Karl Hele

Hart Hall 217
Office hours
Thursday, 2-4 p.m.


Karl S. Hele, a member of Garden River First Nation, is a professor in Canadian Studies who specializes in Indigenous Studies.  He joined Mount Allison in 2018.

His areas of research, publication, and teaching focus on Indigenous history, politics, law, and contemporary issues.  He has served as the joint editor of the Algonquian Proceedings (39th, 40th, and 41st), edited four collections, as well as published and presented numerous papers on the history of the Anishinaabeg and Metis of the Sault Ste. Marie region. He currently has an edited collection, Engaging Indigenous Communities: Conference Proceedings and a jointly edited collection with Dr. M.-P. Bousquet,  La blessure qui dormait à poings fermés : l’héritage des pensionnats autochtones au Québec accepted for publication. Additionally, Dr. Hele publishes a monthly column “Hidden Histories” in the Sault Star and is a regular article and review contributor to Anishinaabeg News.



  • 2011 - An Overview of Garden River First Nation’s Lands. Sault Ste. Marie: Garden River First Nation Community Trust.

Edited Collections: 

  • 2021 - Engaging Indigenous Communities:  Resources, Rebellions, and Resurgence:  Conference Proceedings.  Winnipeg:  Aboriginal Issues Press.
  • 2019 - La blessure qui dormait à poings fermés: l'heritage des pensionnats autochtones au Québec. Montreal:  Recherches Amerindiennes au Québec.
  • 2017 - Survivance and Reconciliation: 7 Forward / 7 Back. 
  • 2015 - Canadian Indigenous Native Studies Association Conference Proceedings. Winnipeg: Aboriginal Issues Press. 
  • 2016 - This is Indian Land: The Robinson Treaties of 1850. Winnipeg: Aboriginal Issues Press.
    (pictured right) 
  • 2013 - The Nature of Empires and the Empires of Nature: Indigenous Peoples and the Great Lakes Environment. Waterloo: Wilfrid Laurier University Press.  
  • 2008 - Lines Drawn Upon the Water: The First Nations Experience in the Great Lakes' Borderlands.  Waterloo: Wilfrid Laurier University Press.


  • 2021 - "Becoming Christian:  The Sault Anishinaabeg Missionary Experience, c. 1828-1871."  In Engaging Indigenous Communities:  Resources, Rebellions, and Resurgence.  Conference Proceedings.  Edited by Karl Hele.  Winnipeg:  Aboriginal Issues Press, pp.
  • 2018 - “Nation Making/Nation Breaking: ‘Effective Control’ of Aboriginal Lands and Peoples by Settlers in Transition.” In Hemispheric Sovereignties: Indigeneity in the Andes, Mesoamerica, and Canada. Co-edited  by Miléna Santoro and Erick Langer. University of Nebraska Press (November 1, 2018)  
  • 2016 - “The Robinson Treaties: A Brief Contextualization.” In This is Indian Land: The Robinson Treaties of 1850. Winnipeg: Aboriginal Issues Press, pp. 1-42.   
  • 2016 - “‘Is it marked in the Bible, that the English and American should draw a line and do what so he pleases with the natives?’: The 1850 Treaty as an International Document.” In This is Indian Land: The Robinson Treaties of 1850. Winnipeg: Aboriginal Issues Press, pp. 91-136.  
  • 2015 - “An Era’s End?: Imposing/Opposing Control in the Sault Ste. Marie Borderlands. ” In Tecumseh’s Vision: Indigenous Sovereignty and Borders Since the War of 1812. Co-edited by Ute Lischke, David T. McNab, and Paul-Emile McNab. Winnipeg: Aboriginal Issues Press from the University of Manitoba, pp. 47-70.  
  • 2012 - “Seeding Civilization: Garden River First Nation’s Agricultural Fairs, c.1917-1950.” In Anishinaabewin Niizh: Culture Movements, Critical Moments, 2011, eds. Alan Corbiere, Deborah McGregor and Crystal Migwans. M’Chigeeng, ON: Ojibwe Cultural Foundation, pp.114-139.  
  • 2008 - “‘Fully Equal to a Mission in Herself’: Charlotte Johnston McMurray’s Missionary Labours at Bawating, 1827-1838.” In Papers of the 39th Algonquian Conference, eds. Karl S. Hele and Regna Darnell. London: Algonquian Society, pp. 316-57.

Articles (not peer reviewed):   

  • 2022 - "Mary Two-Axe Earley:  A Rights' Champion," Geoscope 53:1 (Spring/Summer 2022): 21-28.
  • 2022 - "Enfranchisement:  Unmarried women's capacity to voluntarily Enfranchise," Inequality and the Indian Act:  A History of Harm and the Healing Path Forward (Ottawa:  Native Women's Association of Canada).
  • 2021 - "Hardships and Rewards:  Women at the Sault Ste. Marie Missions," Michigan History 105:4 (Jul./Aug. 2021): 45-50.
  • 2021 - "Profile:  James D. Cameron," Michigan History 105:1 (Jan./Feb. 2021): 13
  • 2018 - “Canada’s Indigenous Policies as Genocide.” Geoscope 49:1 (Fall): 6-22.  
  • 2014 - “Refugees in Nineteenth-Century Canada Who Fled American Oppression.” Geoscope 45:1 (Fall): 52-61. 
  • 2013 - “The Indian Act - From 1876 to Today.” Geoscope 44:1 (Fall): 6-17.

Newspaper Contributions: 

Encyclopedia Entries:

  • "Reserves in Ontario," "Nebenaigoching," "Mica Bay Incident," "Robinson Treaties of 1850," "Darren Zack," "Anishinaabe," "Pennefather Treaties," "Treaty of Niagara, 1764," "Indigenous Elders in Canada," "Land Cession"  In The Canadian Encyclopedia www.thecanadianencyclopedia.ca



PhD History, McGill University (2003)

MA History, University of Toronto (1994)

BA History and Political Science, University of Waterloo (1993)


  • INDG 1001
  • INDG/CANA 3501: Aboriginal Political and Legal Issues
  • CANA/HIST/INDG 3821: The Indian Act: Law, Policy, and Canadian First Peoples
  • INDG/HIST/CANA 3831: Indigenous Canada: Historical Perspectives
  • CANA/HIST/INDG 3841: Borderlands
  • INDG/ CANA 4101: Indigenous Canada: Advanced Topics


  • Indigenous Borderlands (primary focus is US/Canada Border)
  • Upper Great Lakes
  • Anishinaabeg History
  • Metis Identity & History in the Upper Great Lakes
  • Performance
  • Indian Act, Policy, Laws
  • Treaties
  • Missions and Missionaries (Non-Indigenous and Indigenous)

Grants, awards & honours

  • 2023 - Paul Paré Excellence Award, Mount Allison University, Sackville, NB.
  • 2022 - Paul Paré Medal, Mount Allison University, Sackville, NB.
  • 2022 - Canadian History of Education Association/Association Canadienne d'histoire de l'education best French-language book in the field of educational history for the years 2018 to 2020 for Le Blessure qui Dormait à Poings Fermés:  L'heritage des pensionnats autochtones au Québec (Montreal:  Recherches Amerindiennes au Québec, 2019).
  • 2018 - Centre for Interdisciplinary Studies in Society and Culture Diversity Research Travel Stipends.  Reviewing the holdings relating to Sault Ste. Marie held by the Royal Ontario Museum. 2018-2019
  • 2017 - The Historical Society of the Episcopal Church Grant. Documenting Hannah Foulkes Chance’s role as an Episcopalian missionary. 2017-2018.
  • 2017 - United Methodist General Commission on Archives and History’s Racial/Ethnic Research Grant. Methodist Missions at the Sault: An Investigation into their Relationships with the Anishinaabeg as well as Canadian and American States in the Borderlands. 2017-2018. 
  • 2016 - Franklin Research Grant, American Philosophical Society. Indian Pageants in the Borderlands of Sault Ste. Marie (Ontario and Michigan).