Morna McEachern (affiliated faculty of the Center, and Program Manager for the Pacific Northwest Canadian Studies Consortium) and John Wagner (Associate Professor, Community, Culture and Global Studies, University of British Columbia, Okanagan) were just awarded a Collaboration Mobility Research Grant to support the annual Columbia River Treaty field course in June 2018. Recognizing the value in building deeper connections within the Cascadia Region, this pilot program seeks to create stronger research networks between faculty members at the University of British Columbia and the UW. The goal of the course is to build transdisciplinary and transborder research alliances. It takes place within the academy and in community, Indigenous, governmental, and business organizations. Place-based storytelling and listening is the research method—stories are exchanged from within and outside the academic disciplines.
The Columbia River Treaty field course is an eight-day, experiential, professional development trip for faculty and graduate students. Scholars from disciplines such as First Nations and Indigenous studies, Columbia River history, environmental and cultural anthropology, social work, biology, geology, fisheries, agriculture, and food security will participate in the course, with a particular emphasis on leadership from Indigenous participants and hosts who are both members of Indigenous communities and scholars. The course focuses on decolonizing the discourse about the Columbia River Treaty and contributing to the effort to add ecosystem values to a modernized Columbia River Treaty between Canada and the United States.
One of the main highlights of the course is a driving tour of significant places and meetings with people whose life work is focused on the Columbia River, including the Chief Joseph Dam and fish hatchery; British Columbia Hydro; a meeting in Castlegar, BC, with the author of The River Captured; the Mica Dam; Kettle Falls; and a Salmon Ceremony hosted by the Okanagan Nation Alliance. The course will end with a day of discussion with additional scholars and activists at University of British Columbia, Okanagan.
The Pacific Northwest Canadian Studies Consortium (PNWCSC) was organized in late 1986 and early 1987 with the mission to facilitate the development of Canadian Studies at institutions of higher education in the Pacific Northwest, and to enhance cooperation, joint programming, and information sharing among Canadian Studies programs and faculty in the Pacific region. The Canadian Studies Center serves as secretariat for the Consortium.