Colloquium Overview

The Centre for Rupert's Land Studies

The Centre for Rupert’s Land Studies hosts biennial colloquia which offer the opportunity to explore a diverse range of topics and methodologies that encourage interdisciplinary and innovative approaches to the practice of Aboriginal and fur trade history. These colloquia provide a welcoming combination of intellectual and practical avenues for exploring all the potential histories of this large region.

We are pleased to announce that we plan to hold the 19th Rupert's Land Colloquium (2020) in Winnipeg, Manitoba. We will provide more details soon.

Paper presentations are the backbone of all colloquia. Over the course of two days, presenters discuss ongoing research, research findings, or topic area issues and questions. The topics are diverse: Métis beadwork, David Thompson's maps, science and the fur trade, gardening at HBC forts, women in the fur trade, and the re-reading of archival documents. Presenters come from a wide range of backgrounds: retired individuals pursuing historical or genealogical interests; scholars and academics specializing in history, archaeology, anthropology, geology, the law, etc; historical re-enactors and traditional craftspersons; and students. Presenters come from all over North America and even sometimes from Europe. The last colloquium featured a student from Scotland who specialized in law in fur trade settlements. Participants are encouraged to team up to present a focused session but individual papers are organized as much as possible by topic to facilitate discussion.

The colloquia also provide a venue to display publishers and books, research, local organizations, and artisans whose areas of expertise relate to the Centre’s members’ interests. Past colloquia displays have included Métis musical instruments, weaving demonstrations, HBCA archival displays, and crafts.

Poster presentations and sessions are a new component of the Rupert's Land Colloquia. During the poster presentations, information is presented using images, diagrams, and/or text and presented in a poster format. The posters are on display during the Colloquium, and time is allocated for the creators to present its contents, or answer any questions viewers might have. These presentations have been small to date but we hope that it gains interest as the posters that are created are very well received.

Field trips are a fun component of the colloquia and have included excursions to historic sites, archives and museums, local historic walking tours, and archeological digs. Past excursions have taken us to Fort Whyte in Winnipeg and The Victoria Settlement outside of Edmonton. 

The Centre for Rupert's Land Studies generally blocks a set of suites at a nearby hotel to accommodate guests and provide reduced pricing for those who register early.