Dr. Christine O'Bonsawin

Dr. Christine O'Bonsawin
Associate Professor
History and Indigenous Studies
Office: Cle B303

BSM (Brock), MA, PhD (Western Ontario)

Area of expertise

Sport History, Modern Indigenous Sport, History of the Olympics, Indigenous Land Rights

Office Hours

Email for appointment


Christine O’Bonsawin is an Abenaki (Odanak) scholar who is guest on the lands of the Songhees, Esquimalt, and WSÁNEĆ peoples and is grateful to have the opportunity to live, work, and raise her children on these territories. Her scholarship in Indigenous studies and sport history takes up questions regarding the appropriation and subjugation of Indigenous peoples, identities, and cultures in Olympic history and the future programming of the Games. Christine’s recent scholarship has mainly focused on the legal and political rights of Indigenous peoples in settler colonial Canada, particularly in hosting the Olympic Games on treaty lands as well as those territories that remain treaty-less (unceded). Christine remains committed to researching, writing, and teaching in areas related to sport, Olympic, and Indigenous histories to support the advancement of Indigenous rights in settler colonial Canada, and beyond.

Selected publications


Co-guest editor. BC Studies: (Un)Settling the Islands: Race, Indigeneity, and the Transpacific (Special Issues), no. 204, (Winter 2019/20). 

Co-guest editor. Journal of Sport History: Indigenous Resurgence, Regeneration, and Decolonization through Sport History 46, no. 2 (Summer 2019). 

Co-editor. Intersections and Intersectionalities in Olympic and Paralympic Studies. London: International Centre for Olympic Studies, 2014.

 Selected Articles: 

“Free, Prior, and Informed Consent: The Olympic Movement’s International Responsibilities to Indigenous Peoples in Canada, and Globally.” Journal of Sport History: Indigenous Resurgence, Regeneration, and Decolonization through Sport History 46, no. 2 (Summer 2019): 224-241.

“Humour, Irony, and Indigenous Peoples: A Re-Reading of the Historical Record of the 1904 St. Louis Olympic Lacrosse Championship.” Sport History Review 48, no. 2 (2017): 168-184. 

“‘Ready to Step-Up and Hold the Front Line’: Transitioning from Sport History to Indigenous Studies, and Back Again.” The International Journal of the History of Sport 34. no. 5-6 (2017): 420-426. 

“‘The Olympics Do Not Understand Canada’: Canada and the Rise of Olympic Protest.” In Sport, Protest, and Globalisation: Stopping Play, edited by J. Dart & S. Wagg, 227-255. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2016. 

“From Black Power to Indigenous Activism: The Olympic Movement and the Marginalization of Oppressed Peoples (1968-2012).” Journal of Sport History 42, no. 2 (2015): 200-219.

          * 2015 Article of the Year, Journal of Sport History  

“Showdown at Eagleridge Bluffs’: The 2010 Vancouver Olympic Winter Games, the Olympic Sustainability Smokescreen, and the Protection of Indigenous Lands. In Intersectionalities in Olympic and Paralympic Studies, edited by Janice Forsyth, Christine O’Bonsawin and Michael Heine, 82-88. London: International Centre for Olympic Studies, 2014. 

“Indigenous Peoples and Canadian-Hosted Olympic Games.” In Aboriginal Peoples and Sport in Canada: Historical Foundations and Contemporary Issues, edited by Janice Forsyth and Audrey R. Giles, 35-63. Vancouver: UBC Press, 2013.               

          * 2014 NASSH Anthology Award (chapter contribution) 

 “‘There Will Be No Law that Will Come Against Us’: An Important Episode of Indigenous Resistance and Activism in Olympic History.” In A Handbook of Olympic Studies, edited by Helen Jefferson Lenskyj and Stephen Wagg, 474-486. Hampshire: Palgrave University Press, 2012. 

“Igniting a Resistance Movement: Understanding Indigenous Opposition to the 2010 Olympic Torch Relay.” In Critical Dialogues on the Olympic and Paralympic Games, edited by Janice Forsyth and Michael Heine, 99-104. London: International Centre for Olympic Studies, 2012.  

 “‘No Olympics on Stolen Native Land’: Contesting Olympic Narratives and Asserting Indigenous Rights within the Discourse of the 2010 Vancouver Games.” Sport in Society 13, no. 1 (201), 143-156.



HSTR 328B      Indigenous-Settler Relations in Canada
HSTR 385B History of the Modern Olympic Games
IS 101 Indigenous Studies Foundations
IS 201 Introduction to Indigenous Studies  
IS 400 Special Topics: Indigeneity, Research, and the Academy
IS 400 Special Topics: Indigenous Theory and Applied Pathways

Grad Students


Alana Sayers, PhD (English), “Indigenous Literature and Nuu-Chah-Nulth Literary Transformations” (in progress). 

Carla Osborne, PhD (History), “‘We Know Where We Are’: The Role of Place in Indigenous Historiography By Haudenosaunee and Northwest Métis Historians” (in progress). 

Kristina Celli, MA (History), “Urban Indigenous Child Welfare in British Columbia, 1975-1995” (in progress).

Kalin Bullman, MA (History), “Not the Hole Story: Exclusivity at the Colwood Golf and Country Club, 1913-1934” (2018). 

Megan McKenna, MA (Exercise Science, Physical & Health Eduction), “Ec k yúcwementwecw-ep (Take care of each other): Exploring Sport in the Lives of Urban Living Indigenous Women” (2018). 

Taylor McKee, MA (History), “Sport, Not Savagery: Resistance to Hockey Violence in BC Media, 1875-1911” (2015).