Susan Roy

Campus: Waterloo
Office: HH 133
Email: susan.roy@uwaterloo.ca

 

Bio

My research examines the history of Indigenous-non-Indigenous relationships in Canada with attention to cultural performance, resource and urban development disputes, and political activism. Areas of supervision include Canadian history, Indigenous history, visual culture, public history, and oral history and community-based research methodologies.

My book, These Mysterious People: Shaping History and Archaeology in a Northwest Coast Community (2010, 2nd ed.), focuses on an ancient village in Vancouver that became the source of countless ancestral remains and cultural treasures for museums and private collections around the world in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The book then details how the Musqueam First Nation’s legal and cultural expressions – land claims submissions, petitions, and displays, for example – challenged public Indigenous history throughout the 20th century.

I also work with interdisciplinary teams, often collaborating with artists, designers, activists, environmental scientists, and writers. I was a guest curator for the award winning, collaborative museum exhibition, c̓əsnaʔəm: the city before the city, that highlights an Indigenous urban landscape of Vancouver. This project incorporated digital technologies and other forms of multi-media presentation to bring historical research to wider publics.

My current research includes a number of writing and exhibition projects, including a history of the Sechelt First Nation, which examines the intersections of community genealogies, literacies, and colonial encounters on the Northwest Coast; a study of resource development and cultural property disputes in Ontario; a history of Indian residential schools managed by the United Church of Canada; and, with partners at Six Nations Polytechic and McGill University, a project documenting the history of Haudenosaunee ironworking in major Canadian and American urban centres.

 

Select Publications

Guest curator for c̓əsnaʔəm: the city before the city at the Museum of Vancouver, an exhibition on the Indigenous history of Vancouver, 2015-2020.  http://www.thecitybeforethecity.com

These Mysterious People: Shaping History and Archaeology in a Northwest Coast Community Montreal/Kingston: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2010, 2nd ed 2016.

“Mining Indigenous Territory: Indigenous Women and Activism, in in Northern British Columbia,” (forthcoming).

“Visualizing Nature and Culture: William Taylor’s Murals in the Hall of the Northwest Coast Indian, American Museum of Natural History,” in Antiquities and Nature in the Americas, 1820-1914, eds. Eds. Irina Podgorny, Philip Kohl, Stefanie Gänger. Tucson: University of Arizona Press, 2014.

with Ruth Taylor, “‘We Were Real Skookum Women’: The shíshálh Economy and the Logging Industry on the Pacific Northwest Coast,” in Indigenous Women’s Work: from Labor to Activism, ed. Carol Williams. Urbana and Chicago: University of Illinois Press, 2012.

“A History of the Site: The Kitsilano Indian Reserve,” in Digital Natives, eds. Lorna Brown and Clint Burnham (Vancouver: Other Sights for Artists’ Projects and City of Vancouver Public Art Program, 2012).