McDowell, Jim


Jim McDowell is a veteran British Columbia historian. His first career was teaching, which took him into classrooms from northern California to Seattle, New York City, and Vancouver. He taught elementary school in California and Washington, worked as an inner-city education consultant in Harlem and Brooklyn, and educated teachers at Simon Fraser University. McDowell also worked for 20 years as a freelance writer and independent reporter; he wrote hundreds of newspaper and magazine articles for Canadian and U.S. publications.

McDowell has four published books: Peace Conspiracy: The Story of Warrior-Businessman Yoshiro Fujimura (McBo, Irvine, CA 1993), a partial biography of a once obscure Japanese naval commander; Hamatsa: The Enigma of Cannibalism on the Pacific Northwest Coast (Ronsdale, Vancouver, BC 1997), an investigation of the existence of cannibalism among early Northwest Coast Native people; Josè Maria Narvaez: The Forgotten Explorer (Arthur H. Clark, Spokane, WA 1998), the first full life story of the Spanish-Mexican navigator; and Father August Brabant: Saviour or Scourge? by Ronsdale, which presents a thorough, unvarnished biography of the first Catholic missionary to work on Vancouver Island during the colonial period.

McDowell is also working on two other books: one about birdsong, which uses folktales from around the world to probe the possible psychological significance of bird songs for human beings; another about walks for seniors and families.