2017 Winners

basil stuart stubbs winner


Arthur J. Ray, Aboriginal Rights Claims and the Making and Remaking of History. Montreal and Kingston: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2016.

basil stuart stubbs silver


The shortlisted titles for the 2016 Basil Stuart-Stubbs Prize for Outstanding Scholarly Book on British Columbia are:



Arthur J. Ray, Aboriginal Rights Claims and the Making and Remaking of History. Montreal and Kingston: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2016.

book coverThis authoritative, masterfully-written examination of land claims litigation between indigenous peoples and the settler societies of the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa powerfully demonstrates the important role proceedings in British Columbia played in events of global significance. Ray points out the critical place court processes in the province had in the validation of oral evidence as a viable form of proof and authentication. He traces the development of protocols that help ascertain pre-contact territorial boundaries and allow the character and extent of pre-contact resource use to be understood and recognized. Ray shows us how these processes contribute to an enrichment of judicial, political, and scholarly activity around the world. This book models the fashion in which occurrences in particular societies can be seen to have general importance and wide impact. 


Ronald W. Hawker, Yakuglas’ Legacy: The Art and Times of Charlie James. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2016. book cover

Assisted by his exemplary knowledge and appreciation of indigenous peoples’ creativity, symbolic repertoire, involvement with myth, and use of artistic endeavour as tools of community consolidation, Ronald Hawker builds a powerful case for Kwakwaka’wakw carver and painter Charlie James (1867-1937) as an artist and master of the first
rank. Hawker identifies him as a major participant in developments demonstrating the resilience, strength, and capacity for adaptation of indigenous traditions. Hawker is particularly attentive to James’ move from the traditional forms used in work intended for his own community to motifs associated with ‘western’, ‘modern’ styles and expression. Informed by a strong theoretical sense, animated by sensitivity to the relationship between art and socio-cultural dynamics, and cast in terms of persuasive argument and vigorous expression, the book makes a major contribution to a richly textured field.

Caroline Fox, At Sea with the Marine Birds of the Raincoast. Calgary and Victoria: Rocky Mountain Books, 2016.

book coverBy paying close attention to bird life on British Columbia’s coast alongside the now extensive body of existing work on marine life, shoreline vegetation, and the character of the sea itself, Fox strongly supplements our sense of the coast’s attractiveness, interest, and richness of shape. This book is written in a direct, engaging style and is informed by Fox’s deep knowledge of her subject. She is concerned with the place British Columbia’s sea birds occupy in a complex, ecological system, and her book is both an important reference work and a compelling memoir.