Vanessa Sloan Morgan


Vanessa Sloan Morgan

Biography: Vanessa understands themself as a sixth generation white settler from unceded Coast Salish Territories on Vancouver Island, British Columbia. Involved with the HEC Lab since 2010, Vanessa is now a guest to unceded Musqueum, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh First First Nations / Vancouver, BC where they work as a Project Coordinator and graduate student at Queen’s University. Vanessa’s primary role with the HEC Lab involves documenting the complexities of navigating the land question in BC, specifically through a SSHRC funded community-based and directed project exploring modern treaty negotiation and implementation. This study and Vanessa’s previous graduate work, which was conducted within Heather and Huu-ay-aht First Nations, a Maa-nulth Treaty signatories, long-standing research partnership, has greatly informed Vanessa’s PhD research – an overly ambitious project that seeks to critically engage settler responsibility in the settler colonial context of Canada. Heavily informed by anarchic and anti-colonial thought, the goal of this research is to encourage responsible thought and thoughtful action in regards to Indigenous-settler and (dependently extractive) environmental relations. Vanessa successfully defended her PhD on October 5, 2017. When not feverishly trying to meet deadlines, Vanessa can be found frolicking with their four-legged companion, Halem.

 Areas of Interest: Critical geography; Indigenous-state relations; Indigenous-settler relations; anti-colonial theory and praxis; scholarly activism; anarchic theory and praxis; autonomous geographies; radical pedagogy; comprehensive land claims; British Columbia; legal geography; settler colonialism

PhD Project: Beyond Colonial Confines: Responsibility as redress within geographies of Indigenous-settler relations  

Masters of Environmental Studies Thesis: The Maa-nulth Treaty: Huu-ay-aht youth visions for post-Treaty life, embedded in the present colonial conditions of Indigenous-Settler relations in British Columbia

Abstract: This study utilized the Maa-nulth Treaty to explore contemporary Indigenous-Settler relations in BC. Using digital storytelling, youth from one of the five signatory Maa-nulth First Nations identified their priorities for their Nation in a post-Treaty era. These stories were contrasted with a discourse analysis of mainstream media coverage surrounding the Treaty and a survey of local (mainly Settler) residents’ perceptions to explore dominant perspectives pertaining to the comprehensive land claims agreement. While youths’ ideas for the future were anchored to their Indigenous cultural identity, albeit integrating technology and novel art forms, Settlers’ perspectives remained statically centered upon ill-informed strains of colonial thought premised upon socio-political and economic stereotypes. These findings point to the need for Settlers to engage in their own processes of decolonization.


Journal Articles

de Leeuw, S., Parkes, M., Sloan Morgan, V., Christensen, J., Lindsay, N., Mitchell-Foster, K. & Russell, J. (in press). Going unscripted: A call to critically engage storytelling methods and methodologies in geography and the medical-health sciences. The Canadian Geographer.

Sloan Morgan, V., Castleden, H., & Huu-ay-aht First Nations. (2014). Redefining the cultural landscape in British Columbia: Huu-ay-aht youth visions for a post-treaty era in Nuu-chah-nulth territory. ACME: An International E-Journal for Critical Geographies, 13(3), 551–580.

Sloan Morgan, V., & Castleden, H. (2014). An exploration of Indigenous-settler relations in the Port Alberni Valley, British Columbia regarding implementation of the 2011 Maa-nulth Treaty: Indigenous-settler relations and the Maa-nulth Treaty. The Canadian Geographer / Le Géographe Canadien, 58(4), 469–480. doi:10.1111/cag.12120

Sloan Morgan, V. & Castleden, H. (2014). Framing Indigenous-settler relations within a modern treaty context: A discourse analysis of the Maa-nulth Treaty in mainstream media. International Indigenous Policy Journal, 5(3). URL

Sloan Morgan, V. (2014). Intervention -Empty words on occupied lands?: Positionality, settler colonialism, and the politics of recognition. Antipode Foundation: A Radical Geography Community.

Castleden, H., Daley, K., Sloan Morgan, V. & Sylvestre, P. (2013). Settlers unsettled: Using field schools and digital stories to transform geographies of ignorance involving Indigenous peoples in Canada. Journal of Geography in Higher Education, doi: 10.1080/03098265.2013.796352

Masuda, J.R., Anderson, S., Letourneau, N., Sloan Morgan, V. & Stewart, M. (2012). Reconciling preferences and constraints in online peer support for youth with Asthma and Allergies. Health Promotion Practice, doi: 10.1177/1524839912465083.

Castleden, H., Sloan Morgan, V. & Lamb, C. (2012). “I spent the first year drinking tea”: Exploring Canadian university researchers’ perspectives on the tensions of community-based participatory research involving Indigenous peoples. The Canadian Geographer, 56(2), 160–179.

Castleden, H., Sloan Morgan, V. & Neimanis, A. (2010). Researchers’ perspectives on collective/community co-authorship in community-based participatory Indigenous research. The Journal of Empirical Research on Health Research Ethics 5(4), 23-32.

Book Chapters

Sloan Morgan, V. (2016). Swimming against the current: Towards an anti-colonial anarchism in British Columbia, Canada. In M. Lopes de Souza, R. White & S. Springer (eds.) Theories of resistance: Anarchism, geography, and the spirit of revolt. New York, NY: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers: 177-206.

Castleden, H., Sloan Morgan, V. & Franks, A. (2016). “Not another interview!”:
Using photovoice and digital storytelling as props in participatory health geography research. In J. Baxter & N. Fenton (eds.). Practicing qualitative methods in health geographies. New York, NY: Routledge: 167-189.

Book Reviews

Sloan Morgan, V. (2016). Review of the book Anarchy, geography, modernity: Selected writings of Elisée Reclus, by John Clark and Camille Martin. AAG Review of Books, 4(2): 81-83. (Invited reviewer).

Sloan Morgan, V. (2016) Review of the book Can non-Europeans think?, by Hamid Dabashi. Journal of Contemporary European Studies, 24(2): 305-306 (Invited reviewer).

Sloan Morgan, V. (2015). Review of the book On being here to stay: Treaties and Aboriginal rights in Canada. by Michael Asch. Anarchist Developments in Cultural Studies, 1: 155-161; republished with Intercontinental Cry Magazine (2015), URL:

Sloan Morgan, V. (2014). Review of the book Cartography of revolutionary anarchism, by Michael Schmidt. Antipode Foundation: A Radical Geography Community, URL:

Additional Writing:

In an ever-long struggle to make academic writing appealing, accessible, and relevant, Vanessa is a correspondent for a magazine called Intercontinental Cry. This magazine reports on Indigenous led and anti-capitalist/colonial struggles around the world. Vanessa writes on topics concerning Indigenous-settler relations. The magazine is open access, crowd-funded, has a creative commons licence, and can be found at: Profile: