Frank Tough

Tough 2016

“The Great Digital Transformation”: Enclosing the archival commons”


Frank Tough, Associate-Dean (Academic), Professor of Native Studies (University of Alberta) and historical geographer, has published As Their Natural Resources Fail: Native People and the Economic History of Northern Manitoba, 1870-1930 (UBCPress) which received two book awards. Frank Tough has specialized in the post-1870 historical geographies of Aboriginal peoples and has acquired an expertise in a variety of federal government records, several provincial archives, as well as, the more conventional archival sources (Indian Affairs, missionaries and the Hudson’s Bay Company).

He has published articles/chapters on the transfer of Rupertsland, the economic policies of Indian Affairs after 1870, Indian economic behavior, the demise of Native fisheries, Indian treaties, the Natural Resources Transfer Agreement, the Rupertsland Transfer, and Métis entitlements (scrip). His finding often dispute the conventional thinking of lawyers and historians. Archival records have been crucial in provide evidence in support for successful Métis litigation strategy. He has also engaged in archival research for the Ontario Native Affairs Secretariat, the federal Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples and the Treaty Commissioner Office of Saskatchewan. Efforts have focused on maintaining a research lab which digitizes historical documents, making archival records accessible online through database technology, and training undergraduate students in applied research.