Lucas Olson

PhD, International Studies, Haida/Xaad-Kíl
A young man in a dark suit with a blue striped tie, wearing glasses and his dark hair pulled into a low bun, speaks into a podium microphone.


Lucas Olson, doctoral candidate in International Studies, was awarded a summer FLAS fellowship to gain proficiency in X̱aad Kíl or the Haida language.

I am a doctoral candidate at the Jackson School of International Studies, and my research focuses on lessons learned from Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation process that are applicable in a U.S. context.  My dissertation compares the two coastal Canada-U.S. borderland regions along the Northwest Coast and highlights how movements for Indigenous cultural revitalization are responding to the contemporary legacies of boarding and residential schools.

Born and raised in the Salish Sea region, my interest in this topic developed out of multiple studying abroad experiences in Canada as an undergraduate at the Jackson School. I was inspired to return to graduate school after building a relationship with the Native American Boarding School Healing Coalition, which is advocating for a Truth and Healing Commission in the United States.

Through language revitalization, the Haida Nation is actively resisting Canadian and U.S. efforts to bisect their homelands through colonial border policies. Their actions to assert self-determination represent a critical counterpoint to the Canadian and U.S. narratives, and their leadership is central to stewarding the interconnected land, air, and water for which we all deeply care.