My research interests deal with Indigenous peoples and colonialism on the Northwest Coast in the nineteenth and twentieth-centuries. I have particular interests in women's history, oral history, social movements, environmental justice, and the political implications of cultural representation.
I am a senior fellow in the Successful Societies research group, funded by the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research. This group is engaged in a long-term, interdisciplinary study of inequality, its causes and implications.
I recently completed a collaborative book manuscript, co-written with a Sliammon Elder and her grand-daughter. The book is a first-person, "told-to" narrative of Sliammon teachings and her own life experiences. I am now engaged with the next phrase of this SSHRC-funded project which, in partnership with a Mellon Foundation-funded UBC Press project, entails the development of a digital, multi-media companion book intended for use as curriculum in elementary and high schools.
I am simultaneously working on a study of two late-twentieth-century relocations of the Mowachaht-Muchalaht First Nation on Vancouver Island. This work considers the impact of these moves on the physical and social health of the community, and provides a window onto the twentieth-century transformations that have characterized many Indigenous peoples along the coast and throughout British Columbia. An essay based on this research appeared in the April 2018 issue of Comparative Studies in Society and History.
In this innovative history, Paige Raibmon examines the political ramifications of ideas about ""real Indians."" Focusing on the Northwest Coast in the late nineteenth century and early twentieth, she describes how government officials, missionaries, anthropologists, reformers, settlers, and tourists developed definitions of Indian authenticity based on such binaries as Indian versus White, traditional versus modern, and uncivilized versus...
Indigenous peoples have never ceded or surrendered their title to most of the territory called “British Columbia.” Accordingly, all people living here today have inherited what nineteenth-century settlers dubbed “the Indian Land Question.” How and why did settler society manage to avoid addressing and recognizing Aboriginal title for over a century? What are the implications of the unceded status of much of British Columbia for the future and for attempts at “reconciliation”? This course examines these questions by tracing the history of Indigenous activism and settler policy around the so-called “land question” from the mid-nineteenth century to today. Over the past one hundred and fifty years Indigenous people never stopped putting this “question” to settler society and government. They continue to do so in intensified ways within the context of resource development and infrastructure projects on their lands. We will consider the range of strategies that Indigenous people have used in this struggle including the courts, treaties, direct action, and international law. Required readings will include primary historical documents as well as scholarly secondary sources. Some previous knowledge of Indigenous history is encouraged.