Meet Canadian Studies professor Dr. Karl Hele
A member of Garden River First Nation community of the Anishinaabeg in Northern Ontario, Dr. Karl Hele recently joined Mount Allison University in the department of Canadian Studies.
A historian by trade, with expertise in Indigenous history and politics, Hele will be teaching classes in law and politics, Indigenous history, Indigenous perspectives on contemporary issues, and introduction to Indigenous studies this year.
“I’ve always been interested in my own community’s history, the Anishinaabeg people in the upper lakes region. In university I began formally studying Indigenous history and politics,” says Hele.
Hele comes to Mount Allison from Concordia University, where he served as Director of First Peoples Studies in the School of Community and Public Affairs. He also taught in Western Canada and Southern Ontario.
He says he is looking forward to working with colleagues and the community to help establish more classes and opportunities with an Indigenous-focus at Mount Allison.
“I believe learning Indigenous history, being familiar with documents like the Indian Act and treaties, is an important step in education and reconciliation,” says Hele. “It’s key to have this balance. I’m excited to begin my courses at Mount Allison and look forward to teaching and working to provide opportunities in experiential learning for students as well.”
Hele has served as the joint editor of the Algonquian Proceedings and has presented and published papers on the history of the Anishinaabeg and Métis communities in the Sault Ste. Marie region. Additionally, he has been a contributor of columns and book reviews to the Anishinabek News and a columnist to the Sault Star newspaper.
In 2017, Hele published This is Indian Land, a collection of essays which examines the Sault Ste. Marie region’s Anishinaabe past and explores the different outcomes of the 1850 Robinson Treaties. He is also co-editor of a forthcoming collection of articles about the residential school experience in Quebec with Dr. M.-P. Bousquet titled, La blessure qui dormait à poings fermés : l’héritage des pensionnats autochtones au Québec (La Société Recherches amérindiennes au Québec).
In addition to his university teaching and research, Hele is assisting with the development an Indigenous curriculum for civil servants through the Canada School of Public Service. He has also served on several committees with the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada.