Biographies of Indigenous Historians

Allan Downey

(Dakelh, Nak’azdli Whut’en)is an Associate Professor in the Department of History and Indigenous Studies Program at McMaster University. Receiving his Ph.D. in History from Wilfrid Laurier University in 2014, Allan is a recent recipient of the 2019 Canada Prize and a Fulbright Fellowship to Columbia University. Beyond his research and teaching activities, one of his greatest passions is working with Indigenous youth and he volunteers for several Indigenous communities and youth organizations throughout the year.

Downey is the author of the award-winning The Creator’s Game (2018), in which he covers the history of lacrosse in Indigenous communities from the 1860s to the 1990s and argues that while the game was being appropriated in the process of constructing a new identity for the nation-state of Canada, it was also being used by Indigenous peoples to resist residential school experiences, initiate pan-Indigenous political mobilization, and articulate Indigenous sovereignty. You can learn more about the project here: “Reclaiming the Indigenous Roots of Lacrosse,” Tapestry, CBC Radio, September 9, 2018. https://www.cbc.ca/player/play/1163588675997.

Downey is also the Co-Director with Carlee Loft of “Rotinonhsión:ni Ironworkers” (2020), an award-winning digital animation The film studies the history of Haudenosaunee employment in New York City as ironworkers, beginning in the 1880s, through the establishment of “Little Caughnawaga” in Brooklyn in the 1920s, when, the film shows, this new community became a nexus between Haudenosaunee nationhood, family life, labour activism, and self-determination.

Contact Information:

downea2@mcmaster.ca • 905-525-9140

History publications (2010-2020):

Downey, Allan. The Creator’s Game: Lacrosse, Identity, and Indigenous Nationhood. Vancouver: UBC Press, 2018.

Arellano, Alexandra, and Allan Downey.  “Sport-for-Development and the Failure of Aboriginal Subjecthood: Lacrosse as Resurgence in Indigenous Communities.” Journal ofSettler Colonial Studies (October 2018).

Downey, Allan. “Remembering one of Kahnawake’s greatest lacrosse rivalries,” Iorì:wase https://www.academia.edu/26809733/Remembering_One_of_Kahnawakes_Greatest_Lacrosse_Rivalries

Downey, Allan,“Indigenous Brooklyn: Ironworking and the Futurity of Haudenosaunee Nationhood,” History Talks: Queen’s University, February 27, 2020. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JsSZDhTXS2A