Photo of Tyla Betke

Tyla Betke

Ph.D. Candidate

Degrees:B.A. (Saskatchewan), M.A. (Saskatchewan)

Current Program:

Ph.D. History (2019)


Dr. Michel Hogue

Academic Interests:

Indigenous history, borderlands, settler colonialism, Canadian history, American history, community-engaged methods

Select Publications and Current Projects:

Betke, Tyla. “Cree (Nêhiyawak) Mobility, Diplomacy, and Resistance in the Canada-US Borderlands, 1885 – 1917.” Master’s thesis, University of Saskatchewan, 2019.

Kanigan, Joan, Elizabeth Scott, Taylin Dosch, and Tyla Betke. Inclusivity Report: Reconciliation and Diversity at the WDM. Saskatoon, SK: Western Development Museum, 2018.

Select Conference Contributions:

“Across the Border in Long Knife Country”: Solidifying Cree Territory in the United States in the Late 19th and Early 20th Centuries. Western Historical Association Annual Conference. Las Vegas, NV. October 2019.

“A Nation within Two Nations: Cree Diplomacy in the Canada – U.S. Borderlands, 1885-1920.” Underhill Graduation Student Colloquium. Ottawa, ON. March 2019. Also presented at University of Saskatchewan History Master’s Colloquium. Saskatoon, SK. November 2018.

“‘We Have Quite Enough Indians of Our Own’: Power and Portrayals of Little Bear’s Cree in Montanan Newspapers, 1885-1916.” Canadian Historical Association Annual Meeting. Regina, SK. May 2018.

“Cross-Border Criminals: Extradition between Great Britain and the United States, 1842-1890.” Crossing Borders Conference. Lewistown, NY, USA. March 2017.

Teaching Experience:

Teaching Assistant, The Making of Canada (J. St. Germain), Fall 2019

Description of Research:

This PhD project examines the transnational history of the Plains Cree from 1850 to 1950 through the lens of kinship. It determines how the institution of the international boundary influenced Cree communities and families, and how the Cree resisted these constraints. This research explores how Nehiyawak conceptualizations of kinship and nationhood changed across this period as both Canada and the United States worked to police and secure their international border. Examining how the Cree maintained and strengthened kinship ties despite colonial attempts to identify and separate them as either “Canadian” or “American” challenges persistent misunderstandings around Indigenous citizenship and illuminates Indigenous sovereignty and nationhood.

This project is designed to create partnerships and share knowledge with the Cree descendants of Big Bear’s Band. At present, these descendants are constructing genealogies and recording oral histories to preserve and understand the intergenerational effects of the 1885 Resistance on their people’s history, livelihood, and identities. This research will contribute directly to the band’s overall project and will be done in accordance with their ethics and research principles.