Conference & AGM

Conference & AGM

MEMORY — June 2-5, 2022

Co-hosted by the Victoria Historical Society, conference 2022 will be delivered in an online format over four days once again this year.

The theme is “Memory”, which makes reference to the BC Historical Federation’s 100th year anniversary. The theme also references ways that people remember and reflect on past events, commemorating and preserving memories, and telling stories.

What does it mean to remember historic events and people in today’s world, whose memories are referenced, how are memories captured and preserved, and how do these memories inform the stories we tell and share?

Registration Fees

Registration opens mid-March. Watch this space!

BCHF Members*Full conference $50
Guests (non-members)Full conference $75
StudentsFull conferenceFree, pre-registration required
AllAGM onlyFree, pre-registration required

*BCHF members includes members of registered Member Societies, like the Victoria Historical Society.

We acknowledge the lək̓ʷəŋən peoples on whose traditional territory the conference is being virtually hosted from. We acknowledge the Songhees, Esquimalt and W̱SÁNEĆ peoples whose historical relationships with the land continue to this day.

Thanks to our sponsors!


Registration to conference includes an all-access pass. Pick and choose which events you’d like to attend… or attend them all! Zoom access codes will be provided via email prior to the conference. Some sessions may be recorded and made available following the conference.

Thursday June 2
Friday, June 3
Saturday, June 4
Sunday, June 5
9-9:30 am
Conference Welcome
9:30-10:30 am
Speaker: Chad Reimer
Speaker: Tzu-I Chung
Speaker: Tom Bown
Speaker: Kelly Black
Speaker: Genevieve Weber
Virtual Field Trip
Cemetery Tour (TBC)
Speaker: Jordan Stanger-Ross
Speaker: Scott Sheffield
Virtual Field Trip
John Adams
Speaker: Nicole Kilburn
Speaker: Lorne Hammond
Awards Gala
Speaker: Keith Carlson
Schedule may be modified or adjusted

Field Trips

1922 Victoria

Go behind the scenes in downtown Victoria with John Adams from Discover the Past walking tours. Discover Victoria in 1922.

Cemetery Tour

Led by the Old Cemeteries Society of Victoria. Details coming soon.

Silent Auction

You won’t want to miss our virtual silent auction! Bid on a selection of books nominated for the Lieutenant Governor’s Book Prizes. Funds raised go towards the Centennial Legacy Fund.


History as a Tool for Reconciliation

Keith Thor Carlson – Today Indigenous people are struggling to negotiate treaties with the BC and Canadian governments and in other ways to re-assume meaningful say over their ancestral lands and resources. Likewise, they are seeking to re-establish forms of self-governance that will be recognized and respected within Canada’s federal constitutional traditions. Indigenous people and non-Indigenous Canadians alike are rightly asking why this process is proving so difficult, and likewise why respectful reconciliatory relations were not established much earlier? The answer to these and related questions require careful historical analysis.

In this presentation Keith Carlson brings ethnohistorical methods and techniques to provide an assessment of settler colonial processes in Canada’s Pacific province. He concludes by outlining the pre-conditions, as he sees them, for building reconciliation between Indigenous people and non-Indigenous Canadian society today.

Keith Thor Carlson is a Tier 1 Canada Research Chair in Indigenous and Community-engaged History at the University of the Fraser Valley. He is also the Director of the university’s Peace and Reconciliation Centre.

A Tale of Two Families: British Columbia’s Intercultural Family Teachings

Tzu-I Chung —Due to historical exclusion and colonial record-keeping practices, not many non-Indigenous families from minority groups can trace their family histories back to the gold rush period that began in 1858 in the land we know as British Columbia (BC) today.

Two families, one French Canadian and the other Chinese Canadian, however, continue to prosper with rare well-recorded generational continuities from the gold rush era to the present day. The Guichon and the Louie-Seto families have persisted through historic periods of great adversity, including the Great Depression and the Chinese exclusion era, and have built lasting legacies in BC In juxtaposition, their experiences reveal patterns that informed their resilience. Specifically, the families through generations have emphasized education, intercultural community building, and family values of kindness, resonating with our needs during the unsettling time of global pandemic crisis.

This presentation will take a closer look at the family lessons from these two BC families that sustained them through challenges in BC history. Their demonstrated strength is at the core of shared values for BC’s intercultural community lives.

Dr. Tzu-I Chung is a cultural and social historian, specializing in the study of transnational migration within the context of historical, cultural and economic interactions between North America and Asia-Pacific. As a curator of history at the Royal BC Museum & Archives, she has developed, facilitated, and led cross-sectoral community heritage and legacy projects. Her research has informed numerous exhibitions, curriculum development, and public and academic publications on the topics of anti-racism, cross-cultural community histories, and critical heritage studies. She is currently a member of the Canadian Cultural Property Export Review Board, and a peer reviewer for academic journals and a juror for public history prizes and grants. 

British Columbia History in Fragments: What Lies Beneath Our Feet

Tom Bown — Even the smallest historic object, lost or actively discarded, decades or even centuries ago, has a story to tell. Tom Bown will give a brief introduction to the types of historic artifacts that find their way to the historic archaeology collection of the Royal BC Museum. When the written word does not exist, what role do these objects have in telling the history of marginalized populations in BC?

Also, this talk will consider some of the challenges of historic archaeology collections, as well as considering how this resource is currently being managed in British Columbia.

Tom Bown is a volunteer research associate in archaeology at the Royal British Columbia Museum. After finishing a BSc at the University of Victoria, Tom worked several years for the RBCM archaeology section prior to a career with Natural Resources Canada.

The Second World War in BC History and Public Memory

Scott Sheffield – My investigations of the academic literature on the Second World War in BC revealed a surprising dearth of literature explicitly exploring the impact of that global conflict on the communities and residents of this province. Through some concerted searching I was able to glean a number of references and sometimes thoughtful and concerted coverage of the war years across a diverse range of hundreds of works on BC’s history. On the whole though, the story was fragmentary, disconnected, and relatively meagre. Only a few stories have been incorporated into the broader narrative of BC’s history: the internment, dispossession and expatriation of the Japanese-Canadian population; the economic and industrial boom; women’s enhanced contributions as a result; and the growth in the strength and legitimacy of organised labour.

Beyond these usual touch stones, relatively little evidence that the war occurred in this province has managed to penetrate the scholarly history, public memory or identity of British Columbians. Yet the evidence and historical writing that does exist suggests that the Second World War was fundamentally important to the development of modern British Columbia.

R. Scott Sheffield is an Associate Professor of History at the University of the Fraser Valley who spent the bulk of his career researching Indigenous military service and he is the author of The Red Man’s on the Warpath: The Image of the ‘Indian’ and the Second World War (UBC Press, 2004), and (with Noah Riseman) Indigenous Peoples and the Second World War: The Politics, Experiences and Legacies of War in the United States, Canada, Australia and New Zealand (Cambridge U Press, 2019), as well as numerous articles and book chapters.  His current research explores British Columbia’s home front during the Second World War, especially the role of community in shaping British Columbians’ experience of total war.  

The British Columbia Historical Federation at 100: Facing a Crossroads

Chad Reimer – In October 1922, a small group of interested citizens from Vancouver Island and the mainland of BC came together at the Provincial Archives in Victoria and passed a resolution establishing the BC Historical Association. This founding of a provincial historical society was late in coming, with the rest of the country having established their own decades earlier. For decades after Confederation, historically minded British Columbians gathered in a constellation of organizations devoted to providing a sense of history to an immigrant society which had very little of it.

For these men and women, this society literally brought the region into the realm of history, for they believed without question that the province’s Indigenous peoples had no history—the latter lacked a written language by which to record their past and stood outside the march of “civilization.” The production and commemoration of history was part of the project of settler colonialism—it would anchor the immigrant society in the new land and justify its dispossession of the native inhabitants. Such was the founding mandate of the BCHA, and it was pursued in the many decades since.

This was a task we might shudder from when stated so baldly. But any commemoration of the organization’s past and present must recognize this core part of its existence, must face it in the long new task of remaking the organization for today and the following years.

Chad Reimer has published five books of BC history: “Deadly Neighbours: A Tale of Colonialism, Cattle Feuds, Murder and Vigilantes in the Far West“, “The Trials of Albert Stroebel: Love, Murder and Justice at the End of the Frontier“, “Before We Lost the Lake: A Natural and Human History of Sumas Valley“, which received an honourable mention in the BC Historical Federation’s Historical Writing Awards, “Chilliwack’s Chinatowns“, and “Writing British Columbia History“. He holds a BA in Honours History from the University of BC, along with an MA and PhD in History from York University. He was born in Winnipeg, Manitoba, and now lives in Williams Lake, BC. 

Access to Memory: Reflections on Government Support for Public History

Kelly Black – As the director of a non-profit museum, president of the Friends of the BC Archives, and an adjunct professor of BC history, Kelly Black has gained a unique perspective on the highs and lows of practicing public history in British Columbia. Dr. Black’s presentation will highlight some of his adventures in public history work over the last few years and describe the impact that waning government support is having on access, labour, and understanding about the past.

Kelly Black is the Executive Director at Point Ellice House Museum and Gardens in Victoria. Kelly has more than a decade of experience in heritage, museums, and non-profit management and he received his PhD in Canadian Studies from Carleton University in 2018. Kelly is also an Adjunct Professor in the Department of History at Vancouver Island University and current President of the Friends of the BC Archives. He lives with his wife and son in the Cowichan Valley. 

A photo taken, a memory preserved; the material act of remembering, in Victorian concepts of death and the modern classroom

Nicole Kilburn – Nowhere is remembrance more evident than in Victorian funerary rituals, where a range of memento mori and markers of death served to maintain the deceased in the minds of the living. As an educator, I have found that tangible learning experiences serve a similar purpose in memory-making. This paper explores the intersection of teaching historical content in tangible, material ways to heighten the act of remembrance and presents a recent example of a partnership with the Royal BC Museum. It also highlights how remembering the past, particularly in the context of death, is a powerful tool when contemplating the same concepts in the present.

Nicole Kilburn teaches anthropology at Camosun College in Victoria, British Columbia. She has a background in archaeology, but teaches a wide range of courses, increasingly with a focus on applied learning for student success. Her most recent new course, the Anthropology of Death, considers many topics, including memory making and the creation of ancestors across time and space. She has enjoyed learning from, and partnering with the RBCM to create memorable learning opportunities for students while sharing these important concepts with the public. 

A New Perspective on the Uprooting and Dispossession of Japanese Canadians

Jordan Stanger-Ross with Mike Abe – The mistreatment of Japanese Canadians during the 1940s has traditionally been understood in terms of a temporary, wartime internment. Drawing upon the conclusions of a major, national research project, UVIC Professor Jordan Stanger-Ross argues that the traditional perspective fails to capture the injustice done. Instead, we should see this history as involving the deliberate and permanent destruction of home and community over the course of a decade. His talk will try to change how you think about the origins, unfolding, and legacies of Canada’s internment era, replacing a story of regrettable political action at a time of war with a history of deliberate harm and widespread accountability.

Jordan Stanger-Ross is a Professor and the University of Victoria Provost’s Engaged Scholar, 2020-2025. He is the Director of Landscapes of Injustice, a 7-year multi-sector and community-engaged project to research and tell the history of the forced sale of Japanese-Canadian-owned property during the 1940s.

Michael Abe is a third generation (sansei) Japanese Canadian (Nikkei)and past president of the Victoria Nikkei Cultural Society. He was the Project Manager on Landscapes of Injustice.

Panel: Accessing Residential School Records

Panelists: Genevieve Weber (Royal BC Museum), Charlene Belleau (Williams Lake First Nation), and Whitney Spearing (Williams Lake First Nation).

A research team from Williams Lake First Nation discusses how accessing Residential School records help to shape to shape commemorations of school sites and the surrounding communities.

Genevieve Weber is an archivist focusing on outreach, public programming, and Indigenous information sovereignty. In her role at the BC Archives, she has the privilege of working with Indigenous communities from all over the province, assisting with research requests, providing access to records, and facilitating workshops on topics such as researching community history and Indigenous genealogy. Other programs she has delivered include family history workshops, special interest workshops, community tours, introductory class visits, and school activities. She is passionate about engaging people of all ages with the archives, and enjoys public speaking.

Victoria in 1922

John Adams – Victoria became John’s adopted city in 1960. As a new kid who was interested in history, he tried to make up for lost time by exploring far and wide and by talking to neighbours and the parents of his friends. His studies and work eventually took him in numerous other directions but when he returned to Victoria in 1979 to work at the Royal BC Museum, he quickly picked up where he had left off and has never stopped searching for hidden corners and arcane information about BC’s capital city. 

What was happening in Victoria one hundred years ago when the BC Historical Federation’s predecessor held its inaugural meeting here? John has chosen several disparate themes and have woven them together as a series of vignettes in the locations where they took place.

John Adams is the owner of Discover the Past, a history company in Victoria. He is a researcher, author, speaker and tour leader. He is a former president of the Victoria Historical Society and the Old Cemeteries Society of Victoria. His latest book Chinese Victoria will be released around the time of the conference. 

BC History, Objects, Collections and Change

Lorne Hammond – Objects have a life within a museum’s collection. That life may be short or long. New objects enter collections and others leave collections as part of the professional process of curatorial stewardship. Today as a society we are re-evaluating our many histories. In this talk Dr Hammond will present examples of how that process works with a museum collection and in exhibits, and show how an object’s meaning can completely change over the centuries, as our interpretations of BC history evolve.

Lorne is a curator in the history department at the Royal British Columbia Museum and Archives.

Conference Committee

  • Anna Irwin, Co-Chair
  • Paul Ferguson, Co-Chair
  • Shannon Bettles, Co-Chair
  • John Lutz
  • Ron Greene
  • Frances Aknai
  • Doug Brigham
  • Emma Quan
  • Janet Ou
  • Maurice Guibord


Past conferences

>> View recorded content from the 2021 Conference here

>> View photographs from past conferences here