Courses and field courses

Graduate Field Course

Solh Temexw te Siwes*: Connecting People and Place in Sts’ailes Traditional Lands

Course description

In this four-week field graduate class, students will live in the Sts’ailes community on the Harrison River in the Fraser Valley, and will explore a range of social and environmental issues that are important to the Sts’ailes people. The class will be composed of a combination of presentations in a ceremonial longhouse and field studies with Sts’ailes community members and partners knowledgeable in heritage, traditional foods, fisheries and forest management, health, governance, land stewardship, and eco-tourism. Field studies will involve active learning about Sts’ailes’ history and culture, and the complex relationships connecting them to the lands, waters, plants, and animals in their traditional territory. Students will complete a project on a topic that is of mutual interest to them and the Sts’ailes community, helping to meet Sts’ailes’ knowledge needs.

Students in an accelerated master's program or pursuing fourth year studies may also apply.

Course outline and syllabus (PDF)

Frequently asked questions

1. How do I get to the site?

You are responsible for your own transportation to and from Sts’ailes each week. There is parking, but we strongly encourage carpooling. We will help coordinate carpooling, so if you need a ride or are able to take a classmate, let us know.

2. What utilities are available at the campground?

The camping location is rustic but has outhouses. You may clean up in the river or boil water to take a sponge bath whenever you want and we will coordinate shower access in nearby Sts'ailes facilities once a week.

3. Do I stay at the site on the weekends?

Field school activities take place between Monday morning until Friday afternoon each week. Students have the option of remaining in Sts’ailes or returning home for the weekends. Security will patrol the camping area, but valuables should be kept with you.

4. Do I need camping gear?

You will need a tent, sleeping bag/bedding and cooking and personal gear. Students may request tents and other equipment from Sts’ailes if needed. Alternatively, lodging in the traditional longhouse can be arranged for a small additional fee.

5. Do I need to bring my own food?

One dinner and one lunch per week will be catered by Sts’ailes. You are responsible for the rest of your meals throughout the week. Students may wish to share meal provision and preparation.

Refrigeration and food storage will be available near the camping area, but you are encouraged to bring coolers. Meals should contain enough protein, provide high energy and be easy to prepare. Cookware and a campstove are also recommended but we will make sure one cookstove is available to the group.

6. I have a food allergy or  dietary constraint. Will the catered meals accommodate me?

If you have a food allergy or dietary needs, please let us know in advance and we will do our best to accommodate you.

7. How physically fit do I need to be? Will there be any heavy lifting or extensive hiking?

Students will be expected to carry their own backpack and field supplies for short distances, occasionally off trail and over uneven terrain.

8. How much will this cost if I am a per term graduate student vs a per credit student?

See this page for more information about tuition fees and reach out to your graduate program assistant for further advisement.

9. How much time will I spend on campus?

The final individual project portion of the field school will be on campus from May 27th to the 29th.

10. If I am not an SFU graduate student may I still apply?

We encourage anyone who is interested to apply.

11. Who can I contact if I want more information about this field school?

Morgan Ritchie,



Course dates

May 7 – 24: On land
May 27 – 29: On campus


Dr. Morgan Ritchie, SFU Department of Archaeology and Sts'ailes knowledge holder


ARCH 896/ENV 645

*Course substitutions and program exemptions available with approval of your graduate program chair

Course Fees

$500 (accommodation in longhouse or camping, community feasts, honoraria, misc. gifts, boat fuel)

Students are responsible for travel to and from Sts’ailes, food, bedding, and personal gear.

Undergraduate Courses

ARCH 200/ENV 299: Indigenous Ways of Knowing and Being on Land

Course description

Over the generations, Indigenous identities, lifeways, and worldviews have shaped and been shaped by deep connections to ancestral territories, traditions and homes. These connections are expressed through language, song, ritual, stories, systems of governance and management, and are visible in the archaeological record and modified ecosystems.

Through the lens of Indigenous ways of knowing and being with the land, this course will explore how Indigenous peoples (with emphasis on Coast Salish) specifically and from other parts of the country and world understand and interact with their environments. Our explorations will be embedded in current social-ecological contexts, which on the one hand threaten these age-old knowledges and practices, but on the other, speak to the urgent need to learn from and adapt these knowledges and practices today. Concepts of deep time, kinship, stewardship, restoration and place will be considered. Learning will take place in university classrooms, traditional territories of Coast Salish peoples and invite knowledge keepers and Elders into these spaces and will weave in dialogic and land-based learning practices.


Course dates

Spring 2024


Cheryl Matthew


Social Sciences

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