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Tionontati (Petun)

Tionontati (also known as Petun) are an Iroquoian-speaking Indigenous people, closely related to the Huron-Wendat. The French called them Petun because they were known for cultivating tobacco or petún. The people call themselves Tionontati. After war with the Haudenosaunee in the mid-1600s, Tionontati and some other survivors, including the Attignawantan (a Huron-Wendat people) and the Wenrohronon (or Wenro), joined to become the Wendat, now known as the Wyandotte (or Wyandot) Nation. Today, the Wyandotte Nation is a federally recognized tribe of Oklahoma in the United States. There are also Wyandotte communities in Michigan (Wyandot of Anderdon Nation) and Kansas (Wyandot Nation of Kansas).

Article

Jackie Shane

Jackie Shane, singer (born 15 May 1940 in Nashville, Tennessee; died 22 February 2019 in Nashville). Jackie Shane was a pioneering transgender performer who was a prominent figure in Toronto’s R&B scene in the 1960s. Her cover of William Bell’s “Any Other Way” reached No. 2 on the CHUM singles chart in 1963. Her 1967 live album, Jackie Shane Live, was reissued in 2015 and was shortlisted for the Polaris Music Prize’s 1960–1970 Heritage Award. Any Other Way, an anthology album of songs from Shane’s career and monologues from her live shows, was released in 2017. It was nominated for a 2019 Grammy Award for Best Historical Album. Shane is featured in a public mural in downtown Toronto commemorating the Yonge Street music scene of the 1960s.

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Cree

Cree are the most populous and widely distributed Indigenous peoples in Canada. Other words the Cree use to describe themselves include nehiyawak, nihithaw, nehinaw and ininiw. Cree First Nations occupy territory in the Subarctic region from Alberta to Quebec, as well as portions of the Plains region in Alberta and Saskatchewan. According to 2016 census data, 356,655 people identified as having Cree ancestry and 96,575 people speak the Cree language.

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Innu (Montagnais-Naskapi)

Innu, which means “people” in the Innu language, is the predominant term used to describe all Innu. Some groups maintain the use of one of two older terms: Montagnais (French for “mountain people”), usually applied to groups in forested, more southern communities, and Naskapi, which refers to far northern groups who inhabit the barren lands of the subarctic. In the 2016 census, 27,755 people identified as having Innu/Montagnais ancestry, while an additional 1,085 identified as Naskapi.

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Plateau Indigenous Peoples in Canada

There are six cultural areas contained in what is now Canada, unrestricted by international boundaries. The Plateau cultural area consists of the high plateau between the British Columbia coastal mountains and the Rocky Mountains, and extends south to include parts of Washington State, Oregon, Idaho, and Montana. At lower elevations it is comprised of grasslands and subarctic forests. Plateau Indigenous peoples include, among others, the Secwepemc, Stl’atl’imc, Ktunaxa, and Tsilhqot’in. (See also Interior Salish.)

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Immigration to Canada

The movement of individuals of one country into another for the purpose of resettlement is central to Canadian history. The story of Canadian immigration is not one of orderly population growth; instead, it has been — and remains one — about economic development as well as Canadian attitudes and values. It has often been unashamedly economically self-serving and ethnically or racially discriminatory despite contributing to creating a multicultural society (see Immigration Policy in Canada; Refugees to Canada). Immigration has also contributed to dispossessing Indigenous peoples of their ancestral lands.

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Vivine Scarlett

Vivine Scarlett, dancer, choreographer, administrator (born in London, United Kingdom). Vivine Scarlett is the founder, executive director and curator of dance Immersion, a Toronto-based organization that produces, presents and supports dancing of the African diaspora. She is also an award-winning choreographer and a renowned instructor. Scarlett has received a K.M. Hunter Artist Award for dance from the Ontario Arts Foundation, the Muriel Sherrin Award from the Toronto Arts Foundation and a Lifetime Achievement Award from Dance Ontario.

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Naheed Nenshi

Naheed Kurban Nenshi, business consultant, professor, mayor of Calgary, AB, 2010–21 (born 2 February 1972 in Toronto, ON). Naheed Nenshi was elected Mayor of Calgary for three terms, from 2010 to 2021. He was the first Muslim mayor of a major North American city. He was also the first Canadian mayor to be awarded the World Mayor Prize by the British-based City Mayors Foundation. Nenshi was known for pioneering the use of social media in political campaigns, promoting civic engagement, completing various large infrastructure projects and guiding Calgary’s recovery following devastating floods in 2013.

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Freda Diesing

Freda Diesing, Haida artist (born 2 June 1925 in Prince Rupert, BC; died there 3 December 2002). Diesing was best known for her contributions to reviving traditional Haida art forms, including wood carving, mask carving and totem carving. She was one of the few women carvers who mastered the medium, and was partly responsible for bringing the style to an international audience. Diesing worked to ensure the style and tradition of Haida art was passed on to new generations. (See also Northwest Coast Indigenous Art and Contemporary Indigenous Art in Canada.)

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Subarctic Indigenous Peoples in Canada

The term “Subarctic Indigenous peoples” describes a number of different ethnic and linguistic groups, including the Dene, Cree, Ojibwe, Atikamekw, Innu and Beothuk. The Subarctic region consists largely of a five million square kilometre zone of boreal forest extending from the arctic tundra south to the mountains, plains and deciduous forest in the mid-section of the country. West to east, it extends from the Bering Sea to Labrador. The Subarctic is one of six cultural areas contained in what is now Canada. Unlike provinces and countries, these cultural areas do not have strict boundaries, and instead refer to areas in more general terms.

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Persons Case

The Persons Case (Edwards v. A.G. of Canada) was a constitutional ruling that established the right of women to be appointed to the Senate. The case was initiated by the Famous Five, a group of prominent women activists. In 1928, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled that women were not “persons” according to the British North America Act (now called the Constitution Act, 1867). Therefore, they were ineligible for appointment to the Senate. However, the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council reversed the Court’s decision on 18 October 1929. The Persons Case enabled women to work for change in both the House of Commons and the Senate. It also meant that women could no longer be denied rights based on a narrow interpretation of the law.

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Sammy Luftspring

Sammy Luftspring, boxer, referee, businessman (born 14 March 1915 in Toronto, ON; died 27 September 2000 in Toronto, ON). Sammy Luftspring was the Ontario amateur featherweight champion in 1933 and the Canadian amateur welterweight champion in 1938. A proud Jew, Luftspring wore the Star of David on his trunks and was subjected to anti-Semitism throughout his life. He fought Nazi youth in the Christie Pits Riot and is perhaps best remembered for boycotting the 1936 Olympic Summer Games in Berlin. He also landed in the Guinness Book of World Records for officiating some 2,000 fights. He has been inducted into Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame and the Ontario Sports Hall of Fame.

Article

Carl Ray

Carl Ray, Cree artist, illustrator, editor and art teacher (born January 1943 in Sandy Lake, ON; died 26 September 1978 in Sioux Lookout, ON). Ray was known for his innovative paintings in the Woodlands style and was a founding member of the Indian Group of Seven. Ray’s work has influenced Indigenous art in Canada and can be found in the collections of various galleries and museums across the country.

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Joseph Sánchez

Joseph Marcus Sánchez, artist, curator (born 24 February 1948 in Trinidad, Colorado, United States). In 1970, Joseph Sánchez travelled to Canada, settling in Richer, Manitoba. He became a founding member of Professional Native Indian Artists Inc., known widely as the Indian Group of Seven. Sánchez remained in Canada until 1975-76, leaving a lasting impact on the recognition and exposure of First Nations art and artists. Sánchez went on to become a community elder and political activist. He has worked as a museum director and curator for major galleries and exhibitions. His artwork has been exhibited extensively in Canada, the United States and Europe, and he has provided essays for a number of exhibition catalogues.

Article

Eddy Cobiness

Eddy “Doc” Cobiness, Ojibwe (Anishinaabe) artist (born 17 July 1933 in Warroad, Minnesota, United States; died 1 January 1996 in Winnipeg, MB). He was a founding and eminent member of Professional Native Indian Artists Inc., known widely as the Indian Group of Seven. Cobiness’s artwork was featured in many prominent collections, including those of Queen Elizabeth II, former Canadian prime minister Jean Chrétien and Academy Award-winning actor Charlton Heston. Influenced by Pablo Picasso, Cobiness worked in many mediums, including ink, watercolour, oil and acrylic, and his stylized brush strokes were referred to as “flowing.” Cobiness’s artwork often depicted animals and the natural world.

Article

Gitxsan

Gitxsan (Gitksan), meaning “People of the River Mist,” live along the Skeena River of northwestern British Columbia in the communities of Hazelton, Kispiox and Glen Vowell (the Eastern Gitxsan bands) and Kitwanga, Kitwankool and Kitsegukla (the Western Gitxsan). In the 2016 census, 5,675 people claimed Gitxsan ancestry.

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Ojibwe

The Ojibwe (also Ojibwa and Ojibway) are an Indigenous people in Canada and the United States who are part of a larger cultural group known as the Anishinaabeg. Chippewa and Saulteaux people are also part of the Ojibwe and Anishinaabe ethnic groups. The Ojibwe are closely related to the Odawa and Algonquin peoples, and share many traditions with neighbouring Cree people, especially in the north and west of Ontario, and east of Manitoba. Some Cree and Ojibwe peoples have merged to form Oji-Cree communities. In their traditional homelands in the Eastern Woodlands, Ojibwe people became integral parts of the early fur trade economy. Ojibwe culture, language (Anishinaabemowin) and activism have persisted despite assimilative efforts by federal and provincial governments, and in many cases are representative of the enduring First Nations presence in Canada.

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Bertha Clark-Jones

Bertha Clark-Jones (née Houle), OC, Cree-Métis advocate for the rights of Indigenous women and children (born 6 November 1922 in Clear Hills, AB; died 21 October 2014 in Bonnyville, AB). A veteran of the Second World War, Clark-Jones joined the Aboriginal Veterans Society and advocated for the fair treatment of Indigenous ex-service people. She was co-founder and first president of the Native Women’s Association of Canada. Clark-Jones devoted her life to seeking equality and greater power for women in Canada.

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Health of Indigenous Peoples in Canada

Prior to colonization, Indigenous peoples possessed rich and diverse healing systems. Settlers’ introduction of new and contagious diseases placed these healing systems under considerable strain. Europeans also brought profound social, economic and political changes to the well-being of Indigenous communities. These changes continue to affect the health of Indigenous peoples in Canada today. (See also Social Conditions of Indigenous Peoples in Canada and Economic Conditions of Indigenous Peoples in Canada.)

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Indian

The term Indian, when used to identify Indigenous peoples in South, Central and North America, is considered outdated and offensive. In Canada, the term has been used historically to refer to Indigenous peoples, but it also has modern legal significance. It is used to refer to legally defined identities set out in the Indian Act, such as Indian Status. For some Indigenous peoples, the term Indian confirms their ancestry and protects their historic relationship to the Crown and federal government. For others, the definitions set out in the Indian Act are not affirmations of their identity.

(The term Indian in the context of this article does not refer to Indian people of South Asia. For more information on people of that community, please see South Asian Canadians.)