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Kenojuak Ashevak

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Kenojuak Ashevak

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Naskumituwin (Treaty)

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Treaty 9, also known as the James Bay Treaty, was signed between the Government of Canada and Cree and Ojibwa nations in 1905. One of 11 numbered treaties signed in the post-Confederation era, it covers most of present-day Northern Ontario.

The process of ceding land to the government began in Upper Canada before Confederation, and many of these early treaty negotiations encompassed the hunting and fishing rights of Indigenous groups. After Confederation, Sir John A. Macdonald began implementing the numbered treaty system to open up the western provinces for settlement.

The Cree and Ojibwa of James Bay were concerned with the increasing encroachment of Hudson’s Bay Company traders and other non-Indigenous trappers. In the summer of 1901, they petitioned for a treaty that would protect their right to use their land. This led to the creation of Treaty 9.

The treaty-making process was inherently unequal. The terms of Treaty 9 were presented to the First Nations leaders as an executed agreement rather than a negotiation. The Province of Ontario made additional demands, including having commissioners and not the chiefs determine reserve locations. Any negotiating power on the part of the Cree and Ojibwa was subject to the government’s power of veto over treaty terms.

In the treaty preamble, the text reads that the purpose of the treaty is to create available land in Northern Ontario “for settlement, immigration, trade, travel, mining, lumbering and other such purposes.” The Cree and Ojibwa had to “cede, release, surrender and yield up … their rights, titles and privileges” to land and resources within the geographical area of the treaty. As for payment, a one-time lump sum of $8 was paid per person.

The treaty was signed on behalf of the Dominion of Canada by Duncan Campbell Scott and Samuel Stewart, both members of the Indian Affairs Department. Daniel G. MacMartin was the representative from the Government of Ontario. George Spence, an 18-year-old Cree hunter, made his mark on the treaty alongside members of the Cree and Ojibwa nations.

Today, many Indigenous people in Canada are still waiting for treaty promises to be honoured.

For more information on Treaty 9, visit The Canadian Encyclopedia.

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Chanie Wenjack

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Chanie Wenjack

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At age 9, Chanie Wenjack was sent to the Cecilia Jeffrey Residential School, near Kenora, Ontario. Chanie ran away from school at age 12 and died during his attempt to return home. His death sparked the first inquest into the treatment of Indigenous children at residential schools.

Chanie grew up in Ogoki Post, on the Anishinaabe Marten Falls Reserve in Northern Ontario, where he lived with his family until he was taken from them to attend residential school in 1963. Once there, he was given the name Charlie by the staff, and this became the name by which he was commonly known.

The Cecilia Jeffrey Residential School was run by the Women’s Missionary Society of the Presbyterian Church and funded by the Canadian government. There were approximately 150 children at the school when Chanie and his sister Pearl lived there.

>Chanie Wenjack and two friends escaped from the playground on the afternoon of 16 October 1966. Chanie first went to the cabin of Charles Kelly, the uncle of one of his friends, near Redditt, Ontario. Kelly advised Chanie to follow the railroad tracks north and ask railway workers for help if he needed it.

Setting off alone, clothed in a thin cotton shirt and pants, Chanie carried only one small glass jar of matches. He survived for 36 hours, walking a total of 19 kilometres before succumbing to harsh, cold weather. His body, bruised from repeated falls, was found beside the railroad by railway men on 23 October 1966, a week after he left Cecilia Jeffrey.

Chanie’s body was eventually sent home to his parents in Ogoki Post, and a national inquest was called to investigate the treatment of children in the residential school system. The resulting report stated: “The Indian education system causes tremendous emotional & adjustment problems for these children.”

Chanie’s death and the subsequent investigation prompted nationwide questioning of the morality and ethics of residential schools.

For more on Chanie Wenjack, visit The Canadian Encyclopedia

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Queenston Heights

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Queenston Heights

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13 October 1812 was a fateful day for the Six Nations of the Grand River. British forces, including about 160 Six Nations warriors, were assembled at Fort George at the mouth of the Niagara River in anticipation of an American invasion, which came upriver near the small Upper Canadian village of Queenston. John Norton and John Brant, along with several other leaders and warriors, hurried to the scene, only to learn that General Brock had been killed and that the Americans had taken the Heights overlooking the village.

As they approached the battlefield, the warriors heard from retreating soldiers that there were thousands of Americans. In response, about half the warriors left the group, returning to Fort George to protect their families (who had accompanied them from their homes on the Grand River). The Queenston Heights Heritage Minute shows Norton making a speech to inspire the 80 remaining warriors. The same speech is recorded in his journal.

Rather than advance up the northern edge of the Heights, where Brock had been killed and where American soldiers were waiting, Norton and Brant led their men to the west, scaled the Heights under cover, and approached from the side, taking the Americans by surprise.

Using the cover of gun smoke to move quickly through the woods, the 80 sharp-shooting warriors launched hit-and-run attacks, pinning down over a thousand Americans until British reinforcements, including Richard Pierpoint and the Coloured Corps, arrived for a final assault against the invaders, forcing the Americans to surrender. The efforts of the Six Nations warriors were essential in taking back the heights and preventing American invasion.

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  • John Norton – Billy Merasty
  • John Brandt – Meegwun Fairbrother
  • Narrator – Alanis Obomsawin

Tommy Prince

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Tommy Prince

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Canada is internationally recognized for its role as a peacekeeping nation. But Canadian soldiers have seen their share of battle and their heroism is not forgotten.

 

Around the world, the tragedy of war is often remembered through a beautiful and haunting poem, written to commemorate those who died in World War I. John McCrae wrote “In Flanders Fields” following his experiences in the trench warfare around Ypres, Belgium.

 

It was Canada that proposed a UN Peacekeeping Force in 1956. When he was a Brigadier-General, Jacques Dextraze, one of Canada's most distinguished peacekeeping commanders, led missions to rescue NGO personnel in the Congo.

 

Sergeant-Major John Osborn and Andrew Mynarski both died while valiantly trying to help others. Sergeant-Major Osborn protected his company by throwing himself on a live grenade. And Andrew Mynarski attempted to save his comrade after their Lancaster Bomber was hit by enemy fire. They were posthumously awarded the Victoria Cross for their heroic acts.

 

Mona Parsons from Wolfville, Nova Scotia, was the only Canadian female civilian to be imprisoned by the Germans during World War II. She and her Dutch husband were convicted for attempting to repatriate downed Allied airmen.

 

These Minutes pay homage to Canada's military history.

 

Sitting Bull

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Sitting Bull

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Centuries ago the Iroquois nations found a way to establish peace and unity among themselves. The Great Peace, dramatized in Peacemaker, can be traced back more than 1,500 years and has lasted to the present day.

 

The Inuit peoples of the Arctic have hunted and fished the vast Canadian arctic for thousands of years. During their summer hunts Inuit families sometimes built stone piles, often in the shape of humans with outstretched arms. They called these sculptures "inukshuks." On the wild arctic landscape they are often the only sign that humans have passed through, a symbol of the traditional Inuit way of life.

 

Louis Riel, Métis leader and founder of Manitoba, remains a controversial figure. Even after a century, Riel and his fate excite political debate, particularly in Québec and Manitoba.

 

These Minutes dramatize the trials and triumphs of Canada's aboriginal peoples.

 

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Peacemaker

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Peacemaker

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Centuries ago the Iroquois nations found a way to establish peace and unity among themselves. The Great Peace, dramatized in Peacemaker, can be traced back more than 1,500 years and has lasted to the present day.

 

The Inuit peoples of the Arctic have hunted and fished the vast Canadian arctic for thousands of years. During their summer hunts Inuit families sometimes built stone piles, often in the shape of humans with outstretched arms. They called these sculptures "inukshuks." On the wild arctic landscape they are often the only sign that humans have passed through, a symbol of the traditional Inuit way of life.

 

Louis Riel, Métis leader and founder of Manitoba, remains a controversial figure. Even after a century, Riel and his fate excite political debate, particularly in Québec and Manitoba.

 

These Minutes dramatize the trials and triumphs of Canada's aboriginal peoples.

 

Louis Riel

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Louis Riel

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Centuries ago the Iroquois nations found a way to establish peace and unity among themselves. The Great Peace, dramatized in Peacemaker, can be traced back more than 1,500 years and has lasted to the present day.

 

The Inuit peoples of the Arctic have hunted and fished the vast Canadian arctic for thousands of years. During their summer hunts Inuit families sometimes built stone piles, often in the shape of humans with outstretched arms. They called these sculptures "inukshuks." On the wild arctic landscape they are often the only sign that humans have passed through, a symbol of the traditional Inuit way of life.

 

Louis Riel, Métis leader and founder of Manitoba, remains a controversial figure. Even after a century, Riel and his fate excite political debate, particularly in Québec and Manitoba.

 

These Minutes dramatize the trials and triumphs of Canada's aboriginal peoples.

 

Grey Owl

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Grey Owl

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When Prime Minister Lester Pearson vowed to create a distinctive Canadian flag in 1964, some of his advisors warned him that it would be ‘political suicide' to tamper with the country's most important national symbol. But Pearson wanted a flag that “would not be mistaken for the emblem of any other country.”

 

Whether it's our national flag, our national anthem, our famous Bluenose schooner, or a mascot named Winnie, we understand ourselves through our symbols.

 

These Minutes look at some of the people and events that helped emblemize Canada.

 

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School Days (Radio)

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School Days (Radio)

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Centuries ago the Iroquois nations found a way to establish peace and unity among themselves. The Great Peace, dramatized in Peacemaker, can be traced back more than 1,500 years and has lasted to the present day.

 

The Inuit peoples of the Arctic have hunted and fished the vast Canadian arctic for thousands of years. During their summer hunts Inuit families sometimes built stone piles, often in the shape of humans with outstretched arms. They called these sculptures "inukshuks." On the wild arctic landscape they are often the only sign that humans have passed through, a symbol of the traditional Inuit way of life.

 

Louis Riel, Métis leader and founder of Manitoba, remains a controversial figure. Even after a century, Riel and his fate excite political debate, particularly in Québec and Manitoba.

 

These Minutes dramatize the trials and triumphs of Canada's aboriginal peoples.

 

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