Born and raised on the Peigan Reserve in Alberta, Eldon Yellowhorn received his Ph.D in anthropology from McGill. While teaching archaeology and First Nations studies at Simon Fraser University, he co-authored the revised and updated version of Alan D. McMillan's survey of First Nations peoples and cultures that was re-titled First Peoples in Canada (D&M, 2004). Dr. Yellowhorn's research work in archaeology stems from his studies of the ancient history of his Piikani ancestors. He studied plains archaeology in academic and public settings before participating in the heritage consulting industry.

When the colony of British Columbia passed the Indian Graves Ordinance in 1865, it was the first public law to ban grave robbing, making all Indigenous cemeteries in B.C. into government property. Such facts arising from any events after 1492 are rare in Turtle Island: The Story of North America's First People (Annick $16.95), an attempt by Eldon Yellowhorn and co-author Kathy Lowinger to describe the Indigenous peoples who lived in North America as far back as fourteen thousand years ago--before Columbus. Primarily based on archaeological finds and scientific research, Turtle Island is for ages eleven and up, with seminal myths opening each chapter. 978-1-55451-943-9

Yellowhorn and Lowinger followed up with what happened after settlers arrived and invaded Indigenous lands in What the Eagle Sees: Indigenous Stories of Rebellion and Renewal. The horrors and deprivations faced by Indigenous people included disease, war, broken promises and forced assimilation. But they fought back and survived. In the face of crushing losses and challenges, they re-built their nations, adopted new ideas and kept their cultures alive. Yellowhorn and Lowinger collected a number of survival stories, like how the Indigenous peoples in the northeast came together to create a stronger front against settlers. Called the Haudenosaunee Confederacy, it is made up of the Mohawk, Oneida, Onondaga, Cayuga, Seneca and Tuscarora -- now referred to as the Six Nations. Formed in 1451, it is the oldest surviving confederacy in the world. The book, for children aged eleven and up, takes its title from one of the most important creatures to Indigenous peoples say Yellowhorn and Lowinger: “Of all the birds and animals, Eagle tells the most important story of all: the story of life.” What the Eagle Sees was shortlisted for the 2020 BC & Yukon Book Prize’s Sheila A. Egoff Children’s Literature Prize. 9781773213286

Dr. Eldon Yellowhorn (Otahkotskina) is from the Piikani First Nation. Growing up on a farm in a rural community brought many opportunities to explore the Oldman River valley and the Porcupine Hills. His early adventures there had a big influence on his decision to pursue a career in palaeontology and archaeology. He received degrees in geography (BSc '83) and archaeology (BA '86) at the University of Calgary. He was awarded a Community Scholar Fellowship by the Smithsonian Institution in 1988 and worked with the curator for North American archaeology in Colorado. He began graduate school at Simon Fraser University, where he studied archaeology (MA '93). He completed his student career at McGill University (PhD '02). He was a member of the design committee that produced the exhibit for the Hall of the First Peoples at the Canadian Museum of Civilization (now the Canadian Museum of History) between 1992 and 2002, when the exhibit opened. He was appointed to faculty at Simon Fraser University in 2002. He was instrumental in establishing the Department of First Nations Studies in 2012 and was its first chair, serving until 2017. He is a long-time member of the Canadian Archaeological Association and served on its executive committee as President (2010-12). His research program brings him back to the Piikani First Nation each summer where he continues to chronicle the historical and contemporary manifestations of Piikani culture.


First Peoples in Canada (D&M 2004)

Turtle Island: The Story of North America's First People (Annick 2017) $16.95 9781554519439. Co-authored with Kathy Lowinger

What the Eagle Sees: Indigenous Stories of Rebellion and Renewal (Annick Press 2019) $16.95 9781773213286. Co-authored with Kathy Lowinger

[BCBW 2020]