For Canada, Asia does not exist “over there.” It is, has been, and will continue to be, right here, contributing to and shaping our country. Canada’s citizenry includes over 7.5 million people — almost 22 per cent of the population — who were born outside Canada. Recent immigrants to this country are more likely to have come from Asia and the Middle East than from Europe. Chinese ancestry, East Indian ancestry and Filipino ancestry are among the 20 most common ancestries reported by the Canadian population. (Census of Canada, 2016).
Archaeology is a historical science aimed at the discovery and understanding of past human behaviour through the study of material remains. Archaeologists draw the bulk of their information from physical artifacts left at locations where people lived, worked, visited and were buried long ago. The Canadian Encyclopedia features articles on many of the country’s archaeological sites, organized here by the provinces and territories in which they are found.
An ulu is a cutting tool specific to the material culture of the Inuit. A practical device, the ulu has been significant to traditional subsistence strategies, namely hunting and harvesting. However, the ulu also holds cultural significance, especially to women, who have historically used the tool to cut meat for food, and skins for clothing. Today, some Inuit still use ulus for food preparation; others recognize the ulu for its traditional value.
Smudging is a cultural ceremony practised by a wide variety of Indigenous peoples in Canada and other parts of the world. Although practices differ, smudging is used for medicinal and practical purposes as well as for spiritual ceremonies. The practice generally involves prayer and the burning of sacred medicines, such as sweetgrass, cedar, sage and tobacco. While colonization has repressed such traditions, the practice of smudging has survived to the present day.
Kanyen'kéha or Kanien'kéha (also known as the Mohawk language) is an Indigenous language of North America. Kanyen'kéha utilizes the Roman alphabet to write a standardized written form of the language. One of its notable features is that it is polysynthetic, meaning that various parts of the language that carry meaning (morphemes) can be combined to form a multiplicity of words. Many common place names also stem from Kanyen’kéha terms, including Canada, which originates from the word kaná:ta (“town”); similarly, Ontario comes from Kanyatarí:yo or Kaniatarí:io (“beautiful lake”) and Toronto from Aterónto (“logs in the water” or “standing trees in water”).
Chinook Jargon or Chinook Wawa — wawa meaning "talk" — is a pidgin language that was prevalent in British Columbia and the Pacific Northwest in the 1800s and early 1900s. Its small vocabulary and simplified grammar and sound system made it ideal for communication between diverse communities, especially those engaged in trade. The language is based on Lower Chinook, Nuu-chah-nulth (Nootka), French, English, with some contributions from Salishan, and other Indigenous languages. It is estimated that approximately 100,000 people could speak Chinook Wawa in 1875, and it was used widely in court testimony, newspaper advertising, missionary activity among Indigenous peoples, and everyday conversation from central British Columbia to northern California.
The forcible expulsion and confinement of ethnic Japanese during the Second World War represents one of the most tragic sets of events in Canada’s history. Some 22,000 Canadian citizens and residents were taken from their homes on Canada’s West Coast, without any charge or due process, and exiled to remote areas of eastern British Columbia and elsewhere. Ultimately, the Canadian government stripped the Japanese Canadians of their property and pressured them to accept mass deportation after the war ended. These events are popularly known as the Japanese Canadian internment. However, various scholars and activists have challenged this term on the grounds that under international law, internment refers to detention of enemy aliens, whereas most Japanese Canadians were Canadian citizens.
Canada’s oldest and one of its most important arts institutions, the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts (Musée des beaux-arts de Montréal) has been guided by a commitment to attract people from all walks of life. Established in 1847, originally under the name of Montreal Society of Artists, it became the Art Association of Montreal in 1860. In 1948-49, the association formed a new corporation under its present name. In 1972, it became a semipublic institution, largely funded by grants from different government levels.
Aboriginal Peoples Television Network (APTN) is the world’s first Indigenous national broadcaster dedicated to Indigenous programming. First broadcast on 1 September 1999 in Winnipeg, Manitoba, APTN provides various content, including news, dramas and documentaries. Aimed at diverse audiences, APTN offers programming in Indigenous languages, English and French. It broadcasts into more than 11 million Canadian households and businesses, a significant portion of which are located in remote areas. APTN mainly generates revenue for operations through subscriber fees, advertising sales and partnerships.