Research Affiliate

Sarah C. Moritz is a Banting Postdoctoral Fellow and sociocultural anthropologist at Concordia University (Department of Geography, Environment and Planning), Montréal, Canada. Her doctoral research (McGill University, Department of Anthropology) examined the social relationality and Boasian anthropology of Interior Salish St‘át‘imc fisheries and water governance and associated notions of a ‘good life’ in the Fraser River Valley of today’s British Columbia. She also researches and teaches Indigenous rights, human-animal relationships, stewardship practices, decolonial research methods and the history of anthropology and science. She is the co-author of two books on environmental anthropology and Salish studies and has written numerous peer-reviewed contributions and children’s books on Indigenous language, land and legal revitalization especially regarding salmon and water. She is affiliated with various multidisciplinary research endeavours including the Franz Boas Papers Project in partnership with the APS and the University of Nebraska Press (UNP); the Centre for Indigenous Conservation and Alternative Development (CICADA); PICEF (Partners in Indigenous Conservation and Environmental Futures); the FISHES: Fostering Indigenous Small-scale Fisheries for Health, Economy, and Food Security Project, and has previously contributed to the Arctic Domus Project on circumpolar ethnography. She is a consulting scholar for CNAIR (Center of Native American and Indigenous Research, APS) and the St‘át‘imc Nation. Her work has been granted numerous awards including the prestigious SSHRC Banting Postdoctoral Fellowship and Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarship, the Firebird Foundation Fellowship for Anthropological Research and the Quebec Centre for Biodiversity Science (QCBS) Excellence Award among many others. The wild salmon life cycle for the renewal of a good life is her guiding metaphor that accompanies her through rivers, research, teaching and community-based advocacy and action.

Project:Honouring Salmon: Relational Ecologies across Salish Worlds in the Pacific NorthwestMy research addresses Pacific Northwest Indigenous Salish peoples’ relations with salmon, and how this relationality shapes Salish self-determination, ecological knowledge and stewardship practices. Reciprocity, responsibility, and respect are guiding principles in that extend to non-human persons, including salmon. As a sociocultural anthropologist, I study these vital relationships through the entangled interdisciplinary routes of ethnography, community-based action research, participatory mapping, history of anthropology, and political ecology. My core objectives are twofold: Firstly, to document the life histories and salmon narratives of Coast and Interior Salish fishers, with particular attention to women’s stories, generating a multilingual (Salishan/English) living oral history atlas that maps out lineages and connections of time and place. Secondly, to examine how these stories function to bolster hereditary and matriarchal governance, Indigenous knowledge systems and intercommunity relationships across marine, riverine and terrestrial landscapes as a counter to contemporary colonial, capitalist and climate change challenges.Employing salmon and their migratory cycle as my guiding metaphor for the (re-)creation of a good life in a time of radical environmental change, I ask: How can Indigenous relational ecologies of human-salmon entanglements strengthen and reconnect stewardship across fresh- and salt-water realms?An understanding of Indigenous relational ecologies is urgently needed to inform and reform salmon management and conservation approaches, anchored in the authority and knowledge of Salish people. My focus on journeys in salmon stewardship highlights the potential of relational ecologies to re-connect the fractured jurisdictions (such as the separation of land and sea space) imposed by colonial governance systems. At the same time, it supports an alternative framing of human/non-human relations that privileges respect, responsibility and reciprocity.The project will apply a combination of comparative ethnographic inquiry, archival research, participatory mapping and community-based action Research (as) Reconciliation.Interest:My interest in joining is based on my research plans and wanting to share my knowledge and deepening my understanding of oral history traditions, methods and technologies. I wish to support indigenous language & cultural revitalization efforts and COHDS will provide me with the ideal platform to do so.