University of Saskatchewan

September 15, 2014   

U of S researcher in native-newcomer relations wins top national award

Canada Research Chair Jim Miller
December 16, 2010

University of Saskatchewan history professor Jim Miller has been awarded the Gold Medal for Achievement in Research by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC), the federal research funding agency’s highest honour.

Miller receives the award for his decades of study on the evolving relationships between Aboriginal Peoples and the peoples that later settled in Canada.

“Professor Miller’s work provides a clear and unflinching look at how events of our shared history damaged the relationships between Aboriginal people and non-Aboriginal people in Canada,” said U of S President Peter MacKinnon.

“This knowledge has become part of the foundation for reconciliation among our communities as we build a future together. We are proud to count such an extraordinary scholar among our faculty.”

The SSHRC Gold Medal is awarded to an individual whose leadership, dedication, and originality of thought have significantly advanced understanding in their field of research, enriched Canadian society, and contributed to the country's cultural and intellectual life. Miller is the eighth recipient of the award since its inception in 2003.

“These winners are excellent examples of the impact that research in the social sciences and humanities has on society, and of its importance to Canada’s success,” said Chad Gaffield, President of SSHRC.

Miller, who holds the Canada Research Chair in Native-Newcomer Relations, has taught at the U of S since 1970. He is Canada’s leading expert on historical and contemporary issues related to native-newcomer relations, and his expertise is often sought by the media. For example, he provided commentary for the live coverage of Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s 2008 apology, on behalf of the Canadian government, to First Nations people for the trauma of the residential schools.

Miller’s current work centres on reconciliation for residential school survivors and urging governments to make good on the official apology with further action. One area in particular is the need to provide better education opportunities for young aboriginal people, an area that has suffered from chronic underfunding.

Miller is a respected consultant on treaty and residential school issues whose counsel is sought by governments and aboriginal groups alike. He has worked closely with the Office of the Treaty Commissioner (OTC) for Saskatchewan as an advisor and in developing the OTC’s education program ‘Teaching Treaties in the Classroom,’ a curriculum guide designed to help teachers explore the topic of treaties with their students. He has also worked with Indian and Northern Affairs Canada (INAC) and serves as a member of the Research Advisory Committee for the newly established Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

Miller has written several groundbreaking books, including Skyscrapers Hide the Heavens: A History of Indian-White Relations in Canada, widely recognized as the first comprehensive account of the subject in Canada and now in its third edition. His book Shingwauk’s Vision: A History of Native Residential Schools was the first comprehensive history of residential schools in Canada and has earned Miller numerous awards and honours, among them the J.W. Dafoe Prize, the Association for Canadian Studies Writing Award and the Saskatchewan Writing Awards Non-Fiction Book of the Year.

Miller has been recognized for his contributions on numerous occasions. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada and in 1997 won the U of S Distinguished Researcher Award.

Recipients of the SSHRC Gold Medal are nominated by their peers and selected by a multidisciplinary committee comprised of leading university researchers from Canada and abroad. Winners receive a gold medal and $100,000 towards research and scholarly activities.

For more information on the SSHRC Gold Medal, visit



For more information, contact:

Michael Robin
University Research Communications
(306) 966-1425

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