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Social Science Native American Studies

The Power of Place, the Problem of Time

Aboriginal Identity and Historical Consciousness in the Cauldron of Colonialism

by (author) Keith Thor Carlson

University of Toronto Press, Scholarly Publishing Division
Initial publish date
Jan 2011
Native American Studies, Study & Teaching, General
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Jan 2011
    List Price
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Dec 2010
    List Price
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    Dec 2010
    List Price

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The Indigenous communities of the Lower Fraser River, British Columbia (a group commonly called the Stó:lõ), have historical memories and senses of identity deriving from events, cultural practices, and kinship bonds that had been continuously adapting long before a non-Native visited the area directly. In The Power of Place, the Problem of Time, Keith Thor Carlson re-thinks the history of Native-newcomer relations from the unique perspective of a classically trained historian who has spent nearly two decades living, working, and talking with the Stó:lõ peoples.

Stó:lõ actions and reactions during colonialism were rooted in their pre-colonial experiences and customs, which coloured their responses to events such as smallpox outbreaks or the gold rush. Profiling tensions of gender and class within the community, Carlson emphasizes the elasticity of collective identity. A rich and complex history, The Power of Place, the Problem of Time looks to both the internal and the external factors which shaped a society during a time of great change and its implications extend far beyond the study region.

About the author

Keith Thor Carlson is a professor of History at the University of the Fraser Valley where he holds a Tier One Canada Research Chair in Indigenous and Community-Engaged History.

Keith Thor Carlson's profile page


  • Short-listed, Saskatchewan Book Award for Scholarly Writing
  • Winner, Aboriginal History Book Prize awarded by Canadian Historical Association
  • Winner, Clio Prize - British Columbia awarded by Canadian Historical Association

Editorial Reviews

’Keith Carlson offers something unique to readers by showing us how productive ethnohistorical analysis can be to the cross-cultural understanding of Indigenous peoples under colonialism.’

Canadian Journal of History, vol 47 Spring-Summer 2012

‘Carlson's work represents an innovative avenue towards the further decolonizing of Aboriginal history, and this, combined with his concern for contemporary Aboriginal political issues, heightens the relevancy of the book and marks his claims as being significant both in and beyond the academy.’

BC Studies no. 172, winter 2011-2012

Other titles by Keith Thor Carlson