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History Professor Keith Carslon

Arts & Science field school receives international recognition

The field school, run jointly by History Prof. Keith Carlson and his colleague from the University of Victoria, has paired grad students with Stó:lō communities in British Columbia since 1997

A one-of-a-kind field school that provides myriad benefits to both graduate students and the Stó:lō people of British Columbia has been recognized by the American Society of Applied Anthropology with the prestigious Robert A. Hackenberg Memorial Award for 2016.

The Stó:lō Ethnohistory Field School pairs graduate students with one of the Stó:lō communities in British Columbia’s Fraser Valley region. During their month-long stay in these communities, graduate students work on original research projects that have been identified by Stó:lō Elders and cultural experts in partnership with faculty from the Universities of Saskatchewan and Victoria. Participating graduate students have come from campuses across Canada and the United States.

The field school has been offered bi-annually since 1997, and is headed by both Professor Keith Thor Carlson from the U of S and Professor John Lutz from the University of Victoria.

“The course is really a sterling example of community-engaged scholarship, where Indigenous interests are deftly woven together with scholarly research priorities,” said Carlson. “It truly is a class unlike any other, and working with the Stó:lō people is a privilege and responsibility that faculty and students alike take very seriously.”

Stó:lō research and resource management director Dave Schaepe explains that in hosting the field school, their research office is following the vision set by his predecessor, Grand Chief Clarence Pennier. 

“We recognized the merits of working with others to help answer the questions that Stó:lō people are asking about their own history,” he says.

The Stó:lō have occupied the Fraser Valley area for nearly 10,000 years, a time frame that has been confirmed by archaeological evidence. Their physical and spiritual history in the region provide scholars with tremendous research opportunities and they, in turn, are helping the Stó:lō enrich the knowledge surrounding their cultural past.

The 2016 Hackenberg Memorial Award comes with a $3,000 (U.S.) cash prize which will be used to cover costs associated with bringing field school alumni and key members of the Stó:lō mentorship team to the Society for Applied Anthropology’s annual conference in May 2016.


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