The story of African-descended peoples in Canada is a rich and complex one dating back more than 400 years. The breadth of experiences, narratives, and identities of Black Canadians — from Mathieu da Costa, an interpreter for Samuel de Champlain and the first documented free Black person to set foot on what is now known as Canada in the early 1600s, to the current population of more than 1.5 million people — has been instrumental in shaping the country we know today. The historical presence of Black people in Canada was characterized by colonial settlers oppressing and enslaving people of African descent in this country, but the whole story — which includes buying and enslaving people of African descent, forced migrations, and the exploitation of their labour — is not widely known or discussed in this country’s dominant historical narrative. Instead, Canada’s participation in enslavement is often erased from history books in favour of a narrative that centres white voices, silences those of Black Canadians, and emphasizes Canada as a “haven” for its role in the Underground Railroad. This is not only an injustice to those who suffered, but prevents Canadians from understanding the complex histories and lived experiences of the country’s many Black populations. It is also a history of how Black people in Canada have surmounted barriers and have prospered despite the ongoing struggle against oppression and discrimination.