John Sandlos


John SandlosPosition


Member, College of New Scholars, Artists and Scientists,
Royal Society of Canada


  • Postdoctoral Fellow, Western (2004-06)
  • Ph.D. York University (2004)
  • M.E.S. York University (1997)
  • B.A. McGill University (1993)


Department of History
Office: AA-1022
Toxic Legacies Project:

Phone: (709) 864-2429

Research Interests

My research interests fall broadly within the field of enviornmental history in Canada. I have published widely on the history of wildlife conservation in Canada, particularly the impact of wildife regulations and national parks on Indigenous people. I have also completed several projects on the enviornmental history of mining in northern Canada, focusing on the environmental legacies of northern mines and the historical (and ongoing) impact of mining on Indigenous communities. My current research examines the history of mining hazards in Canada, including accidents, workplace pollution, industrial disease, and occupational health activism as a significant, but neglected contribution to the development of enviornmentalism in Canada. 

Abandones Mining Pit, Pine Point, NWTCurrent Research

My research interests incorporate broad themes from the field of environmental history. Most recently I have been studying the impact of northern mining and toxins on indiegenous communities. I have recently commenced a SSHRC-funded project on occupational disease, pollution, and workplace accidents in mining communities. 

My recent and current major reseach projects are the following:


Fall 2023
  • HIST 3030 - Environmental History (Distance Course)
  • HIST 4125 - Environmental Ideas in Canada and the United States
Winter 2024
  • HIST 2210 - Canada Since 1867

Student Supervision

I am interested in working with graduate students or honours students whose research plans falls into the broad field of Canadian environmental history. I am particularly interested in working with graduate students who would like to conduct research on the history of mining, mine accidents, occupational health, industrial pollution, toxic legacies or other industrial activities in Canada. I can also supervise students more broadly in the field of Canadian environmental history, particulary wildlife conservation and parks and protected areas

Selected Publications


Mining Country Cover

 John Sandlos and Arn Keeling, Mining Country: A History of Canada's Mines and Miners (Toronto: James Lorimer and Co., 2021). Winner of the Mary Lee Spene Documentary Book Award, Mining History Association. 

John Sandlos, "Holding Back the River: Water and Colonialism in Northwestern Ontario," Journal of the Canadian Historical Association 32, no. 2: 121-132.

Arn Keeling, Henrik Knudsen, and John Sandlos, “Mining and Colonialism in the North,” in Adrian Howkins and Peder Roberts eds. Cambridge History of the Polar Regions (Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2023), 430-61.

Anne Dance, Miranda Monosky, Arn Keeling and John Sandlos, “Environmental Legacies: Mine Remediation Policy and Practice in Northern Canada,” in Chris Southcott, Frances Abele, David Natcher, and Brenda Parlee eds. Extractive Industry and the Sustainability of Canada’s Arctic Communities (Montreal: McGill-Queen’s UP, 2022), 196-230.  

Mica Jorgenson and John Sandlos, “Dust versus Dust: Aluminum Therapy and Silicosis in the Canadian and Global Mining Industries.” Canadian Historical Review Vol. 102, No. 1 (March 2021)

John Sandlos, Arn Keeling, Caitlynn Beckett, Rosanna Nicol, "There is a Monster Under the Ground: Commemorating the History of Arsenic Contamination at Giant Mine as a Warning to Future Generations." Papers in Canadian History and the Environment no. 3 (October 2019) 

John Sandlos, “Societal Context for Early Model Emergence,” in Shane Mahoney and Valerius Geist, eds. The North American Model of Wildlife Conservation (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2019).

Arn Keeling and John Sandlos, “Never Just a Hole in the Ground” In Colin Coates and Graeme Wynn, eds. The Nature of Canada (Vancouver: UBC Press 2018), 203-222.

Guardians of Eternity Film (click to watch online a film about the Toxic Legacies Project)

Brenda Parlee, John Sandlos, and David Natcher, “Undermining Subsistence: Barren Ground Caribou in a ‘Tragedy of ‘Open Access’” Science Advances Vol. 4, Issue 2 (February 28, 2018).

John Sandlos, “The Past Facing Forward: History and Caribou Management in Northern Canada,” in Brenda Parlee and Ken Caine, eds. When the Caribou Do Not Come: Inuit Knowledge and Adaptive Management in the Western Arctic (Vancouver: UBC Press, 2018).

John Sandlos and Arn Keeling, “The Giant Mine’s Long Shadow: Arsenic Pollution and Native People in Yellowknife, NWT.” In John NcNeill and George Vrtis, eds. Mining North America: an Environmental History since 1522 (Oakland: University California Press, 2017), 280-312.

John Sandlos, “Communicating with Future Generations at Giant Mine: A Report on a Workshop Discussing Strategies for Giant Mine, Yellowknife, Northwest Territories.” (2017) 

Nathan Bennett, Robin Roth, Sarah C Klain, Kai Chan, Patrick Christie, Douglas A Clark, Georgina Cullman, Deborah Curran, Trevor J Durbin, Graham Epstein, Alison Greenberg, Michael P. Nelson, John Sandlos, Richard Stedman, Tara L Teel, Rebecca Thomas, Diogo Veríssimo, Carina Wyborn, “Conservation Social Science: Understanding and Integrating the Human Dimensions to Improve Conservation,” Biological Conservation Vol. 205 (2017): 93-108.

Arn Keeling and John Sandlos, “Ghost Towns and Zombie Mines: The Historical Dimensions of Mine Abandonment, Reclamation and Redevelopment in the Canadian North,” in Stephen Bocking and Brad Martin, eds. Ice Blink: Navigating Northern Environmental History (Calgary: University of Calgary Press, 2017), 377-420.

John Sandlos and Arn Keeling, “Toxic Legacies, Slow Violence and Environmental Injustice at Giant Mine, Northwest Territories,” The Northern Review 42 (2016): 7-21

Nathan Bennett, Robin Roth, Sarah Klain, Kai Chan, Douglas Clark, Georgina Cullman, Graham Epstein, Michael Nelson, Richard Stedman, Tara Teel, Rebecca Thomas, Carina Wyborn, Deborah Currans, Alison Greenberg, John Sandlos, Diogo Verissimo, “Mainstreaming the Social Sciences in Conservation,” Conservation Biology (2016) DOI: 10.1111/cobi.12788.

Mining and Communities in Northern Canada

John Sandlos and Arn Keeling, Eds. Mining and Communities in Northern Canada: History, Politics and Memory (Calgary: University of Calgary Press, 2015). Winner of the Canadian Studies Network Prize for Best Edited Collection (2016)

John Sandlos and Arn Keeling, “Aboriginal Communities, Traditional Knowledge, and the Environmental Legacies of Extractive Development in Canada,” Extractive Industries and Society Vol. 3, Issue 2 (2016): 278-87

John Sandlos, Arn Keeling and Kevin O'Reilly, Communicating Danger: A Community Primer on Communicating the Arsenic Hazards at Yellowknife’s Giant Mine to Future Generations. Open Access Report.

Jean-Sebatien Boutet, Arn Keeling and John Sandlos, “Mining and the Aboriginal Social Economy.” In Northern Communities Working Together: The Social Economy of Canada’s North, edited by Chris Southcott (University of Toronto Press, 2015), 198-227.

John Sandlos, “Point Pelee’s Summer of Discontent,” Blockades or Breakthroughs?: Aboriginal Peoples Confront the Canadian State, 1970-2010, edited by Yale Belanger and P. Whitney Lackenbauer (McGill-Queen’s, 2014).

John Sandlos, “National Parks in the Canadian North: Co-Management or Colonialism Revisited?” In Stan Stevens, ed., Indigenous Peoples, National Parks, and Protected Areas: a New Paradigm Linking Conservation, Culture, and Rights (University of Arizona Press, 2014), 133-49.

John Sandlos, "Nature’s Nations: The Shared History of Game, Fish, and Forest Protection between Canada and the United States," International Journal of Environmental Studies Monograph, Series Vol. 70, Issue 3 (2013), 358-7.

John Sandlos and Arn Keeling, Zombie Mines and the (Over)Burden of History, The Solutions Journal Vol. 4, Issue 3 (2013)

Peter Alagona, John Sandlos and Yolanda Wiersma, “Past Imperfect: Using Historical Ecology and Baseline Data for Contemporary Conservation and Restoration Projects,” Environmental Philosophy Vol. 9, No. 1 (2012), 49-70.

John Sandlos Arn Keeling, “Claiming the New North: Mining and Colonialism at the Pine Point Mine, Northwest Territories, Canada,” Environment and History Vol. 18, No. 1 (2012), 5-34.

John Sandlos, “Nature’s Playgrounds: The Parks Branch and Tourism Promotion in the National Parks, 1911-1929,” for volume edited by Claire Campbell titled, A Century of Parks Canada, 1911-2011,(University of Calgary Press), 53-78.

Arn Keeling and John Sandlos, “Shooting the Archives: Document Digitization for Historical-Geographical Collaboration,” History Compass Vol. 9, No. 5 (May 2011), 423-432.

Yolanda Wiersma and John Sandlos, “Once there were so many: Animals as Ecological Baselines,” Environmental History Vol. 16, No. 3 (July 2011- in special forum honoring the 50th anniversary of Peter Matthiessen’s Wildlife in America), 400-407.

John Sandlos and Arn Keeling), “Environmental Justice goes Underground? Historical Notes from Canada’s Northern Mining Frontier.” Environmental Justice 2,3 (Sept. 2009), 117-125.

John Sandlos, "Not Wanted in the Boundary: the Expulsion of the Keeseekoowenin Ojibway Band from Riding Mountain National Park," Canadian Historical Review Vol. 89, No. 2 (June 2008), 189-221.

Hunters at the Margin: Native People and Wildlife Conservation in the Northwest Territories John Sandlos, Hunters at the Margin: Native People and Wildlife Conservation in the Northwest Territories (Vancouver: University of British Columbia Press). Winner of the Canadian Historical Association's 2008 Clio Prize for best book on the history of the Canadian North. Winner of the Forest History Society's 2008 Charles A. Weyerhaeuser Prize for best book in forest and conservation history.

Liza Piper and John Sandlos, “A Broken Frontier: Ecological Imperialism in the Canadian North,” Environmental History Vol. 12, No. 4 (October 2007), 759-95.

John Sandlos, “Federal Spaces, Local Conflicts: National Parks and the Exclusionary Politics of the Conservation Movement in Ontario, 1900-1935.Journal of the Canadian Historical Association (2005), 293-318. Winner of the Journal of the Canadian Historical Association Prize.

John Sandlos, “Purple Loosestrife and the Bounding of Nature in North American Wetlands.” In Thomas Heyd, ed., Recognizing the Autonomy of Nature (New York: Columbia University Press, 2005), 137-53.

John Sandlos, “Landscaping Desire: Poetics, Politics in the Early Biological Surveys in the Canadian North.” Space and Culture, Vol. 6, Issue 4 (November 2003), 394-414.

John Sandlos, “Where the Scientists Roam: Ecology, Management and Bison in Northern Canada.” Journal of Canadian Studies, Vol. 37, No. 2 (Summer 2002), 93-129.

John Sandlos, "From the Outside Looking In: Aesthetics, Politics and Wildlife Conservation in the Canadian North.” Environmental History, Vol. 6, No. 1 (January 2001), 6-31.