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Downey Allan, Associate Professor, Department of History | Nak'azdli Whut’en First Nation

photo of Allan Downey

Allan Downey

Associate Professor, Department of History | Nak'azdli Whut’en First Nation

Indigenous Studies Program


Allan Downey is Dakelh, Nak’azdli Whut’en, and an Associate Professor in the Department of History at McMaster University where his research and teaching focus on the history of Indigenous nationhood, sovereignty, and self-determination.  He is a graduate of Wilfrid Laurier University (PhD History, 2014) and a recent recipient of a Fulbright Fellowship to Columbia University.  Allan previously served as the Chair of the Indigenous Studies Program and as an Assistant Professor in the Department of History and Classical Studies at McGill University from 2015-2018.

Author of The Creator’s Game (2018), his first book traces the history of lacrosse in Indigenous communities to better understand Indigenous-non-Indigenous relations and Indigenous identity formation while recognizing the sport as a key site of Indigenous self-determination and articulations of sovereignty. Allan has been fortunate to receive several awards for his scholarship and he has published articles in the Journal of Canadian Studies, the Journal of the Canadian Historical Association, the Canadian Journal of History, as well as a chapter in the edited collection Making Men, Making History published by UBC Press. 

His current SSHRC funded research project focuses on the history of Indigenous ironworkers in New York City as a lens to view Indigenous modernity, self-determination, and nationhood.  Beyond his research and teaching activities, one of Allan’s greatest passions is working with Indigenous youth and he volunteers for several Indigenous communities and youth organizations throughout the year.


Recent Publications:

Downey, Allan. The Creator’s Game: Lacrosse, Identity, and Indigenous Nationhood. Vancouver: UBC Press, 2018.

Downey, Allan. “Claiming ‘Our Game’: Squamish Lacrosse and the Performance of Indigenous Nationhood in the Early Twentieth Century” in Robert Rutherdale and Peter Gossage, ed., Making Men, Making History: Canadian Masculinities across Time and Place. Vancouver: UBC Press (2018).

Downey, Allan.  “Mobilizing Indigenous Self-Determination in Unexpected Places.” Chronos McGill: Magazine of the Department of History and Classical Studies iss. 2 (2016).

Downey, Allan. “Remembering One of Kahnawake’s Greatest Lacrosse Rivalries” Iorì:was, 7 July 2016. See

Downey, Allan, and Susan Neylan.  “Racialized and Sporting Spaces on Canada’s West Coast.”  UTP Journals Blog (April 2016). See

Downey, Allan. “Playing the Creator’s Game on God’s Day: The Controversy of Sunday Lacrosse Games in Haudenosaunee Communities, 1916-1924” Journal of Canadian Studies 49, no. 3 (Fall 2015): 111-143. *Awarded the 2017 Canadian Historical Association’s Aboriginal History Article Prize.

Downey, Allan, and Susan Neylan. “Raven Plays Ball: Situating ‘Indian Sports Days’ within Indigenous and Colonial Spaces in 20th Century Coastal British Columbia.” Canadian Journal of History 50, no 3 (Winter 2015): 442-468.

Downey, Allan“Engendering Nationality: Haudenosaunee Tradition, Sport, and the Lines of Gender.” Journal of the Canadian Historical Association 23, no. 1 (2012): 319-354.