For Canada, Asia does not exist “over there.” It is, has been, and will continue to be, right here, contributing to and shaping our country. Canada’s citizenry includes over 7.5 million people — almost 22 per cent of the population — who were born outside Canada. Recent immigrants to this country are more likely to have come from Asia and the Middle East than from Europe. Chinese ancestry, East Indian ancestry and Filipino ancestry are among the 20 most common ancestries reported by the Canadian population. (Census of Canada, 2016).
Archaeology is a historical science aimed at the discovery and understanding of past human behaviour through the study of material remains. Archaeologists draw the bulk of their information from physical artifacts left at locations where people lived, worked, visited and were buried long ago. The Canadian Encyclopedia features articles on many of the country’s archaeological sites, organized here by the provinces and territories in which they are found.
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.
Michif is a language spoken by Métis peoples mostly in parts of Manitoba, Saskatchewan, North Dakota and Montana. Michif is mainly a combination of Cree and French, but the language also borrows from English and other Indigenous languages, including Ojibwe. Michif is considered an endangered language. In 2016 Statistics Canada reported that 1,170 people identified as Michif speakers. While Michif is the most commonly spoken Métis language, it is not the only one; others include: French Cree, French Michif, Bungi and Brayet.
Inuktitut is an Indigenous language in North America spoken in the Canadian Arctic. The 2016 census reported 39,770 speakers, of which 65 per cent were located in Nunavut and 30.8 per cent in Quebec. Inuktitut is part of a larger Inuit language continuum (a series of dialects) stretching from Alaska to Greenland. Inuktitut uses a writing system called syllabics, created originally for the Cree language, which represent combinations of consonants and vowels. The language is also written in the Roman alphabet, and this is the exclusive writing system used in Labrador and parts of Western Nunavut. Inuktitut is a polysynthetic language, meaning that words tend to be longer and structurally more complex than their English or French counterparts.
The Cree language (also called Cree-Montagnais-Naskapi) is spoken in many parts of Canada, from the Rocky Mountains in the West to Labrador in the East. Cree is also spoken in northern Montana in the United States. Often written in syllabics (i.e., symbols representing a combination of consonant and vowel, or just a consonant or vowel), Cree is one of the most widely spoken Indigenous languages in Canada. In the 2016 census, 96,575 people reported speaking Cree.
The Governor General’s Literary Awards are the pre-eminent literary prize offered for single works in Canada. They serve to reward Canadian writers and to publicize Canadian literature through the announcement of short-listed nominees and the awards ceremony each year. As of 2017, there were 14 categories, seven each in English and French, with a cash prize of $25,000 each. The publisher of each winning book receives $3,000 to promote it, and authors that are shortlisted as finalists receive $1,000.
The forcible expulsion and confinement of ethnic Japanese during the Second World War represents one of the most tragic sets of events in Canada’s history. Some 22,000 Canadian citizens and residents were taken from their homes on Canada’s West Coast, without any charge or due process, and exiled to remote areas of eastern British Columbia and elsewhere. Ultimately, the Canadian government stripped the Japanese Canadians of their property and pressured them to accept mass deportation after the war ended. These events are popularly known as the Japanese Canadian internment. However, various scholars and activists have challenged this term on the grounds that under international law, internment refers to detention of enemy aliens, whereas most Japanese Canadians were Canadian citizens.
The Canadian Library Association (CLA) was founded in Hamilton, Ontario, in 1946, and incorporated on 26 November 1947. CLA was a non-profit voluntary organization governed by an elected executive council and advised by over 30 interest groups and committees. After years of diminishing membership, the CLA was dissolved in 2016.
The Inuit Broadcasting Corporation (IBC) was launched as a public broadcasting service in January 1982. Broadcast in Inuktitut, it is North America’s first Indigenous-language television network and the world’s first Indigenous media project broadcast by satellite. IBC gave up its broadcast licence in 1991 to allow for the creation of the forerunner to the Aboriginal Peoples Television Network (APTN). IBC is now a content producer for APTN as well as other organizations, such as IsumaTV. IBC produces programming that aims to preserve the culture and language of more than 25,000 Inuit in Inuit Nunangat (the Inuit homeland in Canada). IBC has received international recognition for its programming and has helped launch the careers of many independent Inuit producers, directors, writers and camera operators. Partially funded by the Department of Canadian Heritage, IBC receives revenue from Nunavut government programs, license fees, production funds, program sales and fundraising.
Cultural appropriation is the use of a people’s traditional dress, music, cuisine, knowledge and other aspects of their culture, without their approval, by members of a different culture. For Indigenous peoples in Canada, cultural appropriation is rooted in colonization and ongoing oppression. Indigenous peoples have seen culturally significant symbols and motifs used in non-Indigenous goods, marketing and art. They have also seen stereotypical images of “Indians” used in sports logos and the sale of various products.
The Juno Beach Centre (JBC) is a Canadian museum located in Courseulles-sur-Mer, France. It is situated behind Juno Beach, the Allied code name for a 10 km stretch of French coastline assaulted by Canadian forces on D-Day, 6 June 1944, during the Second World War. Opened by a group of veterans and volunteers in 2003, the museum is a memorial and education centre dedicated to commemorating the role of Canadians in the Second World War. It is privately owned and operated by the Canadian non-profit Juno Beach Centre Association (JBCA), which offers historical and educational programming across Canada.
Aboriginal Peoples Television Network (APTN) is the world’s first Indigenous national broadcaster dedicated to Indigenous programming. First broadcast on 1 September 1999 in Winnipeg, Manitoba, APTN provides various content, including news, dramas and documentaries. Aimed at diverse audiences, APTN offers programming in Indigenous languages, English and French. It broadcasts into more than 11 million Canadian households and businesses, a significant portion of which are located in remote areas. APTN mainly generates revenue for operations through subscriber fees, advertising sales and partnerships.
Kanyen'kéha or Kanien'kéha (also known as the Mohawk language) is an Indigenous language of North America. Kanyen'kéha utilizes the Roman alphabet to write a standardized written form of the language. One of its notable features is that it is polysynthetic, meaning that various parts of the language that carry meaning (morphemes) can be combined to form a multiplicity of words. Many common place names also stem from Kanyen’kéha terms, including Canada, which originates from the word kaná:ta (“town”); similarly, Ontario comes from Kanyatarí:yo or Kaniatarí:io (“beautiful lake”) and Toronto from Aterónto (“logs in the water” or “standing trees in water”).
This Hour Has 22 Minutes, also known as 22 Minutes, is a sketch comedy and satirical news show that has aired on CBC TV since 1993. A forerunner of the mock-newscast format popularized by The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, it has averaged as many as 1 million viewers per episode and has remained one of the CBC’s highest-rated shows throughout its run. It was developed by CODCO members Mary Walsh and Cathy Jones along with producers Michael Donovan, Jack Kellum, Gerald Lunz and George Anthony. Over the years, the show has featured such comedians as Rick Mercer, Greg Thomey, Colin Mochrie, Mark Critch, Gavin Crawford, Shaun Majumder, Geri Hall, Nathan Fielder and Susan Kent. The series has won 28 Gemini Awards, 20 Canadian Comedy Awards, 5 Writers Guild of Canada Awards and the Academy Icon Award at the 2016 Canadian Screen Awards.
Based on an ancient Inuit folktale, Atanarjuat (The Fast Runner) is the first Inuktitut-language feature film ever made. A critically-acclaimed commercial success, it won numerous awards worldwide, including the Camera d’or for best first feature at the Cannes Film Festival and five Genie Awards, including Best Screenplay, Best Direction and Best Motion Picture, as well as the Claude Jutra Award (now the Canadian Screen Award for Best First Feature). It is widely considered one of the best Canadian films ever made, and in 2015 was ranked No. 1 of all time in a poll conducted by the Toronto International Film Festival (see Top 10 Canadian Films of All Time).
An ulu is a cutting tool specific to the material culture of the Inuit. A practical device, the ulu has been significant to traditional subsistence strategies, namely hunting and harvesting. However, the ulu also holds cultural significance, especially to women, who have historically used the tool to cut meat for food, and skins for clothing. Today, some Inuit still use ulus for food preparation; others recognize the ulu for its traditional value.
Smudging is a cultural ceremony practised by a wide variety of Indigenous peoples in Canada and other parts of the world. Although practices differ, smudging is used for medicinal and practical purposes as well as for spiritual ceremonies. The practice generally involves prayer and the burning of sacred medicines, such as sweetgrass, cedar, sage and tobacco. While colonization has repressed such traditions, the practice of smudging has survived to the present day.
Regalia in Indigenous cultures refers to the traditional and often sacred clothing, accessories and artifacts worn or carried during various ceremonies, such as powwows, celebrations and pan-national gatherings. The design, type and meaning of regalia varies greatly depending on the individual who wears it, the culture from which it originates and the event where it is worn.
Chinook Jargon or Chinook Wawa — wawa meaning "talk" — is a pidgin language that was prevalent in British Columbia and the Pacific Northwest in the 1800s and early 1900s. Its small vocabulary and simplified grammar and sound system made it ideal for communication between diverse communities, especially those engaged in trade. The language is based on Lower Chinook, Nuu-chah-nulth (Nootka), French, English, with some contributions from Salishan, and other Indigenous languages. It is estimated that approximately 100,000 people could speak Chinook Wawa in 1875, and it was used widely in court testimony, newspaper advertising, missionary activity among Indigenous peoples, and everyday conversation from central British Columbia to northern California.