Dr. John Lutz

Dr. John Lutz

On leave

Office: Cle B221

BA, MA (UVic), PhD (Ott)

Area of expertise

British Columbia History, Pacific Northwest History, History of Indigenous-Settler Relations


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


To Share Not Surrender Towards a New Ethnohistory Makuk: A New History of Aboriginal-White Relations Making and Moving Knowledge

To Share Not Surrender: Indigenous and Settler Visions of Treaty Making in the Colonies of Vancouver Island and British Columbia (co-edited with Peter Cook, Neil Vallance, Graham Brazier, Hamar Foster (UBC Press, 2021).

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.

Films and Exhibits

In January-March 2017 an exhibit at the Legacy Art Gallery in Victoria showcased the known British Columbia paintings of the most famous Black artist of the American- and Pacific North- West.  

Articles and Chapters

“The Rutter’s Impasse and the End of Treaty Making on Vancouver Island,” in Peter Cook et al, To Share Not Surrender: Indigenous and Settler Visions of Treaty Making in the Colonies of Vancouver Island and British Columbia  (UBC Press, 2021).

“Preparing Eden: Indigenous Land Use and European Settlement on Southern Vancouver Island” in Plants, People and Places: the Roles of Ethnobotany and Ethnoecology in Indigenous Peoples’ Land Rights in Canada and Beyond, Nancy Turner, ed. (McGill-Queen’s U Press 2020). 

John Sutton Lutz, ‘“A City of the white race occupies its place“ Kanaka Row, Chinatown, and the Indian Quarter in Victorian Victoria‘  with Don Lafreniere, Patrick Dunae and Jason Gilliland  for The Routledge Companion to Spatial History  edited by Ian Gregory, Don Debats, Don Lafreniere  (Routledge, 2018) 320-347.

“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 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.

Digital Projects 

Vancouver Island Treaties. uvic-songhees.ca Originally launched to support the conference First Nations, Land, and James Douglas: Indigenous and Treaty Rights in the Colonies of Vancouver Island and British Columbia,1849-1864 the site has become a public resource for information on the Vancouver Island Treaties.

The Missing British Columbia Paintings of Grafton Tylor Brown, graftonTBrown.ca. This website provides a brief biography of the trans-racial first professional artist in British Columbia and a list of his known paintings and their locations.  Its goal is to educate about race, about this important painter and to help locate his documentary art for historical research.

Great Unsolved Mysteries in Canadian History, Thirteen historical mysteries aimed at engaging students in the practice of history accompanied by 37 shorter Mysterquests to allow students to engage with short, skill-based assignments. canadianmysteries.ca.

The Fort Victoria Journal 1846-1850, fortvictoriajournal.ca Transcribed and edited version of the Fort Victoria Post Journal for the years it survives.  I directed the team project which evolved out of my Historical Editing course.

The Governor’s Letters website, govlet.ca Website with four teaching modules drawing on the Despatches project directed to grades 5-12.

Colonial Despatches Project, bcgenesis.uvic.ca  Digital publication of the correspondence of the Governors of Vancouver Island and British Columbia with the Colonial Office.

Autobiographies: A website, autobio.ca Archive for personal histories of family’s relationship with the cars created by students in History 317.  Updated 2010.

Ethnohistory Field School with the Sto:lo, ethnohist.ca A website containing field school reports, alumni lists and photo galleries from the past  field schools. Launched May 2009.  Updated 2011, 2013, 2015.

viHistory, vihistory.ca   A web based teaching tool for race, gender, family, labour and social history utilizing population databases drawn from Vancouver Island censuses, directories, assessment roles and other sources, for the Victorian and Edwardian era with Patrick Dunae, project originator.

Victoria’s Victoria, web.uvic.ca/vv A website on the History of Victoria, B.C. in the Victorian era and a site for student research projects. Launched April 7, 2003. There are 34 microhistories on the site, each of about 2,000 words and 20 images.


HSTR 101A 10 Days that Shook the World
HSTR 304 Social History of the Automobile in America
HSTR 324A Northwest America to 1849
HSTR 324B British Columbia, 1849 - 1900
HUMA 395   Research and Ethics in the Humanities
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:

  • Allison Eccleston, “The Uniform of the Lower Fraser Fishing Authority: Case Study of a Material Artifact,” 2021
  • Sarah Taekema, “The Indian Policy of John A. Macdonald,” 2020.
  • Sean McPherson, “Settler and Ktunaxa Visions of Land,” 2020.
  • Elise Forrest Hammond, “A Human History of Tl’chés,1860-1973,” 2020.
  • David Lynch, “Settler Indigenous conflict in Nootka Sound,” 2019.
  • Jeremy Buddenhagen, “Tsemsyaenhl-get: Sixteen Battles in the Military History of the Nine Allied Tsimshian Tribes,” 2018.
  • 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:

PhDs in Progress:

  • Jesse Robertson