Dr. John Lutz

Dr. John Lutz
Professor and Department Chair

BA, MA (UVic), PhD (Ott)

Office: Cle B245c


History of Indigenous Settler relations and more broadly the history of the creation and interaction of different racial groups in the Pacific Northwest. I am also interested in the use of digital tools to research, teach and display history.

Faces of UVic Research video


I study and teach the history of where I live: Victoria, British Columbia, the Pacific Northwest. This is the traditional home of the Coast Salish People whose word for “worthless people” also meant “people who do not know their history.”   In our world so many people do not have a place they know as “home” and without that link to place it is so easy to take our environment and our neighbours for granted.   I chose to study history because it gave me a chance to learn the past of this place and in doing so make it my “home”.  In my spare time I like to explore the hidden corners of this region: backpacking, canoeing, kayaking and driving the roads.  I love teaching history in Victoria because while I am putting down my own roots, I think I am helping others to find their places.  Without roots we are mere tumbleweeds, blowing from place to place, colonizing disturbed landscapes.


  • Robert Hackenberg Memorial Award from the Society for Applied Anthropology for work with the Sto:lo Ethnohistory Field School, 2016
  • Engaged Scholar Award, University of Victoria, 2016-21
  • Shortlisted for the SSHRC Research Impact Award, 2016
  • Fellow of the Royal Canadian Geographical Society, 2012
  • Craigdarroch Award for Innovation and Entrepreneurship 2012
  • Harold Innis Prize for the Best Book in Social Sciences in Canada, 2010
  • Canadian Historical Association, Clio Award for the best book in B.C. History, 2009 for Makuk: A New History of Aboriginal White Relations.
  • Pierre Berton Award from the National History Society, 2008
  • Craigdarroch Award for Research Dissemination 2007

Selected publications


Towards a New Ethnohistory: Community Engaged Scholarship Among the People of the River, (co-edited with Keith Carlson, David Schaepe, Albert McHalsie, (Winnipeg: University of Manitoba Press, 2018).  

Makúk: A New History of Aboriginal-White Relations.  UBC Press, 2008, 431pp.

Making and Moving Knowledge: Interdisciplinary and Community-based Research for a World on the Edge (edited collection with Barbara Neis) McGill Queen’s University Press, 2008, 338pp.

Myth and Memory: Stories of Indigenous-European Contact, edited collection. University of British Columbia Press, 2007, 236pp.

Situating Race and Racism in Time, Space and Theory: Critical Essays for Activists and Scholars, Co-edited with Jo-Anne Lee)   McGill-Queens University Press, 2005. 216pp.

Articles and Chapters

“Totem Poles,” in Michael Dawson, Catherine Gidney and Donald Wright, eds., Symbols of Canada. Toronto: Between the Lines, 2018.

“Turning Space Inside Out: Spatial History and Race in Victorian Victoria” in  Historical GIS Research in Canada, ed.s Jennifer Bonnell and Marcel Fortin, (University of Calgary Press, 2014) with Patirck Dunae, Jason Gilliland, Don Lafreniere, Megan Harvey).   

“Turning Space Inside Out: Spatial History and Race in Victorian Canada,” in Jennifer Bonnell and Marcel Fortin, eds., Historical GIS Research in Canada, (University of Calgary, 2014) 1-26, coauthored with Patrick Dunae, Jason Gilliland Donald Lafreniere and Megan Harvey.

“What Has Mystery Got to Do with It?” in Kevin Kee, ed., Pastplay: Teaching and Learning History With Technology, (University of Michigan, 2014) 23-42,  coauthored with Ruth Sandwell.

Victorian Sim CIties: Playful Technologies on Google Earth,” in Kevin Kee, ed., Pastplay: Teaching and Learning History With Technology, (University of Michigan, 2014) 292-308, coauthored with Patrick Dunae.

“Vanishing the Indians: Aboriginal Labourers in Twentieth-Century British Columbia”  in Aboriginal History, A Reader, edited by Kristin Burnett and Geoff Read, Oxford University Press, 2012, 277-291. 

“Making the Inscrutable, Scrutable: Race and Space in Victoria’s Chinatown, 1891,”   BC Studies, No. 169 (Spring 2011): 51-80.  Co-authored with Patrick Dunae, Jason Gilliland, and Don Lafreniere

“Towards a Theory of Good History Through Gaming,” by Kevin Kee, Shawn Graham, Pat Dunae, John Lutz, Andrew Large, Michel Blondeau and Mike Clare Canadian Historical Review, Volume 90, Number 2 (June 2009) 303-326.

Through Student's Eyes: Stό:lō  Ethnohistory Fieldschool Studies (Fall, 2008) a special issue of Research Review. Co-editor with Keith Carlson and Dave Schaepe.

“First Contact as a Spiritual Performance: Aboriginal -- Non-Aboriginal Encounters on the North American West Coast,” in John Lutz, ed., Myth and Memory: Rethinking Stories of Indigenous-European Contact. University of British Columbia Press. 2007.  30-45.

“Myth Understandings: First Contact, Over and Over Again,” Introduction to John Lutz, ed., Myth and Memory: Rethinking Stories of Indigenous-European Contact, University of British Columbia Press.  2007. 1-14.


HSTR 101A 10 Days that Shook the World
HSTR 324A Northwest America to 1849
HSTR 324B British Columbia, 1849 - 1900
HSTR 489A Doing History in a Digital World
HSTR 526 Topical Field in Ethnohistory
HSTR 528 Ethnohistory Field School

Grad students


Ph.D. Supervised

  • Megan Harvey, "The Power of Story in Indigenous-State Relations".
  • Neil Vallance, “Sharing the Land: The Formation of the Vancouver Island Treaties of 1850-1854 in Historical, Legal and Comparative Context,” (co-supervisor).
  • Sylvia Olsen, “A History of On-Reserve Housing in Canada,”.

MA Theses:

  • Sabina Trimble, “Making Maps Speak: The The’wá:li Community Digital Mapping Project,”  
  • Patrick Bradley, “Arthur Vowell and the BC Indian Superintendency,”
  • Michael Ashley, Severalty's retreat : Treaty Eight's short lived experiment with individual title
  • Ben Bradley, Roving eyes : circulation, visuality, and hierarchy of place in east-central British Columbia, 1910-1975
  • Jonathan Clapperton, Presenting and representing culture : a history of Stó:lō interpretive centres, museums and cross-cultural relationships, 1949-2006
  • Devon Drury, 'That immense and dangerous sea': Spanish imperial policy and power during the exploration of the Salish Sea, 1790-1791.
  • Mickey Fitzgerald, The rise and demise of J.H. Todd and Sons, British Columbia's enduring independent salmon canners.
  • Dennis Flewelling, Finding judicial conciliation in the nineteenth century Pacific Northwest
  • Kathryn Martin, Honouring experience: cross-cultural relationships between indigenous and settler women in British Columbia, 1960-2009.
  • Kathy McKay, Recycling the soul : death and the continuity of life in the Coast Salish burial practices
  • Byron Plant, Hank Snow and moving on : tradition and modernity in Kwakwaka'wakw 20th century migration
  • Marki Sellers, Wearing the Mantle on Both Shoulders': An Examination of the Development of Cultural Change, Mutual Accommodation, and Hybrid Forms at Fort Simpson/Laxtgu'alaams, 1834-1862
  • Tylor Richards, (Re-)Imagining Germanness: Victoria's Germans and the 1915 Lusitania Riot
  • Margaret Robbins, Re-imagining S'ólh Téméxw: tunnel narratives in a Stó:lõ spiritual geography.
  • Adam Rudder, A black community in Vancouver? : a history of invisibility
  • Racan Souiedan, 'The Duties of Neutrality': The Impact of the American Civil Was on British Columbia and Vancouver Island, 1861 - 1865
  • Heather Wilke, One too many : imbibing and resistance in the Cowichan Indian Agency, 1888-1899

Major Research Papers:

  • Whitney Bajric, “A Biography of a Fishing Site,” MRP, 2015.
  • Ella Bedard, “Bringing Home all that has Left”: The Skulkayn/Stalo Heritage Project and the Stó:lō Cultural Revival
  • Heather Gleboff, The Long Conversation: A Dialogue Between Father Augustin J. Brabant and the Hesquiats of Vancouver Island, 1874-1899
  • Liam Haggarty, ‘I’m Going to Call it Spirit Money’: An Ethnohistory of Social Welfare Among the Stó:lõ
  • Annelise Kempling,Museums and the Future of Education: Best Practices for Developing and Facilitating Engaging Experiences with History for Children and Youth
  • Orion Keresztesi,“The Department of Indian Affairs Got a Hold of It”: Interpreting DIA Records and the Surrender of Scowlitz Indian Reserve One
  • Brian Smith, Fusing Technological and Pedagogical Innovation – An Analysis of QR Codes as facilitators of Historical Thinking in Museums
  • Patrick Szpak,  Rails to Rubber in Victoria

MAs in Progress:

  • Elise Forrest Hammond
  • Katie Hughes 
  • David Lynch
  • Sean McPherson
  • Gina Mowatt
  • Sarah Taekema

PhDs in Progress:

  • David Vogt