Skip to content

UBCO prof and Okanagan Nation knowledge keeper elected to Royal Society of Canada

Okanagan focus on trauma of colonization leads to national recognition for Dr. Jeannette Armstrong
(File photo/Kelowna Capital News)

The University of BC Okanagan’s (UBCO) Dr. Jeannette Armstrong has been elected to the Royal Society of Canada (RSC).

“To be honest, I’ve never been someone looking for recognition,” stated Armstrong in a UBCO news release. “I care deeply about my work and my focus has always been on how my research can help support the Syilx Okanagan Community. With that being said, I am honoured that my peers from across the country see the value in the work I do, and chose to elect me.”

Pursuing a career in academia was not initially the plan for Armstrong, but after graduating from university with her bachelor’s degree, and then working for local Indigenous organizations, she realized she could make the most change from inside the academy. She returned to university, earning her master’s and doctorate, and began teaching Indigenous Studies in the Irving K. Barber Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences.

“My research began organically after university,” she added. “I began working in my community alongside members who were not academics but had so much knowledge in regards to what parts of our history were erased and what happened during those early years of colonization. I really wanted to try and identify what the legacy of this trauma was from an Okanagan perspective and figure out what our people lost.”

Armstrong is Syilx Okanagan, a fluent speaker, and teacher of the Nsyilxcn Okanagan language, and a traditional knowledge keeper of the Okanagan Nation. She is a researcher, an associate professor of Indigenous Studies, and the Canada Research Chair (CRC) in Okanagan Indigenous Knowledge and Philosophy.

“Aside from my own research, another motivation was that I wanted to attract Syilx and B.C. Interior Salish graduate students to join me and research their own histories, cultures, and languages,” stated Armstrong.

The Royal Society of Canada was founded in 1882 by John Campbell, the ninth Duke of Argyll. Its purpose is to promote Canadian research and recognize those who have made remarkable contributions in their respective fields.

Read More: Canada’s first Indigenous language degree to be offered at UBCO

Read More: UBCO signals downtown ‘vertical campus’ is ready for development


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter and subscribe to our daily and subscribe to our daily newsletter.

Gary Barnes

About the Author: Gary Barnes

Journalist and broadcaster for three decades.
Read more