Rick Fehr

Dr. Rick Fehr, Independent Researcher


I earned a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in Canadian Studies and Native Studies at Trent University in 2004. In 2006 I obtained a Masters in Environmental Studies at York University, and I was awarded my PhD in Environmental Studies at York University in 2011. I have worked as Associate Director of First Nations Studies at Western University where I was also a faculty member in the Department of Geography, cross-appointed with First Nations Studies. Since July 2016, I am an independent researcher living in North Bay, Ontario and actively collaborating with members of the PWIP research team.

Research with PWIP

I am researching the points of intersection and contention between settlers and Indigenous peoples in early 19th century Southwestern Ontario, on Walpole Island’s traditional territory that is now the municipality of Chatham – Kent. The intent is to develop a comprehensive understanding of historic Indigenous land-use activities to help inform future land use planning decisions while acknowledging historic, contemporary, and future Indigenous presence on the land.

Other Research Interests

My research focuses on Indigenous and settler connections to land through livelihood, stories, and the resulting changes to land water. This interest comes from growing up in rural Chatham – Kent as a non-Indigenous person who spent a lot of time on Walpole Island and Lake St. Clair. When I teach, I bridge this interest with the classroom by bringing my students to the community where they take part in experiential learning opportunities such as invasive species removal and habitat restoration. My community-based classes emphasize traditional values of reciprocity while considering potential paths of mutual respect for Indigenous and non-Indigenous society.


  • Fehr, Rick. 2014. “Dominion’s Widest Mouth: Economies of Ruin and Renewal on the Lower Great Lakes.” In Honor The Earth: Great Lakes Indigenous Response to Environmental Crises. Edited by Phil Bellfy. CreateSpace Independent Publishing.
  • Fehr, Rick. 2013. “Settler Narrative and Indigenous Resistance in the Baldoon Mystery. “ In The Empire of Nature and the Nature of Empires. Edited by Karl Hele, Waterloo, ON: Wilfrid Laurier University Press.
  • Fehr, Rick. 2008. “From Industrialism to Animism on Bkejwanong Territory: the Letters and Poetry of William Leonhardt in the Early 20th century.” In Papers of the 39th Algonquian Conference / Actes du Congrès des Algonquinistes. Edited by Regna Darnell, Karl Hele and Blair A. Rudes, Waterloo, ON: Wilfrid Laurier University Press.
  • Fehr, Rick. 2007. “The Baldoon Experiment and the Sustainability of Bkejwanong Territory” in Aboriginal Connections to Race, Environment and Traditions. Edited by Rick Riewe and Jill Oakes. Winnipeg: University of Manitoba Aboriginal Issues Press.

Research in the News

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