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Israel Halperin

Israel Halperin, CM, mathematician, human rights activist (born 5 January 1911 in Montreal, QC; died 8 March 2007 in Toronto, ON). Halperin advanced mathematical knowledge in the fields of operator algebras and operator theory. (See also Mathematics.) He became embroiled in the Gouzenko Affair in 1946 when he was accused of being an informant for the Soviet Union. After this ordeal, Halperin returned to his post as a professor at Queen’s University, later also teaching at the University of Toronto. Beginning in the 1970s, he created letter-writing campaigns that aimed to end human rights abuses and free political prisoners.

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Paul Yuzyk

Paul Yuzyk, senator, scholar, historian and multiculturalism advocate (born 24 June 1913 in Pinto, SK; died 9 July 1986 in Ottawa, ON). A leader within the Canadian Ukrainian community, Yuzyk served in the Senate of Canada from 1963 to 1986 (see Ukrainian Canadians). He was the first person to use the term “multiculturalism” in Parliament, which was the subject of his 1964 maiden speech. Yuzyk has been called the “father of multiculturalism.”

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Pierre de Rigaud de Vaudreuil de Cavagnial

Pierre de Rigaud de Vaudreuil de Cavagnial, Marquis de Vaudreuil, (sometimes Vaudreuil-Cavagnial), officer, last governor general of New France 1755–60 (born in Québec, New-France on 22 November 1698; died in Paris, France 4 August 1778). He was the governor of New France during the Seven Years’ War and the British Conquest of New France. Following the capture of Quebec by British forces, Vaudreuil signed the capitulation of Montreal and New France in 1760.

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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The term Indian, when used to identify Indigenous peoples in South, Central and North America, is considered outdated and offensive.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.)

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Inuit Country Food in Canada

Country food is a term that describes traditional Inuit food, including game meats, migratory birds, fish and foraged foods. In addition to providing nourishment, country food is an integral part of Inuit identity and culture, and contributes to self-sustainable communities. Environmental and socioeconomic changes have threatened food security, making country food more expensive and difficult to harvest. Despite these challenges, the Inuit, in partnership with various levels of government and non-profit organizations, continue to work towards improving access to country food.

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Nebenaigoching

Nebenaigoching (also spelled Nebenaigooching, Unbenegooching, or Nabunagoging), or Joseph Sayers, Anishinaabeg Ogima or leader (born c. 1808 at Leech Island, Lake Superior, Upper Canada [ON]; died 1899 at Garden River First Nation, ON). Son of Ogima Waubejechauk (Wabechechacke) and Julia Sayer, Nebenaigoching was a hereditary Crane Clan chief, defender of Anishinaabeg (see Ojibwe) rights, and signatory to the 1850 Robinson-Huron Treaty (see Treaties with Indigenous Peoples in Canada).

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Indian Agents in Canada

Indian agents were the Canadian government’s representatives on First Nations reserves from the 1830s to the 1960s. Often working in isolated locations far from settler communities, Indian agents implemented government policy, enforced and administered the provisions of the Indian Act, and managed the day-to-day affairs of Status Indians. Today, the position of Indian agent no longer exists, as First Nations manage their own affairs through modern band councils or self-government.

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Jackson Beardy

Jackson Beardy (also known as Quincy Pickering Jackson Beardy), Oji-Cree artist (born 24 July 1944 in Island Lake, MB; died 8 December 1984 in Winnipeg, MB). Beardy was part of the Woodlands School of Indigenous art, and in 1973 he became part of a group of Indigenous artists popularly known as the Indian Group of Seven. His stylized artworks — sometimes painted on canvas, birch bark or beaver skins — were often concerned with the interdependence of humans and nature. They also tended to depict figures from Ojibwe and Cree oral traditions. From the late 1960s to his death in the early 1980s, Beardy promoted Indigenous art as a valid category of contemporary art. His influence as a Woodland artist has contributed to the development of contemporary Indigenous art in Canada.

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Daphne Odjig

Daphne Odjig, CM, OBC, visual artist (born 11 September 1919 on Wiikwemkoong Unceded Territory, Manitoulin Island, ON; died 1 October 2016 in Kelowna, BC). Odjig was a founding member of the 1970s artists’ alliance Professional Native Indian Artists Inc., also known as the Indian Group of Seven.

Her artistic career spanned six decades and includes lyrical legend paintings, personal reflective memories, and trenchant historical and political critiques. Experimental and creatively fearless, Odjig’s styles and media varied widely with her subject matter. Fluid calligraphic lines characterized her early narrative paintings in t he 1960s, while her history paintings in the 1970s were densely expressive. Odjig’s elegiac colour studies of the British Columbia forests were featured in her work in the 1980s. In her long career, Odjig combined her originality as a painter with her social awareness as a feminist to create a body of work that helped bring an Indigenous voice to the foreground of contemporary Canadian art.

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Alex Janvier

Alex Simeon Janvier, CM, painter (born 28 Feb 1935 on Le Goff reserve, Cold Lake First Nations, near Bonnyville, AB). Recipient of the Governor General's Award for Visual and Media Arts, and a Member of the Order of Canada, Alex Janvier is often referred to as the first Indigenous modernist artist in Canada. Janvier is also one of the founding members of Professional Native Indian Artists Inc., also known as the Indian Group of Seven. His work is in major museum collections throughout Canada, including the National Gallery of Canada, Canadian Museum of History, Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, and Winnipeg Art Gallery. (See also Contemporary Indigenous Art in Canada.)

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Richard Maurice Bucke

Richard Maurice Bucke, psychiatrist, author (b at Methwold, Eng 18 Mar 1837; d at London, Ont 19 Feb 1902). Brought to Upper Canada when one year old, Bucke was raised and educated on the family farm near Hamilton.

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Chief

Chief is a word used to denote status or leadership upon an individual in a group, clan or family. The origin of the word is European; colonists used it to refer to the leaders of Indigenous nations during the era of contact. While different Indigenous nations have their own terms for chief, the English version of the word is still used widely to describe leaders tasked with promoting cultural and political autonomy. The term is also used by institutions and organizations that are not exclusively Indigenous to refer to heads of staff (e.g., chief of police, commander-in-chief, chief executive officer). This article explores the historical and contemporary uses of the term in the Indigenous context.

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Matthew Coon Come

Matthew Coon Come, OC, Grand Chief of the Grand Council of the Crees (1987–99, 2009–17), National Chief of AFN (2000–03); activist, environmentalist (born in 1956 near Mistissini, Quebec). Matthew Coon Come was Grand Chief of the Grand Council of the Crees for 20 years and served one term as National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations. He achieved national and international fame through his successful opposition to the James Bay hydroelectric project in the 1990s, his assertion of Cree self-determination, and his advocacy for Indigenous self-determination across the world.

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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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Rose Ouellette

Rose Ouellette, CQ, actress, author, composer (born 25 August 1903 in Montreal, QC; died 14 September 1996 in Montreal). With a career spanning over seven decades, burlesque actor Rose Ouellette holds the distinction of being the first woman ever to have directed two individual playhouses in North America. She was made a Chevalière of the Ordre national du Québec in 1990.

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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.