Historical and Ethnoecological Research Lab


We study human-landscape interactions in the past and how those dynamics relate to the present — particularly towards Indigenous sovereignty and socially informed environmental reclamation. We are interested in the historical ecology of the global north and in exploring the co-evolution of people and the inhabited landscape. To study these relationships we consider methodological approaches from archaeology, ethnoecology, functional botany, ecology, and molecular biology. Ultimately the goal of the HER Lab is understand the role of history in shaping the structure and function of ecosystems and to interrogate the role of colonialism and white supremacy within environmental and heritage management research and policy. 


Dr. Armstrong is currently conducting historical-ecological research in northern Ts'msyen and Gitxsan homelands in so-called Canada with a focus on resource extraction history and traditional resource and environmental management. Current and ongoing work includes the identification and study of ancient forest garden ecosystems, Indigenous data sovereignty, impacts of logging and mining on ethnobotanically important plants and Indigenous lifeways, and the evolution of the Malus genus. The HER Lab in Indigenous Studies at Simon Fraser University is currently accepting exceptional graduate students with a desire to undertake exploratory and outdoor research with a purpose.

Research interests

Ethnoecology, historical ecology, environmental archaeology, landscape archaeology, phytogeography, traditional resource & environmental management, heritage management, Indigenous Rights and Title, participatory action research, extractive industries, ethnobotany, paleoethnobotany, organismal botany, dendrology, population genetics

Funding sources

Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council 

Library and Archives Canada

Northern Scientific Training Program

National Geographic

Smithsonian Institution 

HER Lab is located on the Unceded, Ancestral Territories of xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Səl̓ílwətaʔ/Selilwitulh (Tsleil-Waututh), Kwikwitlem (Coquitlam), and Skwxwú7mesh Úxwumixw (Squamish) Peoples in the south and on Unceded Gitselasu Ts'msyen

Territories in the north.