Northern Development and Circumpolar Affairs

In my role as Canada Research Chair and Director, International Centre for Northern Governance and Development, I am pursuing some significant projects related to northern Saskatchewan. I am currently working on three major initiatives:

Circumpolar Innovation: I am examining the nature and extent of innovation in the Circumpolar world, with a view to gaining lessons for Northern Saskatchewan. I am particularly interested in innovative approaches to the delivery of governments and efforts to commercialize scientific and technological discoveries.

North Below the North: I am working with Greg Poelzer on a study of the circumpolar sub-Arctic. With much of the political attention focused on the High Arctic, much less study is being devoted to the more heavily populated and economically important sub-Arctic. This study is looking at the socio-economic and political evolution of this vital region, of which northern Saskatchewan is a crucial part.

Northern Saskatchewan Human Development Project: Northern Saskatchewan faces significant socio-economic problems, ranging from unemployment and below average incomes to challenges sustaining traditional economic activity. We do not, however, have a proper baseline for understanding the regional and public policy issues that are vital for the future of northern Saskatchewan. This socio-economic study, a centre-piece of the International Centre for Northern Governance and Development and undertaken with Greg Poelzer, will be maintained as a long-term initiative in order to chart changes related to government policy and northern economic activity.


  • The Contemporary Canadian North

Northern Review 2012


Senior Editor, Northern Review, Issue No. 1 to present.




The Political Economy of the Provincial North, ed. By Greg Poelzer, Ken Coates and Heather Exner-Pirot (Submitted to UBC Press in 2013).

The Power to Transform


“The Power to Transform: The Kemano Power Project and the Debate about the Future of Northern British Columbia,” Journal of Northern Studies, No.1-2 (2007).



Northern Review 2005


“Reconciliation in Northern British Columbia?  Future Prospects for Aboriginal Newcomer Relations,” The Northern Review, 25/26 (Summer 2005).  With W.R. Morrison.



Northern Review 1994


“The Rediscovery of the North: Towards a Conceptual Framework for Northern/Remote Regions Studies,” Northern Review, 12/13 (Summer 1994/Winter 1995).



“So Far From Power: The Politics of the Yukon Territory,” in K. Brownsey and M. Howlett, eds. Politics in the Provinces: Social Change and Canada’s Provincial Governments (Toronto: Copp Clark Pitman, 1992).  With W.R. Morrison.

“Academic Versus Community-Based Scholarship in the Canadian North: Reflections on an Uneasy Relationship,”  The Role of Circumpolar Universities in Northern Development (Thunder Bay: Lakehead University Centre for Northern Studies, 1991). With W.R. Morrison.

“Yukon and Northwest Territories: The Emerging North of Native and Non-Native Societies,” in Peter Jull, ed. The Challenge of Northern Regions (Canberra: Australian National University, 1991).

“Towards an Indigenous Scholarship: The Case for a Northern-Based Research Capacity in Canada,” The Northern Review, No. 5 (Fall 1990).

The Modern North


The Modern North: People, Politics and the Rejection of Colonialism.  (Toronto: James Lorimer, 1989).  With Judith Powell



Northern Communities: The Prospects for Empowerment (Edmonton: Boreal Institute, 1988).  With Gurston Dacks

  • Northern Canadian History

Tourism and war


“Tourism Shaped by War:  The Unusual Evolution of Tourism in the Far Northwest of North America,” in Richard Butler and Wantanee Suntikul, eds., Tourism and War (London: Routledge, 2012), with W.R. Morrison.





Arctic Front: Defending Canada in the Far North  (Thomas Allen Publishers, 2008). With P. Whitney Lackenbauer, William R. Morrison, Greg Poelzer.



The New North in Canadian History and Historiography


“The New North in Canadian History and Historiography,” History Compass, no. 6 (2008). With William R. Morrison.



Northern Review 2007


“Founding of the University of Northern British Columbia,” The Northern Review, no. 27, 4/20 (Fall 2007).



The Road, Constructing the Alaska Highway (Library and Archives Canada Cataloguing in Publication, 2007). With Andrew Hunter and Catherine Crowston.

Land of the Midnight Sun


Land of the Midnight Sun: A History of the Yukon Territory.  (Edmonton: Hurtig Publishing, 1988).  Second Edition (Montreal: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2005). With W.R. Morrison.



Strange Things Done


Strange Things Done:  Murder in Yukon History (McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2004).  With W.R. Morrison.



Apostle of the North


An Apostle of the North:  Memoirs of the Right Reverend William Carpenter Bompas (Edmonton: University of Alberta Press, 2002).  Revised Edition, with a substantial introduction. With W.R. Morrison.



Parallel Destinies


“Border Crossings: The Boundary in the History and Historiography of the Pacific Northwest,” in Ken Coates and John Findlay, eds., Parallel Destinies: Canadian-American Relations West of the Rockies (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 2002).


Northern VisionsNorthern Visions: The History and Historiography of the Canadian North (Broadview Press, 2001). With Kerry Abel.

“The North and the Nation: The Canadian North in the History of Canada,” in Kerry Abel and Ken Coates, eds., Northern Visions: new perspectives on the North in Canadian History, Broadview, NY, 2001. With Kerry Abel


“Winter and the Shaping Northern Canadian History,” in Northern Visions. Broadview, NY, 2001. With W.R. Morrison

“Winter and the Shaping of Northern History: Reflections from the Canadian North,” in Ingi Sigurðsson and Jón Skaptason, eds. Papers from the Circumpolar History Conference (Reykjavik: University of Iceland, 2000). With W.R. Morrison

The Canadian Encyclopedia (first and second editions), numerous articles on the Canadian North.

The Klondike Gold Rush in International Perspective (Whitehorse: Northern Review, 1999). With Colin Coates.

“The Front Line of Canadian Prosperity:  Remote Camps in Canadian History,” Proceedings of the 1st Cold Regions Specialty Conference of the Canadian Society for Civil Engineering, 1999.

To Make These Tribes Understand


“To Make These Tribes Understand”: The Trial of Alikomiak and Tatamigana.” Arctic vol. 51, no. 3 (September 1998).  With W.R. Morrison.



Facsimile the Canadian North
Guest Co-Editor, The Canadian North, Facsimile (Newsletter of the Canadian Institute for Historical Microreproductions), No. 20 (November 1998).

“Reading the North: CIHM and Human History North of 60,” Facsimile no. 20 (November 1998).


Canada Portraits of Faith


“William Carpenter Bompas,” in Michael Clarke, ed., Canada: Portraits of Faith (Chilliwack: Reel to Real Ministries, 1998).


Encarta Encyclopedia (CD-ROM edition), articles on Iqaluit and Yellowknife.

Aboriginal Peoples and Government in the Canadian North: The Yukon Government and Yukon First Nations–Examining an Evolving Relationship, (Ottawa: Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples, 1997) Available on For Seven Generations: An Information Legacy of the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples (CD-ROM).

Hardly A Grand Design: Aboriginal Resettlement in the Yukon Territory After World War II. (Ottawa: Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples, 1997). Available on For Seven Generations: An Information Legacy of the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples (CD-ROM).

“A Drunken Impulse:” Aboriginal Culture Meets Canadian Law in the Canadian North, Western History (Fall 1997).  With W.R. Morrison

“Boundaries and the Pacific Northwest: The Historical and Contemporary Significance of Borders in Western North America,” in Lars-Folke Lanbdgren and Maunu Häyrynen, eds., The Dividing Line: Borders and National Peripheries (Helsinki: Renvall Institute, 1997).

“Writing the North,” in Sherrill Grace, ed., Essays in Canadian Writing (1997).  With W.R. Morrison.

“War-Time Boom Town: Fort St. John, British Columbia During World War II,” Journal of the West, vol. 36, no 4 (October 1997).

Historiography of the Provincial Norths


The Historiography of the Northern Provinces (Thunder Bay: Centre for Northern Studies, 1996). With W.R. Morrison.



Out of the Background


“Upsetting the Rhythms: The Federal Government and the Evolution of Native Life in the Yukon Territory, 1945-1970,” in Dacks and Coates, eds., Northern Communities: The Prospects for Empowerment (Edmonton: Boreal Institute, 1988).  Reprinted in Ken Coates and Robin Fisher, eds., Out of the Background, 2nd Edition (Toronto: Copp Clark Pitman, 1996).


Interpreting Alaska's History


“Controlling the Periphery: The Territorial Administrations of the Yukon and Alaska, 1867-1959,” Pacific Northwest Quarterly, vol. 78, no. 4 (October 1987).  Reprinted in Steven Haycox and Mary Mangusso, eds., Interpreting Alaska’s History (Seattle, 1996).


Lobsticks and Stone Cairns

Robert Campbell (1808-1894), John Bell (1796-1868), and James Green Stewart (1825-1881), in Richard Davis, Lobsticks and Stone Cairns (Calgary: University of Calgary Press, 1996).


Indigenous Peoples in Remote Regions

Indigenous Peoples in Remote Regions: Comparative Perspectives (Thunder Bay: Centre for Northern Studies, 1995).  With John Taylor.

“Indigenous Land Rights in Comparative Perspective,” in Ken Coates and John Taylor, eds.,  Indigenous Peoples in Remote Regions: Comparative Perspectives (Thunder Bay: Centre for Northern Studies, 1995).  With Brenda Clark.


Consuming Canada


“Native People and the Alaska Highway,” in Chad Gaffield and Pam Gaffield, eds., Consuming Canada: Readings in Environmental History (Toronto: Copp Clark Ltd., 1995). With W.R. Morrison.



BC Studies 1994

Guest Editor, Special Thematic Issue on Northern British Columbia, BC Studies (Winter 1994/1995).

“The Federal Government and Urban Development in Northern Canada After World War II: Whitehorse and Dawson City, Yukon Territory,” BC Studies (Winter 1994/1995).  With W.R. Morrison.


The North’s Divided Dreams: The Colonial Past’s Stubborn Legacy, Compass: A Jesuit Journal (Nov/Dec. 1994), pp. 7-10. With Carin Holroyd.

The Far Land


Preface, to Eva McLean, The Far Land (Prince George, Caitlin Press, 1994).




The Klondike Stampede


“Preface,” in Tappan Adney, The Klondike Stampede, reprinted edition (Vancouver: UBC Press, 1994).




Working the North


Working the North: Labor and the Northwest Defence Projects, 1942-1946 (Fairbanks: University of Alaska Press, 1994).  With W.R. Morrison.





“Soldier-Workers: The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Northwest Defense Projects, 1942-1946,”Pacific Historical Review, 1993.  With W.R. Morrison.



“The Army of Occupation: Americans in the Canadian Northwest During World War II,” Journal of the West, Vol. 32, no. 4 (October 1993).  With W.R. Morrison.



“In Whose Best Interest?: The Federal Government and the Native People of Yukon, 1946-1991,” Rebirth: Political, Economic, and Social Development in First Nations (Dundurn Press, Toronto & Oxford, 1993).  With W.R. Morrison.



The Alaska Highway in World War II


The Alaska Highway in World War II: The U.S. Army of Occupation in Canada’s Northwest.  (Norman, OK: University of Oklahoma Press, 1992), also published in Canada (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1992).  With W.R. Morrison.



Law for the Elephant“Controlling the Army of Occupation: Law Enforcement and the Northwest Defense Projects, 1942-1946,”  Law For The Elephant, Law For The Beaver: Essays in the Legal History of the North American West (Regina: Canadian Plains Research Center, University of Regina, 1992). With W.R. Morrison.


The Forgotten North


The Forgotten North: A History of Canada’s Provincial Norths (Toronto: James Lorimer & Company, Publishers, 1992). With W.R. Morrison.



“Les Inuit Canadiens et les Baleiniers,”  Destins Croises, Cinq Siecles de Rencontres Avec Les Amerindiens (Paris: UNESCO, 1992). With W.R. Morrison.

“The Integration and Reintegration of the Yukon River Basin: Reflections on the History of the Yukon-Alaska Boundary,” Locus: An Historical Journal of Regional Perspectives (1992).  With David McCrady and W.R. Morrison.

Best Left as Indians


Best Left as Indians: Native-White Relations and the Yukon Territory (Kingston: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 1991).



Digging into Popular Culture


“Towards a Methodology of Disasters: The Case of the Princess Sophia,” in Ray Browne et al., eds.  Digging into Popular Culture: Theories and Methodologies in Archaeology, Anthropology and Other Fields (Bowling Green, OH: Popular Press, 1991). With W.R. Morrison.


“Scientific Knowledge and Northern Megaprojects: the Role of Academics and Scientists in the Construction of the Alaska Highway and Mackenzie Valley Pipeline Projects,” The Role of Circumpolar Universities in Northern Development (Thunder Bay: Lakehead University Centre for Northern Studies, 1991). With W. R. Morrison.

The Sinking of the Princess Sophia


The Sinking of the Princess Sophia: Taking the North Down With Her (Toronto: Oxford University Press, 1990).  Revised U.S. edition.  (Fairbanks: University of Alaska Press, 1991). With W.R. Morrison.



North to Alaska


North to Alaska: Fifty Years in the World’s Most Remarkable Highway (Toronto: McClelland and Stewart, 1991).



The North Treasure Trove


The North: Treasure Trove or Partner in Confederation?: Historian Ken Coates explains what the North is and what it wants, interview by Jeremy Mouat, Aurora (Spring 1990), 19-24.



For the Purposes of Dominion: Essays on Government and the Canadian North in Honour of Morris Zaslow (Toronto: Captus Press, 1989).  With W.R. Morrison.

“The Federal Government and Economic Development in the Yukon Territory: Historical and Contemporary Perspectives,” in Ken Coates and W.R. Morrison, eds., For the Purposes of Dominion: Essays on Government and the Canadian North (Toronto: Captus Press, 1989).

“On the Move: Reflections on the Impact of Non-Native Transciency on the Yukon Territory, in Arctic Institute of North America,” Old Pathways and New Directions: Towards a Sustainable Future (Calgary: Arctic Institute of North America, 1989), pp. 1-14.

“The Sinking of the Princess Sophia: A Missing Element in the Cultural History of the Canadian Northwest,” Northwest Folklore, vol. 7, no. 1 (Spring 1989).

Alaska History 1989


“Whitehorse and the Building of the Alaska Highway,” Alaska History, Summer 1989.  With Judith Powell.



Interpreting the Canadian North: Selected Readings (Toronto: Copp Clark Pitman, 1989).  With W.R. Morrison.

“Transiency in the Far Northwest: The Sinking of the Princess Sophia,” in Ken Coates and W.R. Morrison, eds., Interpreting the Canadian North (Toronto: Copp Clark Pitman, 1989).  With W.R. Morrison.

The Yukon at War, The Beaver (Oct/Nov 1989), 29-34. With W.R. Morrison

Best Left as Indians (journal)


“Best Left as Indians: The Federal Government and the Indians of the Yukon Territory, 1894-1950,” Canadian Journal of Native Studies, Vol. 4, No. 2 (1984). Reprinted in Robin Fisher and Ken Coates, eds., Out of the Background: Readings in Native History (Toronto: Copp Clark Pitman, 1988).


“On the Outside in Their Homeland: Native People and the Evolution of the Yukon Economy,” The Northern Review, No. 1 (Summer 1988).

Guest Editor, Thematic Issues on the Canadian North, History and Social Science Teacher, December 1987.

Indian Education in Canada


“A Very Imperfect Means of Education”: Indian Day Schools in the Yukon Territory, in Jean Barman, Y. Hebert and D. McCaskill, eds., Indian Education in Canada, Vol. 1: The Legacy (Vancouver: UBC Press, 1986).



1885 and After


“More Than a Matter of Blood: The Federal Government, the Churches and the Mixed Blood Populations of the Yukon and the Mackenzie River Valley, 1890-1950,” in F.L. Barron and J.B. Waldram, 1885 and After: Native Society in Transition (Regina: Canadian Plains Research Centre, 1986).  With W.R. Morrison


“Send Only Those Who Rise a Peg, The Recruitment and Use of Anglican Missionaries in the Yukon, 1858-1931,” Journal of the Canadian Church Historical Society (Summer 1986).

The Alaska Highway

The Alaska Highway: Papers of the 40th Anniversary Symposium (Vancouver: UBC Press, 1985).

“The Civilian Highway: Public Works Canada and the Alaska Highway, 1964-83,” in K. Coates, ed., The Alaska Highway (Vancouver: UBC Press, 1985).

“The Alaska Highway and the Indians of the Southern Yukon, 1942-50: A Study of Native Adaptation to Northern Development,” in ibid.



Canada’s Colonies: A History of the Yukon and Northwest Territories (Toronto: James Lorimer and Company, 1985).




Northern Visions (journal)


“Northern Visions: Recent Historical Writing on the Canadian North,” Manitoba History (Autumn 1985).  With W.R. Morrison.



“The Kennicott Network: Robert Kennicott and the Far Northwest,” Yukon Historical and Museums Association, Proceedings, No. 2 (1984).

“Protecting the Monopoly: The Hudson’s Bay Company and Contemporary Knowledge of the Far Northwest,” Yukon Historical and Museums Association, Proceedings, No. 2 (1984).

Furs along the Yukon


“Furs Along the Yukon: Hudson’s Bay Company–Native Trade in the Yukon River Valley, 1893-1983,” BC Studies, No. 55 (1982).



The Northern Yukon: A History.  Manuscript Report No. 403 (Ottawa: Parks Canada, 1979).