Glen Coulthard
Coulthard in 2013
Glen Sean Coulthard

1974 (age 49–50)
Academic background
Alma materUniversity of Victoria
ThesisSubjects of Empire? (2009)
Doctoral advisorJames Tully
Other advisorsTaiaiake Alfred
InfluencesFrantz Fanon
Academic work
School or traditionMarxism
Main interests
Notable worksRed Skin, White Masks (2014)
Notable ideasGrounded normativity

Glen Sean Coulthard (born 1974) is a Canadian scholar of Indigenous studies who serves as an associate professor in the political science department at the University of British Columbia. A member of the Yellowknives Dene First Nation, he is also a co-founder, educator, and on the board of directors at Dechinta: Centre for Research and Learning.[1][2][3] He is best known for his 2014 book, Red Skin, White Masks: Rejecting the Colonial Politics of Recognition, which has been released in both English and French.[4][5]


Coulthard received his Master of Arts in the Indigenous governance program, as well as his doctorate in philosophy in the Department of Political Science, at the University of Victoria.[6][7]

His masters thesis, entitled, Facing the Challenge of Freedom: Dene Nationalism and the Politics of Cultural Recognition, was published at the University of Victoria in 2003.

His doctorate dissertation, supervised by philosopher James Tully, was titled, Subjects of Empire? Indigenous Peoples and the "Politics of Recognition" in Canada, published in 2009 at the University of Victoria.[7] A version of this writing, entitled, "Subjects of Empire: Indigenous Peoples and the 'Politics of Recognition' in Canada", won best article of the year after being published in Contemporary Political Theory in 2007.[8]


Dory Nason and Coulthard in 2013

After receiving his PhD at the University of Victoria in 2009, Coulthard co-founded Dechinta, with programming beginning in 2010.[7][9] While he taught at Dechinta periodically, after 2015, Coulthard began spending half his teaching time there following a partnership between Dechinta and UBC.[10]

Coulthard has visited various universities, conferences, and organizations, being featured on panels or giving lectures on topics of Indigenous politics and colonialism (see Recorded lectures/talks).

In 2011, Coulthard criticized police and Vancouver mayor Gregor Robertson for listing anarchists among the instigators of the 2011 Vancouver Stanley Cup riot, stating that, "More than the majority of anarchists would ascribe to non-violent construction of alternatives to capitalism, government, police, or more repressive regimes,".[11]

In 2014, Coulthard released his first book, Red Skin, White Masks: Rejecting the Colonial Politics of Recognition, garnering various academic awards (see Books) and critical success.[4][12][13] The Canadian Journal of Law and Society said that Coulthard's book "immediately establishes itself as a cornerstone in the areas of Indigenous governance, political theory, and activism."[14] The title itself is a play on the title of Black Skin, White Masks by Frantz Fanon, a nod to the heavy influence of Fanon's anti-colonial work that Coulthard integrated into his writing.[15] As activist and journalist Harsha Walia states, regarding Red Skin, White Masks,

Coulthard's premise is a forceful one: there is no freedom to be found in or from the settler-colonial state. Drawing primarily on Frantz Fanon, Coulthard interrogates how concessions by the state maintain both the objective and subjective realms of colonial power. He challenges the liberal pluralism of state-based efforts at recognition that serve to mediate and accommodate Indigenous claims through the Canadian state itself.[16]

Red Skin, White Masks featured the Coulthard's coining of the term grounded normativity, which scholar Leanne Betasamosake Simpson describes as "the ethical frameworks generated by place-based practices and associated knowledges."[17] The book features criticisms of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada, which Coulthard says ignores the ongoing nature of colonialism.[18]

In November 2019, along with Angela Davis, the Palestinian Youth Movement, Winona LaDuke, and many other people and organizations, Coulthard co-signed an open letter calling on the United Nations to condemn the coup in Bolivia.[19]

In December 2019, Coulthard criticized a Royal Canadian Mounted Police run drug prevention program for First Nations youth from Whatì, with accusations of poverty tourism.[20]

Coulthard was quoted in various publications during the early 2020 blockades of Canadian rail lines in protest of Canadian invasion of Wetʼsuwetʼen land.[21][22] As quoted in The Guardian, in response to backlash from Prime Minister of Canada, Justin Trudeau,

He has placed the onus, the burden of proof, on Indigenous peoples to demonstrate their commitment to reconciliation on his terms – or on the terms of a weaponized majority – by pitting so-called 'regular Canadians and workers' against Indigenous peoples who have been rendered minorities on their homeland due to colonization and a history of genocide.[23]

In March 2020, Coulthard wrote an open letter to Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, Bill Blair, in support of immigrant detainees on hunger strike in attempt to be released from Laval Immigration Monitoring Centre in Quebec, due to the COVID-19 crisis.[24]

Listed works


Essays in books

Publications in journals

As editor

Recorded lectures/talks



  1. ^ "From Recognition to Decolonization". Archived from the original on 2020-08-15. Retrieved 2020-04-09.
  2. ^ "Resurgent Indigenous Politics: A Conversation With Glen Coulthard". _EDGE. 2015-11-26. Archived from the original on 2021-09-20. Retrieved 2020-04-09.
  3. ^ Zingel, Avery (28 March 2019). "Dechinta 'bush university' eyes expansion with 5 years of federal funding". CBC News. Archived from the original on 24 October 2020. Retrieved 9 April 2020.
  4. ^ a b "Red Skin, White Masks". Archived from the original on 2023-09-06. Retrieved 2020-04-09.
  5. ^ "Peau rouge, masques blancs". Lux Éditeur (in French). Archived from the original on 2019-10-31. Retrieved 2020-04-09.
  6. ^ Coulthard, Glen Sean (2003). Facing the challenge of freedom: Dene nationalism and the politics of cultural recognition (Thesis). OCLC 858622713.
  7. ^ a b c Coulthard, Glen Sean; Tully, James; University of Victoria (B.C.); Department of Political Science; University of Victoria (B.C.) (2009). Subjects of Empire?: indigenous peoples and the "Politics of recognition" in Canada. hdl:1828/1913. ISBN 978-0-494-66857-3. OCLC 858655508.
  8. ^ "Glen Sean Coulthard". Archived from the original on 2021-06-12. Retrieved 2020-04-10.
  9. ^ "Past Programs". Dechinta. Archived from the original on 2020-11-29. Retrieved 2020-04-10.
  10. ^ "N.W.T.'s Dechinta learning centre partners with University of British Columbia". CBC News. 21 November 2015. Archived from the original on 23 August 2019. Retrieved 9 April 2020.
  11. ^ "Don't blame the anarchists, UBC professor says". 24 June 2011. Archived from the original on 15 February 2016. Retrieved 25 April 2020.
  12. ^ Intercontinental.Cry (2014-08-18). "Book Review: Red Skin, White Masks: Rejecting the Colonial Politics of Recognition". Intercontinental Cry. Archived from the original on 2020-11-08. Retrieved 2020-04-10.
  13. ^ "Book review: Red Skin, White Masks: Rejecting the Colonial Politics of Recognition". 2014-08-05. Archived from the original on 2020-09-20. Retrieved 2020-04-10.
  14. ^ Clifford, Robert (2015-08-05). "Red Skin, White Masks: Rejecting the Colonial Politics of Recognition by Glen Coulthard (review)". Canadian Journal of Law and Society. 30 (2): 318–320. doi:10.1017/cls.2015.10. ISSN 1911-0227. S2CID 141533097.
  15. ^ "The Colonialism of the Present". Archived from the original on 2020-04-22. Retrieved 2020-04-10.
  16. ^ "'Land is a Relationship': In conversation with Glen Coulthard on Indigenous nationhood". 2015-01-20. Archived from the original on 2020-02-07. Retrieved 2020-04-10.
  17. ^ MacRae, Gavin (23 April 2019). "As We Have Always Done: Nishnaabeg Anticapitalism". Watershed Sentinel. Archived from the original on 2021-10-20. Retrieved 2020-04-10.
  18. ^ Coulthard, Glen Sean, 1974- (2014). Red Skin, White Masks : Rejecting the Colonial Politics of Recognition. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press. ISBN 978-1-4529-4242-1. OCLC 891449749.((cite book)): CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link) CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  19. ^ "#ThisIsACoup". 2019-11-11. Archived from the original on 2023-09-06. Retrieved 2020-04-10.
  20. ^ Minogue, Sara (23 December 2019). "Drug-awareness field trip to Vancouver opens eyes of N.W.T. youth, raises concerns of 'poverty tourism'". CBC News. Archived from the original on 26 December 2019. Retrieved 9 April 2020.
  21. ^ "Blockades a genius assertion of Indigenous power: UBC-based First Nations thinker Glen Coulthard". The Georgia Straight. 2020-02-19. Archived from the original on 2020-05-12. Retrieved 2020-04-10.
  22. ^ "Painting The Wet'suwet'en People By One Stroke". The Organization for World Peace. 17 March 2020. Archived from the original on 2023-09-06. Retrieved 2020-04-10.
  23. ^ Lindeman, Tracey (2020-02-21). "Justin Trudeau tells Canada protesters: 'The barricades need to come down'". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Archived from the original on 2020-04-04. Retrieved 2020-04-10.
  24. ^ "Good God, Canada, migrants are not criminals. Release them all". 2020-04-06. Archived from the original on 2020-04-10. Retrieved 2020-04-10.
  25. ^ "The Frantz Fanon Award". Archived from the original on 2019-10-08. Retrieved 2020-04-10.
  26. ^ a b "Glen Coulthard | First Nations and Indigenous Studies". Archived from the original on 2019-12-05. Retrieved 2020-04-07.
  27. ^ "R.A.C.E. Network". Archived from the original on 2017-06-21. Retrieved 2020-04-10.