Indigenous Canadians are leading a clean energy boom; Arctic archaeology; Housing & urbanism

A newsletter from a fellow Canadian organization in the Bay Area.

Canadian Studies Announcements

In This Issue:

Upcoming Events

  • “Fragility and Resilience: Climate Change and Arctic Archaeology”

Local News

  • UToronto / UC Berkeley urbanist Karen Chapple featured on KQED Forum

News From Canada

  • Indigenous Canadians lead country’s green energy boom

External Events

  • “Antiquities and the Far Right in Settler Colonies: A View from Canada”
  • “A New Horizon of Opportunity: Canada in the Indo-Pacific”


If you require an accommodation to fully participate in an event, please let us know at least 10 days in advance.

Fragility and Resilience: Climate Change and Arctic Archaeology

Wed., April 5 | 12:30 pm PT | 223 Philosophy | RSVP

The human history of the North American Arctic has been a cycle of expansions and contractions, of mobility and migration, and of fragility and resilience. Archaeology brings a long-term perspective to the relationship between humans and the arctic environment. More recently, however, the face of archaeological research and knowledge production has undergone rapid change, particularly in the past decade. Just as geneticists and isotopic chemists have discovered the wealth of information locked in the archaeological record of the arctic, these formerly frozen sites are rapidly melting or eroding into the sea. In addition, Inuit scholars and communities are redefining their relationship with archaeology and archaeologists. Based on the author’s own field work, this talk focuses on the historical ecology of Smith Sound at the northern edge of what is now Canada and Greenland. New questions and new methods have enhanced our understanding of a place that exemplifies both isolation and long-distance social bonds, precariousness and resilience.

Note: The speaker will share artifacts from excavations in Greenland at the in-person presentation.

About the Speaker

Dr. Christyann Darwent is a professor of anthropology at UC Davis. She is originally from Calgary, where she completed her undergraduate degree in archaeology and undertook her first of several field seasons in the Canadian High Arctic 30 years ago. After receiving her M.A. at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, and a Ph.D. from the University of Missouri, she started her career at UC Davis in 2001. Since then, she has conducted NSF-sponsored archaeological excavations in Kotzebue Sound, Alaska and Inglefield Land, Greenland. For the past decade her lab has also been conducting archaeological research near the Native village of Shaktoolik in Norton Sound, Alaska. In addition to studies of past subsistence practices and social organization among Inuit, Inughuit, Inupiaq, and Yup’ik occupants of the Arctic over the past 1000 years, she has published on the history of Inuit sled dogs using ancient and modern DNA.

This event is co-sponsored by the Department of Anthropology and the Archaeological Research Facility (ARF).


UToronto / UC Berkeley Urbanist Karen Chapple Featured on KQED Forum

Dr. Karen Chapple, director of the School of Cities at the University of Toronto, was a featured guest on an episode of KQED Forum that aired last week. Professor Chapple, who studies economic development, housing, and inequality in North American cities, was invited to address the future of downtown San Francisco following the recent collapse in demand for office space. In a perspective informed by Toronto’s similar housing issues, she discussed challenges facing the conversion of old office buildings to housing, as well as issues of broader regional planning currently facing the greater Bay Area.

In addition to her appointment at the University of Toronto, Dr. Chapple is a professor emerita of city and regional planning at UC Berkeley’s College of Environmental Design. She has served as an advisor to Hildebrand Fellow Taesoo Song, who is studying the effects of Ontario’s Non-Resident Speculation Tax on immigrant communities in Toronto.


Indigenous Canadians lead country’s green energy boom

Canada is well-known as among the world’s largest energy economies, with the sector forming over 10% of the country’s GDP. At the same time, the country is globally recognized as an advocate for climate change solutions. While Canada’s energy industry has traditionally been dominated by oil and gas, both ordinary Canadians and their leaders have recently prioritized greening the sector. Earlier this year, Prime Minister Trudeau announced a national net-zero emissions by 2050, and thanks to both strong government support and public interest, Canada has seen an explosion of green energy projects in recent years.

What’s less well known is that much of this “green” sea change is being led by Indigenous communities across the nation. Over the last few years, Native entities have become key investors in this field. According to a 2020 report by advocacy group Indigenous Clean Energy Social Enterprise (ICE), Indigenous groups have meaningful involvement in over 197 medium-to-large projects across the country, a number that’s only grown in the last three years. These investments are now so substantial that ICE estimates that Indigenous groups have some level of ownership or defined benefit agreement for over 20% of Canada’s energy infrastructure.

This heavy investment by band governments into renewables isn’t accidental. It addresses two key priorities for these communities, and it comes at a time when their interests dovetail with Federal policies around the environment and Reconciliation. For one, these projects advance with the values of sustainability and environmental stewardship that Indigenous peoples have long espoused. But these projects also advance their goals of sovereignty and economic self-reliance. Indigenous communities are increasingly pushing for greater control over new projects on their lands. For many, this includes a partial stake in new infrastructure, if not outright ownership, in lieu of the employment agreements or financial compensation typical in past projects.

A recent Canadian Studies Hildebrand Fellow, Aaron Gregory, received research funding to study one of these projects in 2021. Gregory, now an assistant professor of Native American Studies at Cal Poly Humboldt, traveled to British Columbia to study a sea energy project developed through cooperation between the Scia’new First Nation and the provincial government. Typical of this push for Native self-empowerment, the project challenges a provincial energy monopoly and increases the band’s economic self-sufficiency, all while providing a better quality of life to local residents. As Indigenous communities develop greater experience in the sector, experts predict that similar projects will only increase their share of Canada’s energy production in coming years.

Image: St. Leon Wind Farm, Manitoba. Photo by Loozrboy on Wikimedia Commons.


Antiquities and the Far Right in Settler Colonies: A View from Canada

Tuesday, March 21 | 5:30 pm PT | Online | RSVP

The “Freedom Convoy” protestors who occupied Ottawa and several Canadian locations in the winter 2022 raised millions of dollars via online platforms, most notably GiveSendGo. In mid-February 2022, a list of these donors was leaked to journalists and researchers, providing a glimpse at the motivations of those who give financial support to white nationalism. It also gives us a window into the uses and abuses of ancient-to-modern history by individuals (c)overtly supporting such movements, and, thereby, poses serious questions regarding the political impacts of historical illiteracy.

In this presentation, Dr. Katherine Blouin (associate professor of Ancient History and Classics, University of Toronto) will present the preliminary results of an ongoing research project dedicated to the use of historical references in the Freedom Convoy fundraising campaign.

This event is sponsored by the Archaeological Institute of America San Francisco as part of their Ellen And Charles S. La Follette Lecture Series.

A New Horizon of Opportunity: Canada in the Indo-Pacific

Thurs., March 30 | 6:00 pm PT | San Francisco, CA | Buy tickets

The Indo-Pacific is rapidly becoming the global center of economic dynamism and strategic challenge. Encompassing 40 economies, more than 4 billion people and more than one-third of all economic activity worldwide—what happens in the region will play a critical role in shaping the future of the international order.

Join the Consulate General of Canada at the Commonwealth Club in San Francisco for a thought-provoking discussion examining the role and significance of Canada’s enhanced engagement in building a peaceful, prosperous and sustainable Indo-Pacific region. Consul General Rana Sarkar and Dr. Yves Tiberghien, professor of political science, Konwakai Chair in Japanese Research, and director of the Center for Japanese Research at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada, will hold a fireside chat exploring this new horizon of opportunity, as well as the importance of the Bay Area as an international cultural, commercial and financial hub and vital gateway to the Indo-Pacific region. The discussion will be moderated by Ian McCuaig, chair of Asia-Pacific Affairs Forum for the Commonwealth Club of California.

Tickets are available to attend either in person or online.

Canadian Studies Program
213 Moses Hall #2308
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Canadian Studies Program | Univ. of California, Berkeley213 Moses Hall #2308Berkeley, CA 94720

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