Julie Cruikshank

Julie Cruikshank’s research focuses on practical and theoretical developments in oral tradition studies, specifically how competing forms of knowledge become enmeshed in struggles for legitimacy. Her ethnographic experience is rooted in the Yukon Territory, where she lived and worked for many years recording life stories with Athapaskan and Tlingit elders. She has also carried out comparative research in Alaska and Siberia. Her current work draws on theoretical trends linking the anthropology of memory with environmental anthropology. She is presently investigating historical and contemporary encounters among environmental earth sciences and indigenous oral traditions within the recently designated World Heritage Site that spans the borderlands of Yukon, northwest British Columbia and Alaska.

Ph.D. University of British Columbia, 1987


  • 2005. Do Glaciers Listen? Local Knowledge, Colonial Encounters and Social Imagination. Vancouver: UBC Press and Seattle: University of Washington Press.
  • 1998. The Social Life of Stories: Narrative and Knowledge in Northern Canada, Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press and Vancouver: UBC Press.
  • 1991. Reading Voices: Dan Dha Ts’edenintth’e. Vancouver: Douglas and McIntyre.
  • 1990. Life Lived Like a Story: Life Stories of Three Yukon Native Elders. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press and Vancouver: UBC Press.

Edited Volumes

  • 2007. My Old People’s Stories: A Legacy for Yukon First Nations, by Catharine McClellan. 3 volumes. Occasional Paper in Yukon History, 5(1-3), 804 pages.

Selected Journal Articles

  • Nature and Culture in ‘the Field’: Two Centuries of Stories from Lituya Bay. Knowledge and Society, 13:11-43, 2002.
  • Glaciers and Climate Change: Perspectives from Oral Tradition. Arctic, 54(4). 377-393. 2001.
  • Reinscribing Meaning: Memory and Indigenous Identity in Sakha Republic (Yakutia). Arctic Anthropology, 37(1):96-119 (with Tatiana Argounova, 2000.
  • Negotiating with Narrative: Establishing Cultural Identity at the Yukon International Storytelling Festival. American Anthropologist, 99(1):56-69, 1997.
  • Imperfect Translations: Rethinking Objects of Ethnographic Collection. Museum Anthropology, 19(1):25-38, 1995.
  • Claiming Legitimacy: Prophecy Narratives from Northern Aboriginal Women. American Indian Quarterly, 18(2):147-67, 1994.
  • Oral Tradition and Oral History: Reviewing Some Issues. Canadian Historical Review, 75(3):403-18, 1994.
  • Invention of Anthropology in British Columbia’s Supreme Court: Oral Tradition as Evidence in the Case of Delgamuukw v. A.G. BC Studies, 95:25-42, 1992.
  • Images of Society in Klondike Gold Rush Narratives: Skookum Jim and the Discovery of Gold. Ethnohistory, 39(1):20-41, 1992.
  • Oral Tradition and Material Culture: Multiplying Meanings of Words and Things. Anthropology Today, 8(3):5-9, 1992.

Selected Book Chapters

  • Melting Glaciers and Emerging Histories in the Saint Elias Mountains. In: Marisol de la Cadena and Orin Starn (eds.) Indigenous Experience Today. Wenner-Gren Symposium Series. Oxford: Berg. p. 335-78, 2007.
  • Uses and Abuses of ‘Traditional Knowledge’: Perspectives from the Yukon Territory. In: David Anderson and Mark Nuttall (eds.) Cultivating Arctic Landscapes: Knowing and Managing Animal Populations and the Environment in the Circumpolar North. Oxford: Berghahn. p. 17-32, 2004.
  • Discovery of Gold on the Klondike: Perspectives from Native Oral Tradition. In: Reading Beyond Words: Native History in Text and Context. 2nd edition. Elizabeth Vibert and Jennifer Brown (eds.). Broadview Press. p. 435-58, 2003.
  • Oral History, Narrative Strategies and Native American Historiography. In: Nancy Shoemaker (ed.). Theorizing Native American History. New York: Routledge. Pp. 3-27. 2002.
  • The Social Life of Texts: Keeping Traditions “Oral” in a Time of Textual Studies. In: Mirror Writing: (Re)Constructions of Native American Identity. Thomas Claviez and Maria Moss (eds.). Berlin: Galda and Wilch Verlag. . p. 155-170, 2000.
  • The Social Life of Texts: Editing on the Page and in Performance. In: Talking on the Page: Editing Aboriginal Oral Texts. Laura J. Murray and Keren Rice (eds.). Toronto: University of Toronto Press. p.97-119, 1999.
  • 2007. Clio Award (The North), for Do Glaciers Listen?: Local Knowledge, Colonial Encounters and Social Imagination. Awarded by the Canadian Historical Association.
  • 2006. Victor Turner Prize in Ethnographic Writing for Do Glaciers Listen? (Society of Humanistic Anthropology), American Anthropological Association.
  • 2006. Julian Steward Book Award, for Do Glaciers Listen? Anthropology and Environment Section, American Anthropological Association.
  • 2005. K.D. Srivastava for Do Glaciers Listen? awarded by UBC.
  • 2001-2003. Brenda and David McLean Chair in Canadian Studies, 2001-2003.
  • 1995. Robert F. Heizer Prize, awarded by the American Society for Ethnohistory, for paper “Claiming Legitimacy: Prophecy Narratives from Northern Aboriginal Women.”
  • 1995. UBC Prize for Excellence in Teaching, Faculty of Arts.
  • 1994. UBC Izaak Walton Killam Memorial Faculty Research Fellowship.
  • 1992. UBC Killam Research Prize.
  • 1991. Sir John A. Macdonald Prize, for Life Lived Like a Story, awarded by the Canadian Historical Association.