October 7, 1931–March 8, 2018
Anthony (Tony) Dwight Fisher passed away on March 8, 2018 on Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada at the age of 86. He was a professor at the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, between 1965 and 1994, and was a founding member of the Anthropology Department. Fisher’s publications include co-editorship of multiple editions of The North American Indians: A Sourcebook, which for many years was a leading text in the field.
Fisher grew up in Palo Alto, California. His father, Harold Fisher, taught Russian history at Stanford University for 30 years and also chaired the Hoover Institute. Fisher completed his BA, MA, and PhD degrees at Stanford, and served for four years in the US Navy, 18 months of which were served aboard a minesweeper off the coast of Korea. He taught anthropology for two years at the University of California, Santa Barbara, before moving with his wife and three children to Canada in 1965. He took a position at the University of Alberta, where he taught in the Department of Anthropology and the Faculty of Education for 30 years. Fisher was a founding member of the Council of Anthropology and Education, a section of the American Anthropological Association.
Fisher was known best for his collaborative research with Treaty Nations and Metis in Alberta. He was active in the Treaty and Aboriginal Rights Research group of the Indian Association of Alberta, which under the leadership of Harold Cardinal challenged and ultimately overturned the policies initiated under the now infamous White Paper of 1969, a Canadian federal policy paper that proposed to abolish the Indian Act and treaties. He was also a lead collaborator in the groundbreaking Project Iron Star, which implemented a system that connected First Nations communities to media networks, and was an active participant in the development of the Native Studies program at the University of Alberta. When he did fieldwork with Blood Indians, they gave him a horse in gratitude.
Fisher is remembered as a maverick. He loved cars and in 1977 became involved with the Northern Alberta Sports Car Club. He and a friend formed the Mad Dog Racing team with Fisher as the driver. He raced both on dry tracks and on ice, and his nickname in the ice racing world was “Mad Dog Fisher.”
In 1998 Fisher and his wife Laura retired to Vancouver Island, where he enjoyed many years of playing golf and swimming with the Aquannis Masters swimmers. In August 2018, his family, former students, friends, and colleagues will gather at the University of Alberta to share our stories and celebrate his life. (Michael Asch, Jean DeBernardi, Carl Urion, and Rod Wilson)
Cite as: Asch, Michael, Jean DeBernardi, Carl Urion, and Rod Wilson. 2018.”Anthony (Tony) Dwight Fisher.” Anthropology News website, June 12, 2018. DOI: 10.1111/AN.885