Dr. Christine O'Bonsawin

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

BA (Brock), MA, PhD (Western)

Area of expertise

Indigenous History, Colonialism, Decolonization, Sport and Olympic History

Office Hours

Summer 2024: No office hours


I am an Abenaki scholar and member of the Odanak Nation. I consider myself an interdisciplinary scholar with training in History and Sociocultural Studies in Kinesiology, and teaching experience in History, Indigenous Studies, and Social Justice Studies.

My research interests include Indigenous histories, colonialism, and decolonization, with a particular focus on the phenomenon of sport and the importance of physical activity in the lives of Indigenous peoples. My recent scholarship takes up questions regarding the experiences of Indigenous women, girls, and Two-Spirit people in sport, as well as legal, political, and land rights of Indigenous peoples in sporting spaces such as hosting the Olympic Games and other major sporting events on unceded Indigenous territories.

Awards and Honours

2023        John R. Betts Honour Address, North American Society for Sport History

2022        Distinguished Scholar, Centre for Sociocultural Sport and Olympic Research,
               California State University, Fullerton

2021        Həuistəŋ Award, Faculty of Humanities, University of Victoria

2015        Article of the Year, Journal of Sport History 

Selected publications








Books and Edited Collections

Decolonizing Sport (co-editor). Fernwood Press, 2023.

Challenging Racist British Columbia: 150 Years and Counting (co-author). University of Victoria and Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, 2021.

BC Studies: (Un)Settling the Islands: Race, Indigeneity, and the Transpacific (special issue, co-editor), no. 204 (Winter 2019/20).

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

Intersections and Intersectionalities in Olympic and Paralympic Sport (co-editor). International Centre for Olympic Studies, 2014.

Selected Articles and Chapters

“The Winter Games at Mohkinstsis: Settler Colonial Roots of Olympic Environmentalism and the Disavowal of Indigenous Rights.” In The Winter Olympics and Half a Century of Protest and Resistance in/through Sport, ed. Russell Field. Champaign: University of Illinois Press (Forthcoming, 2024).

“Olympism at Face Value: The Legal Feasibility of Indigenous-led Olympic Games.” In Decolonizing Sport, eds. Janice Forsyth, Christine O’Bonsawin, Russell Field, and Murray Phillips, 114-134. Halifax: Fernwood Press (2023).

“To Respect Indigenous Territorial Protocol: Hosting the Olympic Games on Indigenous Lands in Settler Colonial Canada.” In Indigenous Resurgence in an Age of Reconciliation, eds. Heidi Kiiwetinepinesiik Stark, Amiée Craft, and Hokulani Aikau, 191-204. Toronto: University of Toronto Press (2023).

“Wearing My Heart of My Sleeve: Transgressing the Traditional Boundaries of Sport History.” Sport History Review 53, no. 2 (2022), 157-160.

“The 1936 Internationale Tanzwettspiele, Canadian Settler Colonialism, and the Appropriation of Indigenous Customs” (with Michael Heine). Journal of Olympic Studies (2022), 49-71.

“Past and Future Considerations: Indigenous Sport History in Canada” (with Janice Forsyth). In Routledge Handbook of Sport History, eds. Murray Phillips, Doug Booth, and Carly Adams, 295-302. Oxford: Routledge (2021).

“The Assertion of Canada’s Colonial Self in National and International Sport.” In Sport and Recreation in Canadian History, ed. Carly Adams, 275-302. Champaign: Human Kinetics (2020).

“Free, Prior, and Informed Consent: The Olympic Movement’s International Responsibilities to Indigenous Peoples in Canada, and Across the Globe.” Journal of Sport History 46, no. 2 (2019), 224-221.

“Humour, Irony, and Indigenous Peoples: A Re-Reading of the Historical Record of the 1904 St. Louis Olympic Championship.” Sport History Review 49, no. 2 (2017), 168-184.

“‘Ready to Step-Up and Hold the Front Line’: Transition from Sport History to Indigenous Studies, and Back Again.” The International 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, eds. Jon Dart and Stephen 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), 200-2019. 
Winner of the 2015 Journal of Sport History Article of the Year Award


HSTR 328B      Indigenous-Settler Relations in Canada since 1850
HSTR 385B History of the Modern Olympic Games
HSTR 427 Seminar in Indigenous History of Canada
IS 101 Indigenous Foundations
IS 201 Introduction to Indigenous Studies  
IS 301 Critical Indigenous Theory
IS 350 Methods, Ethics, Protocols
SJS 100 Introduction to Theories of Social Justice Studies