Dr. Dana Lepofsky


SFU professor and archaeologist Dana Lepofsky’s commitment to research partnerships with First Nations communities has earned her SFU’s inaugural Warren Gill Award for Community Impact 2017.

She has spent more than two decades at SFU. Her teaching and research focus on the relationships of Northwest Coast Indigenous peoples to their environments, in the past and the present.

She was among the first archaeologists in the region to include First Nations communities as equal partners in research programs, leading to strengthened capacities in these communities for deciphering, appreciating, conserving, and educating future generations about their past.

Significantly, First Nations communities with which she has worked supported her nomination for the Gill award. They include the Gitga’ata of northern coastal B.C., the Heiltsuk of the Central Coast, the Tla’amin of the Sunshine Coast, and the Sts’ailes of the Harrison River in the Fraser Valley.

First Nations community partners


Gitga’ata Nation

The Gitk’a’ata are a part of the Tsimshian peoples, and have occupied the lands and waters around Txalgiuw (Hartley Bay), for millennia. Today, about 130 Gitk’a’ata live in Hartley Bay, with another 500 in Prince Rupert. Others in Terrace, Vancouver Island, and Vancouver, BC.

Laxgalts’ap (or “Old Town”) was the ancestral home and main winter village for the Gitga’at Nation, located in Kitkiata Inlet on the northwest side of Douglas Channel.


Heiltsuk Nation

Heiltsuk Territory encompasses 16,658 square kilometres of land, and extensive nearshore and offshore waters in an area that has only recently come to be known as the Central Coast of BC. 

The goal in these landscape level projects, like with the CKP projects, is to bring together multiple voices to tell about the importance of these places.

Reawakening history

A new website re-awakens thousands of years of Heiltsuk Nation voices and history is the result of more than eight years of collaboration between the Heiltsuk people, Simon Fraser University, University of Victoria (UVic), the Hakai Institute, and producers from Greencoast Media.

 Learn more at Visit the site at

“Húy̓at: Our Voices our Land” ( uses video, photos and stories to present an engaging overview of Heiltsuk connections to Húy̓at (How-yaht), one of an immense network of culturally important landscapes in Heiltsuk territory on the Central Coast of British Columbia.

Click on the right to watch Dana Lepofsky's interview about her research work.

Read more about Dana Lepofsky's work at her faculty page.