Kerry Abel, University of Toronto Quarterly

About the Authors

Keith Thor Carlson is Professor of History at the University of Saskatchewan, where he holds the Research Chair in Indigenous and Community-Engaged History.

John Sutton Lutz is the Chair of and a Professor in the History Department at the University of Victoria.

David M. Schaepe is the Director and Senior Archaeologist of the of the Stó:lō Research and Resource Management Centre at Stó:lō Nation.

Naxaxalhts’i, also known as Dr. Albert “Sonny” McHalsie, is a historical researcher and cultural interpreter.

Other contributors: Ella Bedard, Adar Charlton, Amanda Fehr, Adam Gaudry, Katya MacDonald, Chris Marsh, Kathy McKay, Noah Miller, Colin Osmond, Lesley Wiebe

Book Details

  • Towards a New Ethnohistory: Community Engaged Scholarship among the People of the River
  • Keith Thor Carlson (Author), John Sutton Lutz (Author), David M. Schaepe (Author), Naxaxalhts’i – Albert “Sonny” McHalsie (Author)
  • Published April 2018, 288 pages
  • Paper, ISBN: 978-0-88755-817-7, 6 × 9, $27.95
  • Topic(s): Decolonization, History, Indigenous Studies, Oral History & Storytelling

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