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Mary Spencer

Mary Spencer, boxer, model, humanitarian (born 12 December 1984 in WiartonON). Mary Spencer is one of Canada's premier boxing champions, holding eight national titles, five Pan-American titles, and three world titles. An Ojibwe of the Cape Croker First Nation, Spencer is involved in Motivate Canada’s GEN7 Aboriginal role model initiative, and in 2013 became a mentor with the CIBC Team Next program.

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Wendat (Huron)

The Wendat (also known as Huron-Wendat) are an Iroquoian-speaking nation that have occupied the St. Lawrence Valley and estuary to the Great Lakes region. “Huron” was a nickname given to the Wendat by the French, meaning “boar’s head” from the hairstyle of Wendat men, or “lout” and “ruffian” in old French. Their confederacy name was Wendat (Ouendat) meaning “island dwellers.” During the fur trade, the Wendat were allies of the French and enemies of the Haudenosaunee (Iroquois). Following a series of 17th century armed conflicts, the Wendat were dispersed by the Haudenosaunee in 1650. However, the Wendat nation (Nation Huronne-Wendat) still remains, and is located in Wendake, Quebec.

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The Underground Railroad (Plain-Language Summary)

The Underground Railroad was a secret organization. It was made up of people who helped African Americans escape from slavery in the southern United States. The people in this organization set up a system of routes that escaped slaves could travel to find freedom in the northern United States and Canada. In the 1800s (the 19th century) between 30,000 and 40,000 escaped slaves travelled to British North America (Canada) through the Underground Railroad.

(This article is a plain-language summary of the Underground Railroad in Canada. If you are interested in reading about this topic in more depth, please see our full-length entry on The Underground Railroad.)

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Indigenous Treaties in Canada

Indigenous treaties in Canada are constitutionally recognized agreements between the Crown and Indigenous peoples. Most of these agreements describe exchanges where Indigenous nations agree to share some of their interests in their ancestral lands in return for various payments and promises. On a deeper level, treaties are sometimes understood, particularly by Indigenous people, as sacred covenants between nations that establish a relationship between those for whom Canada is an ancient homeland and those whose family roots lie in other countries. Treaties therefore form the constitutional and moral basis of alliance between Indigenous peoples and Canada.

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Pauktuutit Inuit Women of Canada

Pauktuutit Inuit Women of Canada is a national not-for-profit organization that has been a leading advocate for Inuit women since 1984. It represents all Inuit women living in Inuit Nunangat (the Arctic homeland of the Inuit), and in southern urban centres across Canada. Pauktuutit supports and promotes Inuit women, their culture, values and language. It advocates for social, economic and political improvements that benefit women, their families and communities. It works with community leaders, Inuit organizations, as well as territorial and federal levels of government, to improve the lives of Inuit women and children. Pauktuutit helps build safe, healthy communities.

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Terry Fox

Terrance Stanley Fox, CC, Order of the Dogwood, athlete, humanitarian, cancer research activist (born 28 July 1958 in WinnipegMB; died 28 June 1981 in New WestminsterBC). After losing his right leg to cancer at age 18, Terry Fox decided to run across Canada to raise awareness and money for cancer research. With the use of a customized running prosthesis, he set out from St. John’s, Newfoundland, on 12 April 1980 and covered 5,373 km in 143 days — an average of 42 km (26 miles) per day. He was forced to stop his Marathon of Hope in Thunder Bay, Ontario, on 1 September 1980, when cancer had invaded his lungs. He died shortly before his 23rd birthday. The youngest person to be made a Companion of the Order of Canada, he was awarded the 1980 Lou Marsh Trophy as Canada’s athlete of the year and was named a Person of National Historic Significance by the Government of Canada. He was inducted into Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame and has had many schools, institutions and landmarks named in his honour. The annual Terry Fox Run has raised more than $800 million for cancer research. The Marathon of Hope raised $24 million by February 1981.  

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Immigration Policy in Canada

Immigration policy is the way the government controls via laws and regulations who gets to come and settle in Canada. Since Confederation, immigration policy has been tailored to grow the population, settle the land, and provide labour and financial capital for the economy. Immigration policy also tends to reflect the racial attitudes or national security concerns of the time which has also led to discriminatory restrictions on certain migrant groups. (See also Canadian Refugee Policy.)

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No. 2 Construction Battalion

On 5 July 1916, the Department of Defence and Militia authorized the formation of No. 2 Construction Battalion. It was the largest Black unit in Canadian history. Its members continued the proud tradition of service to king and country that went back to the American Revolution and continued through the War of 1812 and the Rebellions of 1837–38 to the start of the First World War. But there were many obstacles: Black soldiers and communities faced racism both at home and overseas, despite their commitment to the war effort.

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Tilly Rolston

Tilly Jean Rolston, Canadian politician (born 23 February 1887 in Vancouver, BC; died 12 October 1953 in Vancouver, BC). Rolston was best known for her service as education minister for the province of British Columbia in the Social Credit government of W.A.C. Bennett in the early 1950s. She has the distinction of being the second woman cabinet minister elected in that province, but the first with a portfolio in all of Canada. Rolston was instrumental in developing a new financing formula for the funding of BC’s public schools, and also instituted the province’s first sex education curriculum. She is noted for being the first woman in British Columbia to receive a state funeral upon her death.

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Ken Sim

Ken Sim, entrepreneur, politician, mayor of Vancouver 2022– (born 18 October 1970 in Vancouver, BC). Ken Sim worked as an accountant and investment banker before co-founding two successful businesses: Nurse Next Door and Rosemary Rocksalt bagels. Sim made an unsuccessful bid to become mayor of Vancouver in 2018, losing to Kennedy Stewart by 957 votes. In 2022, he and his A Better City (ABC) Party won a majority government with a platform that stressed law and order and public safety. Sim is the first Chinese Canadian to be elected mayor of Vancouver.

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The Journey of Nishiyuu (The Journey of the People)

Between 16 January and 25 March 2013, six Cree youths and their guide walked 1,600 km from Whapmagoostui First Nation, the northernmost Cree village in Quebec on Hudson Bay, to Parliament Hill in Ottawa in support of the Idle No More movement. They called the trek “The Journey of Nishiyuu,” which is Cree for “people.” Known as the Nishiyuu Walkers, the group attracted national media attention and inspired Indigenous youth to be the force of change in their lives and communities. (See also Indigenous Women Activists in Canada and Indigenous Political Organization and Activism in Canada.)

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Shawn Atleo

Shawn A-in-chut Atleo, chief, activist, businessman (born 16 January 1967 in Ahousaht, BC). Shawn Atleo was twice elected National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations (AFN). A Hereditary Chief of the Ahousaht First Nation in British Columbia, he also served as Regional Chief of the BC AFN, and was the first Indigenous university chancellor in British Columbia. As a leader, Atleo has emphasized education and the potential of Indigenous youth, treaty and land claim reforms, environmental management and resource sharing, as well as unity and a cooperative approach.

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Suicide among Indigenous Peoples in Canada

This article contains sensitive material that may not be suitable for all audiences. To reach the Canada Suicide Prevention Service, contact 1-833-456-4566.

Suicide rates among First Nations, Métis and Inuit are consistently and significantly higher than the rate among non-Indigenous people in Canada. Suicide in these cases has multiple social and individual causes. Historical factors, including the effects of colonization and polices of assimilation, also affect rates of suicide among Indigenous peoples in Canada. Various Indigenous organizations aim to integrate Indigenous knowledge with evidence-informed approaches to prevent suicide.

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Jane Jacobs

Jane Isabel Jacobs, nee Butzner, author, urban advocate, economist, ecologist and philosopher (born 4 May 1916 in Scranton, PA; died 25 April 2006 in Toronto). Jacobs earned renown for her books, beginning with The Death and Life of Great American Cities (1961). In her writings Jacobs employed innovative expository techniques, including dialogues, to explain how economies and cities function and to analyze the conditions that permit them to thrive.

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Jimmy Rattlesnake

Jimmy Rattlesnake, baseball player (born 1909 in Hobbema [now Maskwacis], Alberta; died 17 April 1972 in Hobbema). A crafty and durable left-handed pitcher, Jimmy Rattlesnake was one of Canada’s first Indigenous baseball stars. He dominated prize money tournaments in Alberta and Saskatchewan in the 1930s and 1940s. Some reports indicate that he also briefly pitched professionally in the United States. Often compared to African American pitcher Satchel Paige, Rattlesnake was inducted into the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame in 2021.

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Ksan

Ksan (or ‘Ksan) is a historical village, museum and campground, owned and operated by the Gitanmaax Band. It is located at the junction of the Skeena and Bulkley rivers in Hazelton, British Columbia. Ksan was established in 1970 as way to promote and preserve Gitxsan culture and history.