Daniel Sims

Daniel Sims is Saschuchan from the Tomah-Izony family of the Tsay Keh Dene First Nation in British Columbia and comes from a long line of community-based Indigenous historians. He is an Associate Professor and Chair of First Nations Studies at the University of Northern British Columbia. His research focuses on his nation: the Tsek’ehne. Comprised of the Kwadacha, McLeod Lake, and Tsay Keh Dene First Nations there traditional territory is the Finlay-Parsnip watershed and Peace River country in northern British Columbia. You can hear him talk about his research here https://youtu.be/334hCPko480

Sims is currently turning his highly-regarded PhD dissertation “Dam Bennett: The Impacts of the W.A.C. Bennett Dam and Williston Lake Reservoir on the Tsek’ehne of Northern British Columbia” into a book for publication. Examining the destruction of the heart of Tsek’ehne traditional territory in 1968, this work is the result of numerous interviews with almost all of the remaining Tsek’ehne Elders and is the first examination of the impacts of the Bennett Dam to include all three Tsek’ehne nations and provide a Tsek’eh perspective on this national tragedy. In addition to this book, he has published a number of articles examining various aspects of Tsek’ehne history and has worked in recent years with a colleague in Scandinavian Studies, Dr. Ingrid Urberg, to publish the first scholarly English edition of the memoirs of Norwegian free trader Einar Mortensen. He also regularly provides commentary to the local newspaper on events involving Indigenous peoples in the news and has increasingly joined larger conversations regarding Indigenization and decolonization both within and outside the academy, with the latter most notably involving Parks Canada and the Historic Sites and Monument Board of Canada.

Sims’ work also extends to an examination of concepts of “wilderness” and failed economic developments in Finlay-Parsnip watershed and the critical examination of the theoretical framework that was used to justify colonialism in northern British Columbia, including the use of narrative forgetting.

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Select Recent Publications

“Balloon Bombs, the Alaskan Highway and Influenza: Tsek’ehne Perspectives of the 1943 Flu Epidemic,” BC Studies, no. 203 (2019): 111-130.

“Accrued Many Rights: The Ingenika Tsay Keh Nay, Mennonite Missionaries, and Land Claims in the Late Twentieth Century,” Journal of Mennonite Studies 37 (2019): 87-104.

“‘Not That Kind of Indian:’ The Problem with Generalizing Indigenous Peoples in Contemporary Scholarship and Pedagogy.”  Active History.ca 12 January 2017. https://activehistory.ca/2016/01/not-that-kind-of-indian-the-problem-with-generalizing-indigenous-peoples-in-contemporary-scholarship-and-pedagogy/

“Ware’s Waldo: Hydroelectric Development and the Creation of the Other in British Columbia,” in Sustaining the West: Cultural Responses to Western Environments, Past and Present. Eds. Liza Piper and Lisa Szabo-Jones (Waterloo: Wilfrid Laurier Press, 2015).