Nicholas May

Term Lecturer
Office: AQ 6012

Areas of Study: Americas; Indigenous Peoples; Colonialism; Religion; Environment


I am an anthropological historian of Indigenous cultures in Canada.  My focus to date has been on religious and cultural transformation in British Columbia, and this interest led me to work with the Nisga’a to write a history of their encounter with Protestant mission Christianities. My dissertation, “Feasting on the Aam of Heaven: The Christianization of the Nisga’a, 1860-1920,” won the John Bullen Prize in 2014 for the most outstanding PhD thesis on an historical topic submitted at a Canadian university, and is being prepared for publication with University of British Columbia Press. I arrived at SFU in 2021 after teaching at UBC, McGill, and the University of Toronto.

Research Interests

Americas; Indigenous Peoples; Colonialism; Religion; Environment

Articles and Chapters

  • “Freeman, Barnabas Cortland (Barnard, Courtland).”  In Dictionary of Canadian Biography, vol. 16 (2019).
  • “Marching to the Beat of a Newer Drum: Cultural Continuity and Revival in Nisga’a Church Armies, 1894-1970.” Ethnohistory 62, no. 4 (October 2015): 781-801.

Awards and Grants

  • SSHRC Postdoctoral Fellowship, 2016-2018
  • John Bullen Prize, Canadian Historical Association, 2014
  • SSHRC Doctoral Fellowship, 2003-2007