MCDONALD, James Andrew




Author Tags: First Nations

Born on December 10, 1951, James Andrew McDonald has conducted research in northern BC since the late 1970s, primarily with the Tsimshian on contemporary issues.

Dr. James McDonald received his PhD in Anthropology and Sociology at UBC. For more than 30 years, he has worked with indigenous communities throughout Canada, the circumpolar world, and Oceania. Northern British Columbia, Canada has been his area of greatest concentration, especially the area surrounding the City of Terrace where he began a series of studies in 1977 that became the Kitsumkalum Social History Research Projects. In 1990, he was formally adopted by the First Nations community into the House of Nishaywaas and bestowed the protocol name Wii goot.

Terrace is home, but Dr. McDonald worked for ten years in Toronto as Curator at the Royal Ontario Museum, after which he returned to British Columbia in 1994 to the new University of Northern British Columbia (UNBC) to chair the innovative First Nations Studies Department and the Department of Anthropology. He was also an early Director of the UNBC First Nations Centre. In these capacities, Dr. McDonald initiated several curriculum projects with First Nations that resulted in the creation of cultural and language courses, certificates in the specific topic areas of Traditional Knowledge, Nisga’a Studies, Métis Studies, General First Nations Studies, and field schools in archaeology and ethnography.

Dr. McDonald also served three years as the Founding Executive Director of the House of Learning and Applied Research at the Northwest Community College in Terrace. This ‘House’ was established to provide a catalyst for indigenizing the College environment and curricula, give support for applied and experiential research, encourage scholarship in teaching and learning, and disseminate best practices through workshops, dialogues and conferences.

As of 2012, he was Chair of the Council of the University of the Arctic, past President of the Association of Canadian Universities for Northern Studies (ACUNS), and a professor in the Department of Anthropology, UNBC. He has published scholarly books and articles in English and in Russian translation, a series of children’s cultural books, as well as numerous reports for First Nations, Museums, and governments. His scholarly work covers such topics as globalization, colonization and decolonization, community-centred methodologies, research ethics, curriculum development, ethnography, ethnohistory, northern studies, archaeology, and biological anthropology. The research reports cover similar topics but with an applied focus on policy issues.

As Chair of Anthropology at UNBC, he developed that program with strong ties to peoples throughout the circumpolar world, including field schools teaching a strong community-based methodology. In response to McDonald's People of the Robin; The Tsimshian of Kitsumkalum, Canadian Circumpolar Institute (Univesity of Alberta, 2003), Dianne Collins, former Chief Councillor of Kitsumkalum, stated, "It’s important for us to rejoice in the fact that we still feast, that we still have dance groups, that we still have Hereditary Chiefs to uphold, and that we still have our language and that it’s growing stronger and being passed on to the younger ones. We can celebrate that we still have our house groups and Sm’algyax names, the names of our people. We still remember the Sm’algyax names for our landmarks. These are things well worth maintaining and I see us continuing to use them in the future. This is very positive for our people. It gives us a sense of self recognition, history and pride. Bringing forward our culture is a good and a heavy responsibility. This book will contribute to our heritage. It was written with the community, with a lot of community input and direction. Our culture guided the work. The families were consulted and the elders and families participated in the project at all stages. They set the direction, participated in the research, and reviewed the writing. Over the last 2 years, everyone had a chance to have their say, with the result that we can present this book as a community project that reflects the community’s own story."

BOOKS:

People of the Robin: The Tsimshian of Kitsumkalum: a resource book for the Kitsumkalum Education Committee and the Coast Mountain School District 82. With the assistance of the First Nations Education Centre, Coast Mountain School District. (Edmonton: CCI Press, 2003. (Solstice series; no. 1) Co-published by Alberta ACADRE Network. ISBN 1-896445-28-4

2009 Stories of Robin Town: The Robin People. By James Andrew McDonald. Illustrations by Gerald Sampson. Kitsumkalum: Gila Kyew Nluulk Head Start. Series Editor: Brenda Guernsey. ISBN:978-0-9812401-0-7

2009 Stories of Robin Town: The Salmon are Gone. By James Andrew McDonald. Illustrations by Gerald Sampson. Kitsumkalum: Gila Kyew Nluulk Head Start. Series Editor: Brenda Guernsey. ISBN:978-0-9812401-1-4

2009 Stories of Robin Town: Newcomers Arrive. By James Andrew McDonald. Illustrations by Gerald Sampson. Kitsumkalum: Gila Kyew Nluulk Head Start. Series Editor: Brenda Guernsey. ISBN:978-0-9812401-2-1

2011 Stories of Robin Town: The Robin Song. By James Andrew McDonald. Illustrations by Gerald Sampson. Kitsumkalum: Gila Kyew Nluulk Head Start. Series Editor: Brenda Guernsey. ISBN: 978-0-9812401-3-8.

2011 Stories of Robin Town: The House of the Robin Chief. By James Andrew McDonald. Illustrations by Gerald Sampson. Kitsumkalum: Gila Kyew Nluulk Head Start. Series Editor: Brenda Guernsey. ISBN: 978-0-9812401-5-2.

2011 Stories of Robin Town: The Magical Cave. By James Andrew McDonald. Illustrations by Gerald Sampson. Kitsumkalum: Gila Kyew Nluulk Head Start. Series Editor: Brenda Guernsey. ISBN: 978-0-9812401-6-9

2011 Stories of Robin Town: Robin Woman and Duck Woman. By James Andrew McDonald. Illustrations by Gerald Sampson. Kitsumkalum: Gila Kyew Nluulk Head Start. Series Editor: Brenda Guernsey. ISBN: 978-0-9812401-4-5.

[BCBW 2012] "First Nations" "Indianology"