Susan Neylan was the 2005-06 Fulbright Canada visiting scholar from Wilfrid Laurier University. Dr. Neylan’s historical research project explored the British Columbia/Washington state border as a permeable zone of spiritual exchange among Salishan Aboriginal peoples. Dr. Neylan is interested in the Pacific Northwest borderlands, and how religious ideas, both old beliefs and new, were disseminated from native group to native group in the multiethnic, cross-cultural environment of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. By locating the extent to which Aboriginal cultures and individuals shaped Christianity at the local level, in ways that did not negate the influence of pre-existing forms of spirituality, she seeks to better understand the process of religious change. Moreover, her project explored how imbalanced power relations and Christian colonialism worked within a region and across an international border.
Dr. Neylan has established herself as one of the foremost authorities on the missionary aspect of Canadian native history and as one of the leading young scholars in Canadian religious history. She has published widely and has given numerous conference presentations in this field, earning her a SSHRC Standard Research Grant to continue her work in the Tsimshian area. Dr. Neylan holds a Bachelor of Arts in English and History from the University of Toronto, a Master of Arts in History from the University of Toronto and a Ph.D. in History from the University of British Columbia.