Celebrating with Dr. Cody Groat

Tuesday, December 5, 2023

On November 29, 2023 at Wilfrid Laurier University, Cody Groat successfully defended his thesis that critically examined the work of the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada and its commemoration of Indigenous histories.

"Cody’s PhD defence was just brilliant," commends Dr. Susan Neylan, Cody's supervisor. "It’s such a pleasure to see him shine in a defence that was more a conversation among colleagues than the final task to overcome in the journey to a doctorate. His research into the ways in which the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada has ignored and even erased Indigenous peoples over the last century is an important study into how settler colonialism functions (and indeed, persists) intellectually through history commemoration."

Cody further explains that the thesis entitled, "Always a Part of the Land: Settler Colonialism, Indigenous Histories, and the Commemoration of National Historic Sites, 1919-2019," demonstrated the ways that the Government of Canada was actively involved in the construction of historical narratives that advanced its own objectives, shown by the narrow interpretation of treaties and the Indian Residential School System, among other examples. (Note: link is to abstract only at the time of writing.)

In addition to Dr. Susan Neylan of Wilfrid Laurier University, Dr. Groat's advisory committee included Dr. Gary Warrick from Laurier, Dr. Susan Roy from Waterloo, and Dr. Alan Gordon from Guelph prior to his death. Dr. Peter Farrugia, was the internal/external. The external examiner was Dr. Cecilia Morgan from University of Toronto.

Dr. Cody Groat remains a tenure track Assistant Professor in the Department of History and the Indigenous Studies Program at Western. Now that his degree is finished, he hopes to start supervising graduate students on subjects associated with Indigenous history in the 19th and 20th centuries. He is also transitioning his thesis into a manuscript with a hopeful publication in 2025.

Cody Groat in front of Laurier

The structure and collegial atmosphere of the Tri-U Program was extremely rewarding as a student. I would highly recommend it for students who are interested in a Masters or Doctoral degree. 

Dr. Cody Groat