I teach primarily Indigenous history. I teach courses ranging from Global Indigenous History to Histories of Place, from the year-long North American Indigenous Survey to First Contacts in the Pacific, and am affiliated with UBC's Institute for Critical Indigenous Studies.
My first book was Native Seattle: Histories from the Crossing-Over Place (Washington, 2007 and second edition 2017), which linked urban and Indigenous histories through the experiences of the local Duwamish people, Indigenous migrants to the city, and the uses of “Indian” imagery in urban landscapes and historical narratives. It argued that instead of being mutually exclusive, urban and Indigenous histories are in fact mutually constitutive. Native Seattle won the 2007 Washington State Book Award, and an article based on one of the chapters, “City of the Changers,” was named best article of 2006 by the Urban History Association.
My latest book is Indigenous London: Native Travellers at the Heart of Empire (Yale, 2016), which reframes the metropolis and its history through the experiences of Indigenous people who travelled there, willingly or otherwise, from territories that became the US, Canada, New Zealand, and Australia, beginning in 1502. To support this work, during 2013-2014 sabbatical year I was a visiting fellow at the Institute for Historical Research at the University of London and an Eccles Fellow in North American Studies at the British Library.
In between Native Seattle and Indigenous London, I have published on topics ranging from food and encounter to earthquakes and colonial science. I also co-edited the volume Phantom Pasts, Indigenous Presence: Native Ghosts in North American Culture & History (Nebraska, 2011).
My next book project is entitled SlaughterTown. In it, I return to the Pacific Northwest, and more specifically, to my hometown of Auburn, Washington. The project is about four grim things that happened there: a war between Indigenous people and settlers in the 1850s, the destruction of a river in the 1900s, the internment of one of the region's largest Japanese communities in the 1940s, and the US's most prolific serial killer, the Green River Killer, in the 1980s. I am primarly interested in the ways in which places and landscapes hold historical trauma, and how these events reflect the racial, environmental, and gendered logics of settler colonialism. Intertwined with my own family's history of intergenerational violence and westward migration, the book will be a combination of traditional history and memoir. (It's called SlaughterTown because before it was renamed Auburn in the 1890s, the town was known as Slaughter, after a soldier killed in the so-called "Indian War.")
I am particularly interested in working with graduate students who are curious about the intersections between Indigenous history and other fields such as urban, environmental, imperial, science, or Atlantic histories; ideas about place and belonging; and the Northwest Coast of North America. I welcome inquiries.
Funded by a Social Sciences & Humanities Research Council Standard Research Grant; a Hampton Grant and Arts Undergraduate Research Award from UBC; a short-term fellowship from the Huntington Library; and a visiting fellowship at the Institute for Historical Research, School of Advanced Studies, University of London.
Winner of the 2007 Washington State Book Award in History/Biography.
Indigenous peoples from pre-contact to the present in Canada and the U.S. Topics include colonial frontiers, disease, fur trade, government policies, environment, gender, religion, oral narratives, activism, urbanization, and identity.
This course is an introduction to the practices and perspectives of Indigenous history. We will read some of the best recent works in Indigenous history in Canada, the United States, and beyond, and will also engage some of the more fractious debates within this interdisciplinary area of research and writing. While we will touch on a number of themes, we will pay particular attention to the challenges of researching and representing Aboriginal epistemologies, the connections between Aboriginal history and other fields, and creative uses of diverse sources and writing strategies to craft compelling narratives. The ethics of doing Aboriginal history and the connections between the pasts we study and presents in which we are all implicated will also be on our minds throughout the term.