Lisa Hall joins Indigenous Studies as new director

Lisa Hall

Lisa Kahaleole Hall has joined UVic as the new director of Indigenous Studies, with a five-year mandate to increase the number of students enrolled in the program, which became a full major in September. 

"I really think it has enormous potential. Indigenous Studies touches on so many areas and the Humanities is an interesting and generative home for it," Hall says. 

She praised former director Associate Professor Christine O'Bonsawin, who established Indigenous Studies as a member of the Department of History, for her vision and perseverance in growing the program. Hall also thanked Associate Professor Jeff Corntassel for acting as interim director last term as she prepared to move from the United States. 

Prior to joining UVic, Hall was an associate professor and chair of the Women’s and Gender Studies program at Wells College, as well as a long-term visiting professor in Cornell University’s American Indian and Indigenous Studies Program. 

As a Kanaka Maoli (Native Hawaiian) scholar, Hall hopes to bring more attention to coastal issues during her time as director, extending attention to the ocean as part of land-based pedagogies. 

Hall notes the geographic and political complexities of indigeneity within Canada and beyond as a key issue for the program’s development. 

“For me, one big thing about Indigenous Studies is to figure out how to be good guests, good visitors, and to build better relationships.” 

She says those relationships extend beyond the binary of Indigenous and non-Indigenous people to include community-based cultural organizing, as well as recognizing and compensating elders who contribute knowledge from outside the academy. 

“Indigenous Studies is committed to developing better and more ethical relationships with everyone around us,” Hall says.