Introduction to Scholarships

Previous Award Recipients

The Eleanor Luxton Historical Foundation offers graduate fellowships annually for responsible historical research and publication in Western Canadian history and on the roles of the Luxton and McDougall families in Banff, the Bow Valley and Western Canada in the 19th and 20th centuries. Since their inception in 2005, The Eleanor Luxton Historical Foundation's graduate studies awards have supported students at the University of Alberta and University of Calgary. [For previous scholarship winners click here]. With this support graduate students have undertaken new directions in the study of Western Canadian history in environmental, Native, ranching and western political history.

Environmental History

In 2007, an ELHF award to University of Calgary M.A. student, Glenn Iceton, supported his research of the northwestern fur trade. A Yukon resident, Iceton was keenly interested in how American trading in the late 19th and early 20th centuries informs understandings of First Nations' hunting traditions in the Yukon valley. The project drew on extensive research in Washington D.C., the Hudson's Bay Company Archives, and documents in Yukon, Alaska and Ottawa archives. Commercial exchanges for Yukon animals, artifacts, Indian curios and other goods were negotiated by the Han, Inland Tlinget and Gwitch'in along the Yukon River. Their economic and cultural exchanges with Americans and British traders and missionaries inflected into both shaman practices as well as formal trading relations. Glenn went on to pursue doctoral work at the University of Saskatchewan.

Mountain History

At the University of Alberta, an ELFA post-doctoral fellowship supported Zac Robinson's significant research in the journals of botanical-collector David Douglas, specifically his claim to have climbed Mount Brown, when crossing Athabasca Pass with a HBC York Factory brigade in the spring of 1827. Douglas left one of the most picturesque and entertaining stories concerning the mountains in what would become Canada, the first recorded ascent above their snowline. The tale would become the most notorious example of "mismeasure" in mountaineering history, and one that put Canadian mountaineering, literally, on the map. As Robinson points out, "It's not been facts that have made history. Hope and pity play their compositional part in this tale as much as anything, but the type of upward mobility sought by Douglas was a radically different type than the kind for which he would became so disturbingly famous." Now teaching in the Faculty of Physical Education & Recreation at the University of Alberta, Dr. Robinson has made results from this project appear in an article in the 2011 Canadian Alpine Journal. He also presented a significant paper on aspects of his research at the Directions West: The Third Biennial Conference on Western Canadian Studies," in 2012, a conference part-funded by the Eleanor Luxton Historical Foundation.

Native History

In 2008, University of Calgary student, Jessica Buresci, used her ELFA MA award to study one of the largest annual Aboriginal Catholic gatherings in the Americas: the Ste. Anne's pilgrimage in North-Central Alberta. Using little-studied French Oblate records, oral history and on-site observation at the pilgrimage itself - which now annually attracts some 50,000 mostly aboriginal people - Buresci studied the historical roots and meaning of the pilgrimage that began in 1889. That year, the sacred aboriginal lake Manitow S√Ękahikan ("Lake of the Great Spirit") and baptized by the Oblates as Lac Ste-Anne, in honour of the venerated Catholic saint, became the gathering point for Catholic First Nations in an annual pilgrimage. Meticulously researched, her thesis highlighted the importance of Iroquois Metis in establishing the ritual and miracle traditions at the lake, and its social, economic and cultural importance to Christianized First Nations throughout Western Canada and even the United States.

Comparative Global Indigenous History

Tolly Bradford used ELHF support to complete his PhD in History from the University of Alberta in 2009. Focusing on two case studies, the Cree missionary Henry Budd on the one hand, and the Xhosa missionary, Tiyo Soga,from Southern Africa, on the other, his doctoral research looked at the roles, activities, and legacies of indigenous missionaries in the nineteenth-century British Empire before 1870. His dissertation has since been published as Prophetic Identities: Indigenous Missionaries on British colonial Frontier,1850-75 (Vancouver: UBC Press, 2012). Since September 2012, Tolly has held the position of Assistant Professor of History at Concordia University College of Alberta (in Edmonton) where he teaches Western Canadian and World History. He is also an adjunct professor at the University of Alberta's History and Classics department. His new research project is a regional history of Christianity and colonialism in western Canada from the eighteenth century to 1885.

Ranching History

Rachel Herbert undoubtedly benefited from her own experience as a rancher in Alberta when she began an historical study of ranching women in Southern Alberta between 1880 and 1930. Her M.A. studies, supported by an ELHF award at the University of Calgary, make an important contribution to ranching history by drawing extensively from a wide variety of personal letters, journals and other archival documents to detail the working contribution of women to family ranches in Western Canada. She argued that ranch women and farm women had distinct experiences in the operation of family businesses and in building ranching communities. For many women, shared ranch work and community-building offered opportunities that might not have been available elsewhere.