Lesley Erickson

Lesley Erickson is a historian and editor living in Vancouver, British Columbia. Her educational history includes receiving a Ph.D. in Canadian history and legal history from the University of Calgary in 2003, and a master’s degree in publishing from Simon Fraser University in 2007. She is currently an editor with the University of British Columbia Press.

The focus of her historical writing is on the settlement of the Canadian Prairies, and specifically the upheavals and dislocations that accompanied. As stated in her own words, “I’m interested in the dark side of colonization and nation building, which my writing explores from various perspectives, including the life and time of Metis nuns at Red River and in the northern mission field; high-profile murder cases involving women; sexual violence in rural farming districts; and the contested meanings attached to Aboriginal suicide in the early contact and settlement periods.” Her Osgoode Society book,  Westward Bound, was a honourable mention for the 2011 Canadian Law and Society Association Book Prize.


Osgoode Society for Canadian Legal History Books

Westward Bound: Sex, Violence, the Law, and the Making of a Settler Society (Toronto: The Osgoode Society and the University of British Columbia Press, 2011), 352 pp.

Other Legal History Publications

Unsettled Pasts: Reconceiving the West through Women’s History (Calgary: University of Calgary Press, 2005), 432 pp. (co-edited with Sarah Carter, Patricia Roome and Char Smith)

‘Repositioning the Missionary: Sara Riel, the Grey Nuns, and Aboriginal Women in Catholic Missions of the Northwest, 1848-83’ In Patricia McCormack and Sarah Carter, eds., Recollecting: Lives of Aboriginal Women of the Canadian Northwest and Borderlands (Edmonton: AU Press, 2011), pp. 115-134.

‘Constructed and Contested Truths: Aboriginal Suicide, Law, and Colonialism in the Canadian West(s), 1823-1927’ Canadian Historical Review, Vol 86 (December 2005): 595-618.

‘”Bury Our Sorrows in the Sacred Heart”: Gender and the Métis Response to Colonialism – The Case of Sara and Louis Riel, 1848-1883” in Sarah Carter, Lesley Erickson, Patricia Roome, and Char Smith, eds., Unsettled Pasts: Reconceiving the West through Women’s History (Calgary: University of Calgary Press, 2005), pp. 17-46.

‘Murdered Women and Mythic Villains: The Criminal Case and the Imaginary Criminal in the Canadian West, 1886–1930’ in Jonathan Swainger and Constance Backhouse, eds., People and Place: Historical Influences on Legal Culture (Vancouver: UBC Press, 2003), 95-119 pp. 95-119.

‘”A Very Garden of the Lord”? Hired Hands, Farm Women, and Sex Crime Prosecutions on the Prairies, 1914-1929’ Journal of the Canadian Historical Association, new series 12, 2001, pp. 115-136.

‘The Interplay of Ethnicity and Gender: Swedish Women in Southeastern Saskatchewan’ in David De Brou and Aileen Moffatt, eds., “Other” Voices: Historical Essays on Saskatchewan Women (Regina: Canadian Plains Research Center, 1995), pp. 27-40.

‘A Just System? The Criminal-Trial Process for Serious Felonies in Nineteenth-Century Ontario’ Great Unsolved Mysteries of Canadian History, Website: Heaven and Hell on Earth: The Massacre of the “Black Donnellys.” (co-authored with Jennifer Pettit)