UVic experts contribute to new book on anti-racism

Human and Social Development, Humanities

- University of Victoria

Cover art (above) from book jacket: Painting, “Flight Through the Four Winds," by Master Carver Ahtsik-sta Qwayachiik (Sanford Williams); design by John Endo Greenaway; landscape photo is CC license.

A new book that launches Feb. 25 delves into the long history of racist policies impacting Indigenous, Black and racialized communities in BC and ties those histories to present-day anti-racist movements. Challenging Racist British Columbia: 150 Years and Counting was co-written by seven authors including three scholars from the University of Victoria who are available today for comment to media:

Christine O’Bonsawin (History / Indigenous Studies) is an Abenaki (Odanak) scholar whose research interests focus on sport and Indigenous histories and whose teaching covers theoretical questions related to Indigeneity. 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 for other mega-sporting events that take place on treaty lands or on Indigenous territories that remain unceded, as well as the politics of such “inclusion” in the Games.

Nick XEMŦOLTW̱ Claxton (Child and Youth Care) is an expert in the revitalization and resurgence of Indigenous knowledge through community-based and land-based enquiry. The elected chief of Tsawout Nation, Claxton was born and raised in his homeland of WSÁNEĆ and is a UVic alumnus with three degrees from the university. He holds a bachelor’s in psychology, a master’s in Indigenous governance and a PhD in curriculum and instruction which he completed in 2016 while working as UVic’s Indigenous Education Advisor. His doctoral dissertation focused on revitalizing the reef net fishery, a fishing practice unique to the Straits Salish people and banned by the colonial government 100 years ago.

John Price (History) is a historian and the coordinator of this new book. A professor emeritus, Price has worked closely with Asian Canadian communities in Victoria and Vancouver and has extensive experience conducting archival work including as director of the Chinese Canadian Artifacts Project. He is also the author of Orienting Canada: Race, Empire and the Transpacific and co-editor (along with O’Bonsawin) of a special issue, “(Un)Settling the Islands: Race, Indigeneity and the Transpacific,” in January 2020 of the journal BC Studies.

The four other authors are: Denise Fong, UBC PhD candidate and co-curator of two recent Chinese Canadian exhibitions on the Lower Mainland; Fran Morrison, director with the BC Black History Awareness Society and project manager for the society's new exhibit at Digital Museums Canada; Maryka Omatsu, judge and member of the negotiating team that won the 1988 redress agreement with the federal government, and national advisor to the National Association of Japanese Canadians; Sharanjit Sandhra, UBC PhD candidate and coordinator of the South Asian Studies Institute at the University of the Fraser Valley, and co-curator of exhibits at the Sikh Heritage Museum on the Lower Mainland.

The new, 80-page, illustrated booklet was published by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives - BC Office and Asian Canadians on Vancouver Island: Race, Indigeneity and the Transpacific (ACVI), a UVic research project directed by Price and funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council.

The book will be available for free download today on the CCPA-BC website (policyalternatives.ca/challengingracistbc) and on the ACVI website (https://challengeracistbc.ca/).


In this story

Keywords: racism, curriculum and instruction, child and youth care, Indigenous, history, colonialism, human rights

People: Nick Claxton, Christine O’Bonsawin, John Price

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