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Resistance and Residential Schools

Residential schools were government-sponsored religious schools that many Indigenous children were forced to attend. They were established to assimilate Indigenous children into Euro-Canadian culture. Indigenous parents and children did not simply accept the residential-school system. Indigenous peoples fought against – and engaged with – the state, schools and other key players in the system. For the duration of the residential-school era, parents acted in the best interests of their children and communities. The children responded in ways that would allow them to survive.

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Inuit Experiences at Residential School

Residential schools were government-sponsored religious schools created to assimilate Indigenous children into Euro-Canadian culture. Schools in the North were run by missionaries for nearly a century before the federal government began to open new, so-called modern institutions in the 1950s. This was less than a decade after a Special Joint Committee (see Indigenous Suffrage) found that the system was ineffectual. The committee’s recommendations led to the eventual closure of residential schools across the country.

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Intergenerational Trauma and Residential Schools

Historical trauma occurs when trauma caused by historical oppression is passed down through generations. For more than 100 years, the Canadian government supported residential school programs that isolated Indigenous children from their families and communities (see Residential Schools in Canada). Under the guise of educating and preparing Indigenous children for their participation in Canadian society, the federal government and other administrators of the residential school system committed what has since been described as an act of cultural genocide. As generations of students left these institutions, they returned to their home communities without the knowledge, skills or tools to cope in either world. The impacts of their institutionalization in residential school continue to be felt by subsequent generations. This is called intergenerational trauma.

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Jasper National Park

Jasper National Park is a protected area located in the Rocky Mountains, about 370 km west of Edmonton, Alberta. Established in 1907, it was the fifth national park created in Canada. It’s also one of seven parks in the Rocky Mountains that make up the Canadian Rocky Mountain Parks UNESCO World Heritage site (the others are Yoho, Banff and Kootenay national parks, and Mount Robson, Mount Assiniboine and Hamber provincial parks). Among the reasons for the UNESCO designation are the parks’ mountain landscapes, complete with waterfalls, canyons and glaciers, including those found in the Columbia Icefield.

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Brossard

Brossard, Quebec, population 85,721 (2016 census), 79,273 (2011 census). Incorporated as a city in 1978, from 2002 to 2006 Brossard was a borough of Longueuil. Longueil was created by the amalgamation of eight distinct municipalities, including Brossard. In a 2004 referendum, Brossard residents voted to reconstitute their city. In 2006, Brossard again became its own municipality. Brossard is located on the South Shore of the St. Lawrence River, a short distance from the Champlain Bridge that links it to Montreal.

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Reserves in Newfoundland and Labrador

Newfoundland and Labrador is home to two First Nation groups: the Mi’kmaq living on the island of Newfoundland, and the Innu, living in central and northern Labrador. The province has three reserves. Two of the reserves are Innu: the Sheshatshiu and Natuashish reserves are home to the Sheshatshiu Innu First Nation and Mushuau Innu First Nation respectively. The third, Miawpukek Mi’kamawey Mawi’omi (commonly known as Miawpukek, or in English, Conne River), is Mi’kmaq. Indigenous people live in these communities, as well as in other, non-Indigenous communities throughout the province. As of March 2019, there were 28,293 registered Indians living in Newfoundland and Labrador, 12 per cent of whom lived on reserve. One reason the province has a relatively small on-reserve population is because the Qalipu Mi’kmaq, a band from the West Coast of Newfoundland and one of the largest in the country, does not have reserve lands. Labrador is also home to many Inuit communities who, like Inuit living in other parts of the country, do not have reserves.

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Qalipu Mi’kmaq First Nation

Qalipu (pronounced: ha-lee-boo) is a Mi’kmaq First Nation based in Newfoundland and Labrador. The nation was established in 2011 under the Indian Act. According to the federal government, Qalipu has 24,464 registered members in 2021, making it the second-largest First Nation by population in Canada. The nation’s members hail from 67 different communities across Newfoundland. As of 2020, roughly 95 per cent of Qalipu members live in Newfoundland and Labrador; the other 5 per cent live throughout Canada. The Qalipu Mi’kmaq First Nation currently controls no reserve land. (See also Reserves in Newfoundland and Labrador.)

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Northwest Territories

The Northwest Territories lie northwest of central Canada, bordered to the east by Nunavut, to the west by the Yukon and to the south by the northeastern corner of British Columbia, as well as the entire northern borders of Alberta and Saskatchewan. The name was originally applied to the territory acquired in 1870 from the Hudson's Bay Company and Great Britain: Rupert’s Land and the North-Western Territory. In 1880 Great Britain also transferred to Canada the arctic islands, north of the mainland, thereby adding to the territories. The acquisition of the NWT was a major component of the Canadian government’s desire, led by Sir John A. MacDonald, to construct a British nation in North America and to guard against the potential incursion of American settlers.

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Self-Governing First Nations in Yukon

There are 14 First Nations in Yukon. Eleven of these nations are self-governing, while the remaining three are governed under the Indian Act. The 11 self-governing First Nations have legislative and executive powers much like a province or territory. In 1993, they signed the Umbrella Final Agreement (UFA) with the governments of Canada and Yukon. The UFA served as the foundation for individual self-governing agreements made between each First Nation and the territorial and federal governments. These individual agreements were signed between 1993 and 2006. (See also Comprehensive Land Claims.) While the focus of this article is the 11 self-governing First Nations, the remaining three First Nations in Yukon are White River, Liard and Ross River.

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Point Pelee National Park

Point Pelee National Park (established 1918) is a protected area at the tip of Point Pelee, a long peninsula extending into the western end of Lake Erie, south of Leamington, Ontario. Middle Island — Canada’s southernmost piece of land located southwest of Point Pelee — was added to the park in 2000. At 15 km2, Point Pelee National Park is Canada’s second smallest national park. It’s also the southernmost tip of Canada’s mainland, located further south than northern California.

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St. Paul

St. Paul, Alberta, incorporated as a town in 1936, population 5,827 (2016 census), 5,405 (2011 census). The town of St. Paul, county seat for the county of St. Paul, is located on the north shore of Upper Thérien Lake, about 200 km northeast of Edmonton.

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Reserves in Alberta

There are 138 reserves in Alberta. Members of Alberta’s 47 First Nations live in these communities. In addition, two First Nations — Salt River and Onion Lake Cree — are based in other provinces or territories, but have reserve land in Alberta. In 2019, there were 131,697 registered Indians living in Alberta, 58 per cent of whom lived on reserves. The remainder live in other municipalities. First Nations in Alberta are typically grouped into three areas based on Treaties 6, 7 and 8 (see also Numbered Treaties). While historically the Canadian government assigned reserves to First Nations people and not Métis or Inuit, Alberta is the only province in which Métis people were given a collective land base (see Métis Settlements).

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Elsipogtog First Nation

Elsipogtog (pronounced El-see-buk-tuk) First Nation is a Mi’kmaq community about 91 km northwest of Moncton, New Brunswick. Known for many years as Big Cove, in 2003 the First Nation officially changed its name to Elsipogtog, meaning “river of fire.” However, they are still commonly referred to as Big Cove. Community members largely speak Mi’kmaw and English.

As of 2021, Elsipogtog has 3,509 registered members, 2,703 of whom live on the First Nation’s reserve. The reserve, also known as Elsipogtog, is still referred to as Richibucto 15 in some official documents. It encompasses 19.56 km2.

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St. Norbert Provincial Heritage Park

St. Norbert Provincial Heritage Park is located in St. Norbert, which is now a ward of Winnipeg. Designated as a park in 1985, St. Norbert Provincial Heritage Park traces the development of the area from Indigenous use to first a French-speaking Métis settlement and then a French-Canadian agricultural community of the pre-World War I period.

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Cardston

Cardston, Alberta, incorporated as a town in 1901, population 3,585 (2016 census), 3,580 (2011 census). The town of Cardston is located 75 km southwest of Lethbridge. It was named for Charles Ora Card (1839─1906), a son-in-law of Brigham Young. Young was a leader of the Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter Day Saints (see Mormon Church) in the United States.

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National Parks of Canada (Plain-Language Summary)

Canada has 48 national parks. They were created and are run by the federal government. The national parks cover a vast amount of land — about 340,000 km2. This is about 3 per cent of Canada’s landmass. National parks serve two purposes. The first purpose is to preserve and protect nature. The second purpose is to give Canadians the chance to enjoy some of the country’s most beautiful and important natural settings. Millions of Canadians visit national parks every year.

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

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Îles de la Madeleine

Preceded by Basque fishermen, Jacques Cartier arrived at Île Brion in 1534; he named it in honour of the great French admiral. He christened the islands "Les Araynes" (arènes is a French poetry word for sand) because of the endless beaches of sand. Later French fishermen called them Îles Ramées.