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Article

Canadian Response to the "Boat People" Refugee Crisis

The welcoming and resettlement of many thousands of refugees from Southeast Asia in the late 1970s and early 1980s represents a turning point in the history of immigration in Canada. It was the first time that the Canadian government applied its new program for private sponsorship of refugees — the only one of its kind in the world — through which more than half of the Vietnamese, Cambodian and Laotian refugees who came to Canada during this period were admitted. In recognition of this unprecedented mobilization of private effort, the people of Canada were awarded the Nansen Medal, an honour bestowed by the United Nations for outstanding service to the cause of refugees. It was the first and remains the only time that the entire people of a country have been collectively honored with this award. But most importantly, this positive, humanitarian response by Canadians reflected a change in their attitude toward refugees. Never before in its history had Canada welcomed so many refugees in so little time.

Article

Economic Conditions of Indigenous Peoples in Canada

Discussions about the economic conditions of Indigenous peoples often suggest similar experiences and outcomes. However, there is great historical and contemporary diversity in the economic activities of people in Indigenous communities. Moreover, these economic conditions have occurred, and continue to occur, within the context of colonization, social exclusion, and political and economic marginalization. Understanding this context is essential for developing policy and programs that are appropriate to lived realities of Indigenous communities across Canada.

Article

Order-in-Council P.C. 1911-1324 — the Proposed Ban on Black Immigration to Canada

Order-in-Council P.C. 1324 was approved on 12 August 1911 by the Cabinet of Prime Minister Sir Wilfrid Laurier. The purpose of the order was to ban Black persons from entering Canada for a period of one year because, it read, “the Negro race…is deemed unsuitable to the climate and requirements of Canada.” The order-in-council was the culmination of what researcher R. Bruce Shepard has called Canada’s “campaign of diplomatic racism.” Though the order never became law, the actions of government officials made it clear that Black immigrants were not wanted in Canada (see Immigration).

Article

Black Lives Matter-Canada

Black Lives Matter (BLM) is a decentralized movement to end anti-Black racism. It was founded as an online community in the United States in 2013 in response to the acquittal of the man who killed Black teenager Trayvon Martin. Its stated mission is to end white supremacy and state-sanctioned violence and to liberate Black people and communities. The Black Lives Matter hashtag (#BlackLivesMatter) has been used to bring attention to discrimination and violence faced by Black people. BLM has chapters in the United States and around the world. There are five chapters in Canada: Toronto (BLM-TO), Vancouver (BLM-VAN), Waterloo Region, Edmonton, and New Brunswick.

Article

Queer Culture

​While lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) Canadians have always been engaged in artistic discourse, it was only in the 1960s and 1970s that alternative sexualities were openly portrayed in ways that directly challenged the mainstream establishment.

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Filipino Canadians

Filipinos have been in Canada as early as the late 19th century. Migration from the Philippines to Canada significantly increased from the 1960s onward. (See Immigration to Canada.) In the 2016 Census, 837,130 people reported being of Filipino ethnic origin. Filipino Canadians are the largest group of Southeast Asian Canadians. Among Filipino Canadians, women outnumber men by 56 per cent to 44 per cent. The Philippines was the most common country of birth among people who immigrated to Canada between 2011 and 2016.

Article

Black Enslavement in Canada

In early Canada, the enslavement of African peoples was a legal instrument that helped fuel colonial economic enterprise. The buying, selling and enslavement of Black people was practiced by European traders and colonists in New France in the early 1600s, and lasted until it was abolished throughout British North America in 1834. During that two-century period, settlers in what would eventually become Canada were involved in the transatlantic slave trade. Canada is further linked to the institution of enslavement through its history of international trade. Products such as salted cod and timber were exchanged for slave-produced goods such as rum, molasses, tobacco and sugar from slaveholding colonies in the Caribbean.

This is the full-length entry about Black enslavement in Canada. For a plain language summary, please see Black Enslavement in Canada (Plain Language Summary).

(See also Olivier Le Jeune; Sir David Kirke; Chloe Cooley and the Act to Limit Slavery in Upper Canada; Underground Railroad; Fugitive Slave Act of 1850; Slavery Abolition Act, 1833; Slavery of Indigenous People in Canada.)

Article

Transgender Archives at the University of Victoria

The Transgender Archives at the University of Victoria is believed to be the largest collection of historical documents and materials related to transgender research and activism in the world (see Historical Sources). Aaron Devor, chair of Transgender Studies at the University of Victoria, is the founder and subject matter expert of the archives, which officially opened in 2011. The archives aim to preserve the history and research of transgender people and other gender-diverse peoples. (See also Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Rights in Canada; Two-Spirit; Queer Culture.)

Article

Haida

Haida are Indigenous people who have traditionally occupied the coastal bays and inlets of Haida Gwaii in British Columbia. In the 2016 census, 501 people claimed Haida ancestry, while 445 people identified as speakers of the Haida language.

Article

Chinese Canadians of Force 136

Force 136 was a branch of the British Special Operations Executive (SOE) during the Second World War. Its covert missions were based in Japanese-occupied Southeast Asia, where orders were to support and train local resistance movements to sabotage Japanese supply lines and equipment. While Force 136 recruited mostly Southeast Asians, it also recruited about 150 Chinese Canadians. It was thought that Chinese Canadians would blend in with local populations and speak local languages. Earlier in the war, many of these men had volunteered their services to Canada but were either turned away or recruited and sidelined. Force 136 became an opportunity for Chinese Canadian men to demonstrate their courage and skills and especially their loyalty to Canada.

Article

Anishinaabemowin: Ojibwe Language

Anishinaabemowin (also called Ojibwemowin, the Ojibwe/Ojibwa language, or Chippewa) is an Indigenous language, generally spanning from Manitoba to Québec, with a strong concentration around the Great Lakes. Elders share that the term Anishinaabemowin acknowledges the creation story of the Ojibwe people: “Anishinaabe” means “the spirit that is lowered down from above,” “-mo” refers to expression through speech and “-win” refers to the life energy within, used to do so. Linguists also explain that “-win” is a nominalizer that turns the verb Anishinaabemo (“he/she is speaking the Anishinaabe language”) into a noun. According to the 2016 Census, 28,130 people are listed as speaking Anishinaabemowin.

Article

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.)

Article

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.

Article

Shaking Tent

Shaking Tent rite was widespread among the Ojibwa, Innu (Montagnais-Naskapi), Cree, Penobscot and Abenaki and involved the shamanistic use of a special cylindrical lodge or tent.

Article

First Nations in Canada

First Nation is one of three groupings of Indigenous people in Canada, the other two being Métis and Inuit. Unlike Métis and Inuit, most First Nations hold reserve lands, and members of a First Nation may live both on and off these reserves. While the term First Nation can describe a large ethnic grouping (e.g. the Cree Nation), in other cases it is synonymous with the term band, a word originally chosen by the federal government and used in the Indian Act. The word band describes smaller communities. Many First Nations prefer the term First Nation over band.

Article

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.

Article

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.)