Michael Fabris (Krebs)

Research Topic

Assimilation, Place, and Indigenous Identity in the Era of Reconciliation

Research Description

My doctoral research will focus on the experience, negative impacts, and substantial limits of assimilation policies in Canada. My project includes three case studies, which I will examine using a combination of archival research and in-depth interviews: Piikani opposition to the Old Man River Dam; Blackfoot traditional adoption practices; and contemporary urban Indigenous cultural revitalization projects. I have chosen these three areas of study because they provide excellent examples of major assimilation policies and processes in Canada: economic development, the residential school system, and urbanization. My objective is to bring together the valuable insights from these three studies to answer my main research question: How do land relations, past assimilation policies, and the agency of First Nations communities work together to inform contemporary Indigenous identities and ideas of nationhood?

Why did you decide to study at UBC?

There is some amazing scholarship happening at UBC, especially within Geography and the Institute of Critical Indigenous Studies. Given my research, UBC was hands down the best place for me to pursue my doctoral research.

 

Why did you decide to pursue a graduate degree?

I wanted to continue the research and theorizing I had been doing as a long-time Indigenous activist but in a more focused and concerted manner. Graduate school has provided me a crucial space for this. Once I am finished I hope to become a professor, either in Geography or Indigenous Studies.