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Irish Famine Orphans in Canada

Thousands of children became orphans during the 1847 Irish famine migration to British North America. Public authorities, private charities and religious officials all played a part in addressing this crisis. Many orphans were placed with relatives or with Irish families. A considerable number were also taken in by Francophone Catholics in Canada East, and by English-speaking Protestants in New Brunswick. Although many families took in orphans for charitable reasons, most people were motivated by the pragmatic value of an extra pair of hands on the farm or in the household.

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Common-Law Unions in Canada

A common-law union occurs when two people live together in a conjugal relationship, generally for at least a year (or more depending on the province in which they reside). Common-law couples in Canada have many of the same legal, parental and financial rights and obligations as married couples.

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Jeunesses Laurentiennes

Jeunesses Laurentiennes (also known as Jeunes Laurentiens; both expressions mean “Laurentian youth”) was a French-Canadian nationalist youth movement founded in 1936. With a traditional vision of society, in which the Catholic religion played a central role, Jeunesses Laurentiennes organized conferences and celebrations, published a magazine, and occasionally acted as a pressure group. Until the organization was disbanded in 1950, it served as a training ground for many young militant French-Canadian nationalists.

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Thule Culture

Thule culture, 1000-1600 CE, represents the expansion of Alaskan Inuit across arctic Canada about 1000 CE and the gradual displacement of the Dorset peoples who occupied the area previously.

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Petitioning in Canada

Petitioning is one of the most common tools of political protest accessible to the local population. Limited during the era of New France, the practice of collectively petitioning political authorities became much more frequent in the years following the Conquest by the British. Sanctioned in the 1689 Bill of Rights, petitioning had been a common practice in Britain for centuries, and ever since 1763, Canadians have been sending petitions to their governments (colonial, imperial, federal, provincial, and municipal) for a variety of reasons. With the recent introduction of e-petition, Canadians, more than ever, can have their voices heard in government.

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Indian Food in Canada

Indian food is a more recent addition to the culinary scene in Canada, having gained prominence primarily in the post-1960s era of immigration. It is characterized mainly by the Northern Indian approach to cuisine, which features breads and warm curries and the use of yogurt and cream in meat-based dishes. But it also bears the influence of South Indian cooking, which frequently plays with the combination of sour and spicy and the use of tamarind and chilies. However, many typical Indo-Canadian dishes, such as kedgeree and some chutneys, are a product of Anglo-Indian cuisine stemming from Britain’s colonial rule of the Indian subcontinent.

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Church Choir Schools

Church choir schools. Institutions set up to train young musicians in the literature and performance of church music and to enable them, through the presentation of such music, to worship in a manner at once spiritual and artistic.

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SOS Montfort

In February 1997, the Ontario government decided to close Montfort Hospital in Ottawa. This decision led to a massive mobilization of the Franco-Ontarian community and the founding of the SOS Montfort coalition, which fought to keep the hospital open. After five years of political activism and legal battles, the cause was won. From an historical standpoint, this episode marked a key moment in the affirmation of Franco-Ontarian identity. From a legal standpoint, it confirmed the protections that the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms affords to Ontario’s French-speaking linguistic minority.

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Fédération des femmes du Québec

Founded in 1966, the Fédération des femmes du Québec (FFQ) (Québec Federation of Women) brings together women who are individual activists or members of an activist association. This feminist lobby group is active in the political arena in calling for equality between the sexes and defending women’s rights. The FFQ is the driving force behind large-scale feminist rallies such as the Bread and Roses March (1995) and the World March of Women (2000).

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Fédération nationale Saint-Jean-Baptiste

The Fédération nationale Saint-Jean-Baptiste (FNSJB) was at the centre of key movements that shaped contemporary feminism. With roots in both maternalism (based on caring for others) and equality between women and men (but in the context of the specific role attributed to women in society), the Fédération waged battle on two main fronts: for equal legal rights and suffrage, and for the protection of mothers and their families. In doing so, it helped to bolster the government’s prerogatives, particularly with regard to the social policies that underpinned Québec’s welfare state from the 1920s on. The FNSJB was part of the process of women’s individuation, a crucial period in the advancement of women’s status in the 20th century.

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Alliance française in Canada

Since 1902, the Alliance Française has offered high-level French classes in Canada and developed cultural programming to boost the cultural influence of France and the Francophonie throughout the world. While it once had twenty committees scattered across Canada, today there remain nine, located in large cities outside Quebec. Each year, the Alliance Française receives 12,000 students in Canada and close to half a million worldwide. Its funding comes mainly from enrolment income from the classes it offers. The Alliance Française de Toronto is the largest in the country, with five branches established in the region.

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Indigenous Feminisms in Canada

At their root, Indigenous feminisms examine how gender and conceptions of gender influence the lives of Indigenous peoples, historically and today. Indigenous feminist approaches challenge stereotypes about Indigenous peoples, gender and sexuality, for instance, as they appear in politics, society and the media. Indigenous feminisms offer frameworks for learning about and understanding these, and other issues, regardless of one’s gender or ethnicity.

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Sterilization of Indigenous Women in Canada

The practice of sterilization arose out of the eugenics movement and has a long, often hidden history in Canada. Sterilization legislation in Alberta (1928–72) and British Columbia (1933–73) attempted to limit the reproduction of “unfit” persons, and increasingly targeted Indigenous women. Coerced sterilization of Indigenous women took place both within and outside existing legislation, and in federally operated Indian hospitals. The practice has continued into the 21st century. Approximately 100 Indigenous women have alleged that they were pressured to consent to sterilization between the 1970s and 2018, often while in the vulnerable state of pregnancy or childbirth.

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Turtle Island

For some Indigenous peoples, Turtle Island refers to the continent of North America. The name comes from various Indigenous oral histories that tell stories of a turtle that holds the world on its back. For some Indigenous peoples, the turtle is therefore considered an icon of life, and the story of Turtle Island consequently speaks to various spiritual and cultural beliefs.

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Sylliboy Case

Mi’kmaq Grand Chief Gabriel Sylliboy is believed to be the first to use the 1752 Peace and Friendship Treaty to fight for Canada’s recognition of treaty rights. In his court case, R. v. Sylliboy (1928), he argued that the 1752 treaty protected his rights to hunt and fish, but he lost the case and was subsequently convicted. In 1985, when the Supreme Court of Canada ruled in R. v. Simon — another case concerning Mi’kmaq hunting rights — it found that the 1752 treaty did in fact give Mi’kmaq people the right to hunt on traditional territories. This judgment vindicated both Sylliboy and James Simon of the 1985 case. In 2017, almost 90 years after his conviction, Sylliboy received a posthumous pardon and apology from the Government of Nova Scotia.

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Mowachaht-Muchalaht

The Mowachaht and Muchalaht are Nuu-chah-nulth First Nations which formally amalgamated in the 1950s. Together, their territory includes parts of the west coast of Vancouver Island. As of September 2018, the federal government reports the registered population to be 613. Along with other Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council nations, the Mowachaht-Muchalaht are currently in stage four of a six-stage treaty process in British Columbia to attain self-government.

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Congress of Aboriginal Peoples

The Congress of Aboriginal Peoples speaks primarily for Non-Status Indian people and the Métis population in Canada, as well as for some other Indigenous groups (see Indian Act). In 1993, under the leadership of Jim Sinclair, the Congress of Aboriginal Peoples (CAP) grew out of a reorganization of the Native Council of Canada (NCC). Since its founding in 1971, the central objective of the NCC, and now CAP, has been to represent the interests of off-reserve Status and Non-Status Indians, Métis and some Inuit people.

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Vision Quest

Coined by 19th century anthropologists, the term “vision quest” describes a spiritual journey in various Indigenous cultures in which participants, often adolescents, are said to receive sacred knowledge and strength from the spirit world. Practised as a rite of passage among some Indigenous cultures in North America, such as the Siksika (Blackfoot), Cree, Anishinaabe (including the Ojibwe) and Inuit, vision quests reflect the role of spirituality and contemplative thinking in Indigenous cultures, and provide an important connection between the participant, the Creator and nature. Though reduced as a practice following colonization, vision quests remain part of the cultural traditions of Indigenous populations in Canada in the modern era.

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