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Sitting Bull

Sitting Bull (Tatanka Iyotake in the Lakota language, meaning literally “Buffalo Bull Who Sits Down”), Hunkpapa Lakota Sioux chief (born in 1831; died 15 December 1890 at Standing Rock, South Dakota). Sitting Bull led the Dakota (Sioux) resistance against US incursion into traditional territory. After the most famous battle at Little Big Horn, in which General George Custer’s forces were completely annihilated, Sitting Bull left the United States for the Cypress Hills in Saskatchewan. Sitting Bull symbolized the conflict between settlers and Indigenous culture over lifestyles, land and resources.

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Deskaheh

Deskaheh (also known as Levi General), Cayuga chief and speaker of the Six Nations Hereditary Council (born on the Six Nations Reserve near Brantford, Ontario in 1873; died at the Tuscarora Reservation, New York, on 25 June 1925).

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Almighty Voice

Almighty Voice (or Kitchi-manito-waya, meaning “Voice of the Great Spirit,” also known as Jean-Baptiste), Cree, outlaw (born around 1875 near Duck Lake, SK; died 30 May 1897 at Batoche, SK).

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Maquinna

Maquinna, or Mukwina, meaning "possessor of pebbles,"was a Nootka chief (fl1778-95?). Maquinna was the ranking leader of the Moachat group of Nootka Sound Indigenous people on the west coast of Vancouver Island during the early years of European contact.

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James McKay

James McKay, Manitoba Métis politician, interpreter, guide, fur trader, Hudson’s Bay Company clerk and postmaster (born 5 February 1828 in Edmonton House, Alberta; died 2 December 1879 at St. James, Manitoba). A member of the Council of Assiniboia (1868–69), James McKay played a moderating role during the Red River Rebellion. He also served Manitoba as president of the Executive Council, Speaker of the Legislative Council and Minister of Agriculture, and was on the Council of the North-West Territories from 1873–75. Fluent in various Indigenous languages, McKay helped negotiate Treaties 1, 2 and 3 in the early 1870s. As a treaty commissioner for Treaties 5 and 6, he added provisions to help Indigenous peoples with medical supplies in the event of an epidemic, with famine relief and with their new life on reserves. McKay’s life and career exemplified attempts by Métis leaders, both in commerce and politics, to adapt to rapid changes after Confederation.  

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Wickananish

Wickananish, or Wikinanish, meaning "having no one in front of him in the canoe," Nuu-chah-nulth (Nootka) chief (fl 1788-93). Wickananish was the leading chief at Clayoquot Sound, on the West coast of Vancouver Island, during the period of initial European contact.

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Peter Tomkins

Peter Tomkins Jr., Métis leader, political organizer, blacksmith (born 1 January 1899 in Poundmaker Reserve, SK; died June 1970 in High Prairie, AB). In the 1930s, he worked with Jim Brady and Malcolm Norris to build the Métis Association of Alberta (founded 1932, now the Métis Nation of Alberta) and the Indian Association of Alberta (1939). From health care to his work with the Métis settlements, Tomkins promoted improved living conditions for the Métis of Alberta and Saskatchewan. His diplomacy, lobbying and negotiating skills helped get the first Métis-specific legislation passed in Canada in 1938.

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Dekanahwideh

Dekanahwideh, "the Heavenly Messenger," reputed founder of the Five Nations Confederacy. He was said to have been born among the Huron of a virgin mother, and destined to bring peace and power to his people.

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Alikomiak and Tatimagana

Alikomiak (also spelled Alekámiaq) and Tatimagana, Inuit hunters from the central Arctic, were the first Inuit to be condemned and executed for murder under Canadian law on 1 February 1924. The trials of Alikomiak and Tatimagana have been described as demonstrations of federal authority over the Inuit as well as of Canadian sovereignty in the Arctic.

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Labrador Archaic

The distinctive tools and weapons of the Labrador Archaic people included narrow spear or dart points with a stemmed base for hafting, flaked stone knives and, in some cases, small scrapers for preparing hides.

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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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Sinnisiak

Sinnisiak (d c 1930) and Uluksuk (d 1924), Inuit hunters from the Coppermine region of the NWT, were the first Inuit to be tried for murder under Canadian law.

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Taber Child

In 1961, fragments of a human infant skull from were recovered from the banks of the Oldman River near Taber, Alberta.

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Jean-Louis Riel

Jean-Louis Riel (also known as Louis Riel Sr.), Métis leader, farmer, miller (born in 1817 in Île-à-la-Crosse, Saskatchewan; died in 1864 in Saint-Boniface, Manitoba). Riel rallied hundreds of Métis people in support of Métis defendants against the Hudson’s Bay Company in the 1849 Sayer trial. A landmark case in the history of the Canadian West, the Sayer verdict re-established free fur trade in the Red River Colony. By the 1850s, Jean-Louis Riel had become a leader of the French-Canadian community in the Red River. His role in having the French language used in the Assiniboia courts, and in gaining representation for the Métis on the Council of Assiniboia, helped to cement this status. Riel’s outspoken stance on Métis rights and autonomy significantly influenced his son, Louis Riel, who went on to become arguably the most significant historical Métis leader.

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William Yellowhead

William Yellowhead, or Musquakie, Ojibwa chief (d at the Rama Reserve, Lk Simcoe, Canada W 11 Jan 1864). During the WAR OF 1812 Yellowhead, then in his thirties or forties, fought for the British. He had his jaw shattered by a musket ball.

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Black Hawk

Black Hawk (Black Sparrow Hawk, Makataimeshekiakiak), Sauk War Chief (b at Saukenuk, near Rock Island, Ill, 1767; d near Des Moines, Iowa, 3 Oct 1838).

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Thunderchild (Peyasiw-Awasis)

Thunderchild (also known as Peyasiw-Awasis or Kapitikow, Cree for “one who makes the sound”), Plains Cree chief (born 1849, likely along the South Saskatchewan River; died 29 June 1927 on the Thunderchild Reserve in Saskatchewan). Chief Thunderchild was a signatory to Treaty 6 in 1879. He was a strong defender of treaty rights and Indigenous land as well as traditional Cree lifeways. Thunderchild supported the right of every reserve on the Canadian Plains to have its own school.

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Donnacona

Donnacona, St Lawrence Iroquoian leader (d in France probably in 1539), headman of the village of Stadacona [near Québec City] during Jacques Cartier's voyages of 1534-36, protested when Cartier raised his cross in Gaspé in July 1534.

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Palaeoindian

Some discoveries at the BLUEFISH CAVES and the OLD CROW BASIN in the Yukon trace back the occupation of these two deposits at around 25 000 to 40 000 years BP, based on dates obtained from sediments and mammoth bones that have most likely been modified by humans.