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Jordin Tootoo

Jordin John Kudluk (Thunder) Tootoo, hockey player (born 2 February, 1983 in Churchill, MB). Jordin Tootoo is the first Inuk hockey player to play in the National Hockey League (NHL). Jordin got the attention of the NHL as a tough, talented right-winger in his junior hockey days in Manitoba. In 2003, he received national attention when he played for Team Canada at the World Junior Hockey Championship. After playing 13 seasons in the NHL, he retired in 2018. He is known for speaking to youth and maintaining his Inuit culture.

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Sheila Watt-Cloutier

Sheila Watt-Cloutier (née Watt), OC, human rights and Indigenous rights activist, cultural preservation advocate, politician, writer and educator (born 2 December 1953 in Old Fort Chimo, QC). Watt-Cloutier is a respected Inuit leader who has received international recognition and acclaim in the areas of rights activism, environmental and climate change awareness and social justice.

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Fred Sasakamoose

Frederick (Fred) George Sasakamoose, CM, hockey player, Elder of Ahtahkakoop Cree Nation (born 25 December 1933 at Whitefish Lake, now Big River First Nation, SK; died 24 November 2020 in Prince Albert, SK). Fred Sasakamoose was one of the first Indigenous hockey players from Canada in the National Hockey League (NHL). A former student of St. Michael’s Indian Residential School in Duck Lake, Saskatchewan, he played 11 games for the Chicago Black Hawks in the 1953–54 NHL season. After his retirement from competitive hockey in 1961, he dedicated himself to encouraging youth through sports involvement. A Member of the Order of Canada, he was inducted into the Saskatchewan First Nations Sports Hall of Fame, the Saskatchewan Sports Hall of Fame, the Saskatchewan Hockey Hall of Fame, the Prince Albert Hall of Fame and the Canadian Native Hockey Hall of Fame.

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Indspire

Indspire is a national charitable organization, formerly known as the National Aboriginal Achievement Foundation. Indspire is dedicated to investing in the education of Indigenous people in Canada. In so doing, the organization hopes to give Indigenous students the skills and opportunities to create positive futures for themselves and their communities. Indspire aims to inspire and promote excellence. Every year, Indspire presents awards to Indigenous peoples who have made significant contributions to their communities and to Indigenous peoples as a whole. Well-known recipients of the Indspire Awards include Murray Sinclair, Susan Aglukark, Maria Campbell, Daphne Odjig, Tomson Highway, Reggie Leach and hundreds more.

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Inuit

This collection explores Inuit culture, history and society through the use of exhibits, images, videos and articles. These sources also illustrate the importance of Arctic lands, animals and the environment to Inuit identity and life in the North.

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Andrew Wiggins

Andrew Christian Wiggins (born 23 February 1995 in Toronto, ON). Andrew Wiggins is a Canadian professional basketball player with the Golden State Warriors of the National Basketball Association (NBA). Raised in Vaughan, Ontario, Wiggins first rose to fame as the world’s top-ranked high school basketball player and was a second-team All-American in college. In 2014, he became the second Canadian to be selected first overall in the NBA draft. He is the first Canadian player to be named the NBA’s Rookie of the Year and the first to score more than 40 points in a game. Wiggins also helped Canada secure three bronze medals in international competition. He is the highest-paid Canadian athlete of all time.    

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Colored Hockey League

The Colored Hockey League of the Maritimes (CHL) was an all-Black men’s hockey league. It was organized by Black Baptists and Black intellectuals and was founded in Halifax, Nova Scotia, in 1895. It was defunct during and after the First World War, reformed in 1921 and then fell apart during the Depression in the 1930s. Play was known to be fast, physical and innovative. The league was designed to attract young Black men to Sunday worship with the promise of a hockey game between rival churches after the services. Later, with the influence of the Black Nationalism Movement — and with rising interest in the sport of hockey — the league came to be seen as a potential driving force for the equality of Black Canadians. Canada Post issued a commemorative stamp in honour of the league in January 2020.

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Indigenous Peoples

Indigenous Peoples are the original inhabitants of the land that is now Canada. Inuit and First Nations history extends well before the arrival of Europeans in Canada, while Métis emerged as a distinct culture after intermarriage between European settlers and First Nations people. Indigenous people were essential to the development of early Canada, but suffered massive population declines due to the arrival of European disease. In addition, though they were often military allies, they faced persecution at the hands of colonial governments in the form of displacement, starvation, land seizure and cultural genocide through residential schools and destructive legislation. Indigenous people live throughout Canada and continue to strive to reinvigorate traditional culture and ways of life.

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Laurent Duvernay-Tardif

Laurent “Dr. Kill” Duvernay-Tardif, CQ, football player, doctor (born 11 February 1991 in Saint-Jean-Baptiste, QC). Laurent Duvernay-Tardif is an offensive lineman with the New York Jets of the National Football League (NFL). He was the 10th player ever drafted into the NFL from Canadian college and university football, and is the first Quebec-born football player to win a Super Bowl championship. Duvernay-Tardif is also the first active NFL player to become a doctor. He opted out of the 2020 season to work at a Montreal long-term care facility during the COVID-19 pandemic. He was made a Chevalier of the Ordre national du Québec in 2019. In 2020, he was named a Sportsperson of the Year by Sports Illustrated, as well as co-winner (with soccer player Alphonso Davies) of the Lou Marsh Trophy as Canada’s athlete of the year.

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Children’s Books About Residential Schools in Canada

Church-run schools for Indigenous children were created in Canada in the 1600s. In 1883, the Canadian government funded and helped establish more church-run schools. The goal was to assimilate Indigenous children into the dominant white, Christian society. By the time the last residential school closed in 1996, more than 150,000 First Nation, Métis and Inuit children had been forced to attend against their will and the wishes of their parents. Many children were physically, emotionally and sexually abused at the schools. Thousands died. The multigenerational social and psychological effects of the schools have been devastating and ongoing. The federal government and churches have apologized for what is now widely considered a form of genocide. (See also Genocide and Indigenous Peoples in Canada.)

Knowledge of what happened at the schools is an essential part of reconciliation and healing. Many children’s books have been written about residential schools as part of that essential effort. This list includes titles for toddlers to preteens. Together, these books explore a variety of themes related to residential schools, including intergenerational trauma, language revitalization, commemoration and the power of resistance.

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Red Dress Day

Red Dress Day, also known as the National Day of Awareness for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls and Two-Spirit People, is observed on May 5th. The day honours and brings awareness to the thousands of Indigenous women, girls and two-spirit people who have been subject to disproportionate violence in Canada. Red Dress Day was inspired by Métis artist Jaime Black’s REDress Project installation, in which she hung empty, red dresses to represent the missing and murdered women. Red dresses have become symbolic of the crisis as a result of her installation.

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Nipissing (Nbisiing) First Nation

Nipissing (also Nbisiing) First Nation people are of Algonquin and Ojibwe descent. (See also Anishinaabe and Algonquian.) The First Nation is made up of several communities along the north shore of Lake Nipissing. Their motto is an affirmation for protection of A-Kii (land), Bemaadzijik (people) and E-Niigaanwang (future). Nipissing First Nation was the first Anishinaabe nation in Ontario to ratify their own constitution in 2014. The population of Nipissing First Nation, as of November 2020, is 2,909. Two-thirds of the population reside off-reserve, while 916 live on-reserve.

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Jose Kusugak

Jose Amaujaq Kusugak, Inuk politician, community leader, teacher, activist, linguist and broadcaster (born 2 May 1950 in Repulse Bay, NT [now Naujaat, NU]; died 18 or 19 January 2011 in Rankin Inlet, Kivalliq, NU). Kusugak was president of Nunavut Tunngavik Inc. from 1994 to 2000. This was the organization responsible for negotiating and implementing the land claim that ultimately resulted in the creation of Nunavut in 1999. For this reason, some consider Kusugak a Father of Confederation. He was also a lifelong advocate for Inuit rights, language and culture.

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Children’s Books about Inuit Culture in Canada

Inuit authors have brought the richness and diversity of Inuit culture into the public eye with several enchanting and powerful books. From oral histories to Arctic animals to supernatural creatures, the books on this list explore various elements of the Inuit culture and way of life. Titles listed are recommended for a range of age groups, from toddlers to preteens. These books support efforts to encourage literacy, preserve and promote culture, and educate others about Inuit and Indigenous peoples and history.

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Northern Youth Abroad

Northern Youth Abroad is a registered not-for-profit charity. Since 1998, it has provided education and travel opportunities for over 550 young people, aged 15 to 22, from every community in Nunavut and the Northwest Territories. The programs are designed to foster cross-cultural awareness and global citizenship, while building the self-confidence and self-esteem necessary to help develop life and career goals.

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Charles Edenshaw (Tahayren)

​Charles (Charlie) Edenshaw (Haida name, Tahayren), Haida chief and master artist (born 1839 in Skidegate, Haida Gwaii, BC; died 10 September 1920 in Masset, Haida Gwaii, BC). Edenshaw was among the first professional Haida artists. He was noted for his flawless execution of dynamic flowing forms in an otherwise strict and disciplined art tradition. Many of Edenshaw’s descendants also became artists, including his daughter Florence Davidson, his grandson Claude Davidson, his great-grandsons Reggie and Robert Davidson and his great-great nephew Bill Reid.

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Indian Act

The Indian Act is the primary law the federal government uses to administer Indian status, local First Nations governments and the management of reserve land. It also outlines governmental obligations to First Nations peoples. The Indian Act pertains to people with Indian Status; it does not directly reference non-status First Nations people, the Métis or Inuit. First introduced in 1876, the Act subsumed a number of colonial laws that aimed to eliminate First Nations culture in favour of assimilation into Euro-Canadian society. A new version of the Act was passed in 1951, and since then, has been amended several times, most significantly in 1985, with changes mainly focusing on the removal of discriminatory sections. It is an evolving, paradoxical document that has enabled trauma, human rights violations and social and cultural disruption for generations of Indigenous peoples.

This is the full-length entry about the Indian Act. For a plain language summary, please see Indian Act (Plain Language Summary).

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Howard Sinclair Anderson (Primary Source)

Howard Sinclair Anderson was under age when he enlisted in the army after the chief of George Gordon Reserve, a veteran of the First World War, went around looking for volunteers. Anderson became a Lance Corporal in the Royal Canadian Army Service Corps during the Second World War. Discover his story of serving in France after D-Day and the discrimination he faced after returning.

Please be advised that Memory Project primary sources may deal with personal testimony that reflect the speaker’s recollections and interpretations of events. Individual testimony does not necessarily reflect the views of the Memory Project and Historica Canada.

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Tommy Prince

Thomas George Prince, war hero, Indigenous advocate (born 25 October 1915 in Petersfield, MB; died 25 November 1977 in Winnipeg, MB). Tommy Prince of the Brokenhead Ojibway Nation is one of the most-decorated Indigenous war veterans in Canada, having been awarded a total of 11 medals for his service in the Second World War and the Korean War. When he died, he was honoured at his funeral by his First Nation, the province of Manitoba, Canada and the governments of France, Italy and the United States. ( See also Indigenous Peoples and the World Wars.)

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Blackfoot Confederacy

The Blackfoot Confederacy, sometimes referred to as the Blackfoot Nation or Siksikaitsitapi, is comprised of three Indigenous nations, the Kainai, Piikani and Siksika. People of the Blackfoot Nation refer to themselves as Niitsitapi, meaning “the real people,” a generic term for all Indigenous people, or Siksikaitsitapi, meaning “Blackfoot-speaking real people.” The Confederacy’s traditional territory spans parts of southern Alberta and Saskatchewan, as well as northern Montana. In the 2016 census, 22,490 people identified as having Blackfoot ancestry.