Brief History of CAPA-ACAP

The Canadian Association for Physical Anthropology (CAPA-ACAP) was founded at the 1972 meeting of the American Association of Physical Anthropologists by members Drs. Frank Auger (Univeristé de Montréal/Deceased), Charlie Eyman (University of Calgary/Deceased), Geoff Gaherty (McMaster University), Jamshed Mavalwala (University of Toronto), Jim Paterson (University of Calgary), and Chris Meiklejohn (University of Winnipeg). The founding members felt physical anthropologists in Canada should not have to travel to the United States in order to meet each other professionally. From there, the first meeting was held in Banff in February 1973, where Drs. Frank Auger, Braxton Alfred, and Chris Meiklejohn were elected President, Secretary/Treasurer, and Newsletter Editor, respectively. The Association has held an annual meeting every year since, all of which are listed in the Previous Meeting section.

As indicated above, the Executive Officers of the Association are the President, Secretary-Treasurer, and Newsletter Editor. In 2003, the position of Student Representation was created to provide student members with a more active voice within the Association. Finally, in order to keep the Membership informed using the most recent technology, the CAPA/ACAP website was launched in 1997 along with the position of Webmaster who was responsible for administering the webpage. The Association hired Cheryl Takahashi to design a new CAPA/ACAP website, which was launched in 2014 along with a change in Officer title from Webmaster to Website Editor. More information regarding the responsibilities of the officers can be found on the Officer's Duties page, current Officers are listed in the Officers section, and a list of previous Officers can be found below.

The Association began a Newsletter in 1976 with the intention of keeping the Membership appraised of relevant events on a regular basis. In 1979 the Newsletter was transformed into a journal, the Canadian Review of Physical Anthropology, which published four volumes. The journal ended in 1985 due to a combination of low circulation outside the Association membership and the costs involved in putting out a low circulation journal. Since the journal ceased publication, the Association continues to put out a Newsletter. In some years, topics typically published in the Newsletter were incorporated into volumes of the Canadian Journal of Anthropology to cut down on costs.

In 2005 Dr. Jerry Cybulski sent his collection of the Canadian Review of Anthropology and CAPA/ACAP Newsletters to then-president Dr. Andrew Neslon who had the documents converted to PDF files with the ultimate goal of creating an internet archive. As can be seen in the Publications section of this website, this archive is nearly complete and continues to be updated with the most resent publications from the Association.

The Association has also been involved in three other publication ventures. First, in association with the 1976 Annual Meeting was an international symposium in honour of Davidson Black, the Canadian anatomist who named Sinanthropus pekinensis in 1927. The symposium drew speakers from the United States, Germany, France, Indonesia and China and produced a volume edited by Sigmon and Cybulski (1981). Second, the XIth International Congress of Anthropological and Ethnological Sciences, held in Vancouver in 1983, included two symposia partly sponsored by CAPA. These led to a second publication edited by Kirk and Szathmary (1985), which included contributors from Canada, the United States, New Zealand, Japan, Australia, and Brazil, and was published as a special volume of the Journal of Pacific History. Finally, at the 1991 meeting in Hamilton, a symposium was organized to explore the results of the opening of the Iron Curtain, which resulted in a volume edited by Sigmon (1993) with contributions from Russia, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, East Germany, Poland and Albania.

The Association is now entering its 43rd year, and has averaged roughly 130 members a year from 1997 to 2013. A quick review of the Newsletters demonstrates that in the past 43 years the Association has greatly contributed to the promotion and recognition of issues related to physical anthropology in Canada. Examples include, but are not limited to:
• Addressing concerns of Canadian First Nations regarding the remains of their ancestors, including repatriation efforts and legislation.
• Promoting the recognition of physical anthropology research by federal funding agencies (i.e., SSHRC).
• Encouraging student involvement, including the creation of the Student Representative position, as well as funding opportunities for student research and conference travel costs.
• Supporting the reduction in the costs of the American Journal of Physical Anthropology (AJPA) so more universities could subscribe.
In years to come, the dedication of CAPA/ACAP Officers and Members will undoubtedly add to these successes, further contributing to the recognition and promotion of physical anthropology in Canada and abroad.

2012 - Present Dr. Tina Moffat (McMaster University)
2005 - 2012 Dr. Rob Hoppa (University of Manitoba)
2002 - 2005 Dr. Andrew Nelson (University of Western Ontario)
1999 - 2002 Dr. Richard Lazenby (University of Northern British Columbia)
1996 - 1999 Dr. Christine White (University of Western Ontario)
1993 - 1996 Dr. Annie Katzenberg (University of Calgary)
1989 - 1993? Dr. Nancy Lovell (University of Alberta)
1985? - 1989? Dr. Nancy Ossenberg (Queen’s University)
1981? - 1985? Dr. Susan Pfeiffer (University of Toronto)
1977 - 1979? Dr. Emőke J. E. Szathmáry (McMaster University)
1973 - 1977? Dr. Frank Auger (Université de Montréal)

2005 - Present Dr. Ian Colquhoun (University of Western Ontario)
2003 - 2005 Dr. Pascale Sicotte (University of Calgary)
2002 - 2003? Dr. Anne Zeller (University of Waterloo)
1998 - 2001? Dr. Charles Fitzgerald (McMaster University)
1994 - 1998 Dr. R. Lazenby (University of Northern British Columbia)
1990 - 1994 Dr. Chris Meiklejohn (University of Winnipeg)
1987 - 1990 Dr. Mary Jackes (University of Waterloo)
1984 - 1987 Dr. Shelly Saunders (McMaster University)
1981 - 1984 Dr. Sunny Jerkic (Memorial University of Newfoundland)
1978 - 1981 Dr. Nancy Ossenburg (Queen’s University)
1974 - 1978? Dr. Hermann Helmuth (Trent University)
1973 - 1974? Dr. Braxton Alfred (University of British Columbia)

2014 - Present Dr. Jennifer Sharman (Durham University, UK)
2008 - 2014 Dr. Megan Highet (University of Alberta)
2005 - 2008 Dr. Stacie Burke (University of Manitoba)
2002 - 2005 Dr. Robert D. Hoppa (University of Manitoba)
1996 - 2002 Dr. Nancy Lovell (University of Alberta)
1989 - 1996 Dr. Herman Helmuth (Trent University)
1986 - 1989? Dr. Francis Forest (Université de Montréal)
1983? - 1986? Dr. J.D. Paterson (University of Calgary)
1980? - 1983? Dr. William Wade (University of Manitoba)
1977 - 1980? Dr. Ross MacPhee (University of Winnipeg)
1976 - 1977? Dr. Christopher Meiklejohn (University of Winnipeg)

2014 - Present Madeleine Mant (McMaster University)
2011 - 2014 Amy Scott (University of Manitoba)
2009 - 2011 Christine Boston (University of Western Ontario)
2007 - 2009 Sarah Carnegie (University of Calgary)
2005 - 2007 Dori Rainey (McMaster University)
2003 - 2005 Joe Parish (University of Missouri-Columbia)

2014 - Present Asta Rand (Memorial University of Newfoundland)
1997 - 2014 Dr. Leslie Chan (University of Toronto) & Jennifer Smith


Kirk, Robert L., and Emőke J. E. Szathmáry (editors). 1985. Out of Asia: People of the Americas and the Pacific. Canberra, Australia: Journal of Pacific History.

Newsletter Editor (various). 1976-2014. Newsletter. Canadian Association for Physical Anthropology / L’Association Canadienne d’Anthropologie Physique.

Sigmon, Becky A. (editor). 1993. Before the Wall Fell: The Science of Man in Socialist Europe. Toronto: Canadian Scholars’ Press.

Sigmon, Becky A, and Jerry Cybulski (editors). 1981. Homo Erectus: Papers in Honor of Davidson Black. Symposia of the Canadian Association for Physical Anthropology Volume 1. Toronto: University of Toronto Press.

The CAPA/ACAP History section was updated in 2015 by the Website Editor Asta Rand (Memorial University of Newfoundland) on behalf of the Association. This updated version was based on the original from 1997 prepared by Dr. Chris Meiklejohn (University of Winnipeg). All information was can be found in the CAPA/ACAP Newsletters and associated documents available in PDF files on the CAPA/ACAP website and in the references provided above.