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Hidden in Plain Sight

Hidden in Plain Sight: Contributions of Aboriginal Peoples to Canadian Identity and Culture, Volume 1

Copyright Date: 2005
Pages: 420
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  • Book Info
    Hidden in Plain Sight
    Book Description:

    The history of Aboriginal people in Canada taught in schools and depicted in the media tends to focus on Aboriginal displacement from native lands and the consequent social and cultural disruptions they have endured. Collectively, they are portrayed as passive victims of European colonization and government policy, and, even when well intentioned, these depictions are demeaning and do little to truly represent the role Aboriginal peoples have played in Canadian life.Hidden in Plain Sightadds another dimension to the story, showing the extraordinary contributions Aboriginal peoples have made - and continue to make - to the Canadian experience.

    From treaties to contemporary arts and literatures, Aboriginal peoples have helped to define Canada and have worked to secure a place of their own making in Canadian culture. For this volume, editors David R. Newhouse, Cora J. Voyageur, and Daniel J.K. Beavon have brought together leading scholars and other impassioned voices, and together, they give full treatment to the Aboriginal contribution to Canada's intellectual, political, economic, social, historic, and cultural landscapes. Included are profiles of several leading figures such as actor Chief Dan George, artist Norval Morrisseau, author Tomson Highway, activist Anna Mae Pictou Aquash, and politician Phil Fontaine, among others. Canada simply would not be what it is today without these contributions. The first of two volumes,Hidden in Plain Sightis key to understanding and appreciating Canadian society and will be essential reading for generations to come.

    eISBN: 978-1-4426-8823-0
    Subjects: Sociology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-x)
  3. Preface
    (pp. xi-xiv)
  4. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xv-xvi)
  5. Contributors
    (pp. xvii-xxiv)

    • Introduction
      (pp. 3-13)

      John Ralston Saul, writing inReflections of a Siamese Twin Canada at the end of the Twentieth Century,argues that Canada is founded upon three pillars: English, French, and Aboriginal. There has been little recognition of the third group as a pillar or as a foundational group: Canada has not yet come to terms its with Aboriginal heritage. In the history books of the last four decades, Aboriginal peoples appear at the start, and then disappear, only to pop up again like prairie gophers, as welcome as those creatures and just as much a nuisance. It is no wonder that...

    • Profile of Chief Dan George (1899–1981) Squamish, Actor, and Tribal Leader
      (pp. 14-16)

      Chief Dan George is the only Aboriginal actor in Canadian history with the right to use the title ‘Chief.’ Coming from a family boasting six generations of chiefs,¹ he upheld this tradition by serving as leader of the Squamish First Nation of Burrard Inlet from 1951 to 1963 and retained the honorary title after his term ended.² In fact, he ventured into professional acting only after serving as chief, making his screen debut at the age of sixty-five as Ol’ Antoine in CBC-TV’s ‘Caribou Country’ series.³

      Born in a small Salish village (now North Vancouver), Chief Dan George, then known...


    • Treaties and the Evolution of Canada
      (pp. 19-34)

      The treaties the crown has signed with Aboriginal peoples since the eighteenth century have permitted the evolution of Canada as we know it. In fact, much of Canada’s land mass is covered by treaties. It would be fair to say that, without the long history of treaty making, Canada probably would not have the geographic borders it has today. This treaty-making process, which has evolved over more than three hundred years, has its origins in the early diplomatic relationship that developed between European settlers and Aboriginal peoples. Their early agreements were cooperative ones, negotiated with both parties’ interests in mind...

    • Profile of Harold Cardinal (1945–) Cree, Author, Activist, Academic, and Politician
      (pp. 35-37)

      Harold Cardinal is widely admired for his persistence and dedication in creating opportunities for positive change for First Nations communities in Canada. His passion for seeking equality for First Nations peoples has led him to wear many vocational hats, including those of author, politician, activist, scholar, professor, entrepreneur and treaty-rights consultant.

      Harold Cardinal was born on 27 January 1945 to Frank and Agnes (Cunningham) Cardinal in High Prairie, Alberta. He was raised, along with his seventeen siblings, on the Sucker Creek Reserve in northern Alberta.¹ After completing high school in Edmonton in 1965, he moved to Ottawa, where he studied...

    • Treaties and Aboriginal-Government Relations, 1945–2000
      (pp. 38-60)

      Aboriginal peoples were almost invisible members of Canadian society from the end of the War of 1812 until the era of reconstruction following the Second World War. During that long period, they were held back by disease and poverty at a time when millions of settlers from the British Isles and continental Europe were pouring into Canada to find land and opportunity and build new lives. Even though treaty making continued during these years, its primary purpose was to win access to fertile farmlands and to resources for the growing non-Aboriginal population. New treaties continued to be signed in the...

    • Profile of Albert (‘Billy’) Diamond (1949–) Cree, Politician, and Businessman
      (pp. 61-64)

      Billy Diamond is a man admired not only by the Aboriginal peoples but also by those in the political and business communities. Lubicon Chief Bernard Ominayak says, ‘... At enormous personal cost Billy Diamond prevailed, winning recognition for the rights of his people and serving as an inspiration to other aboriginal peoples still struggling to achieve recognition and rights.’¹ Diamond’s business savvy and negotiation skills have made him someone who cannot be ignored. He has been called the ‘Lee Iacocca of the North.’²

      Billy Diamond was born to Hilda and Malcolm Diamond on 17 May 1949 in a tent on...


    • The Art of Survival
      (pp. 67-85)

      Art made by the Inuit – citizens of the far north – has a unique place in Canadian art history. Any comparisons to other mainstream Canadian arts are doomed to fail because the origins of Inuit art are utterly different.

      To begin with, until recently, all Inuit artists and artisans were entirely self-taught. They were not products of art schools or academies. They never took classes in life drawing or design. They grew up in a hunting and gathering milieu rather than in industrialized society. In addition, they did not view themselves as artists. Most of the people discussed in this chapter...

    • Profile of Norval Morrisseau, (1932–) Ojibwa, Artist, and Storyteller
      (pp. 86-88)

      Norval Morrisseau has been described as the most accomplished painter in Canadian history and, within Aboriginal society, itself, it has been said that his magical paintings have helped re-create Ojibwa culture.¹ Well known in both Germany and France, he was the first to paint the ancient myths and legends of the Eastern Woodlands. He was also the first artist to ‘break the sacred Shaman taboo by depicting legends that were previously handed down orally.’² Some have called Morrisseau ‘the Father of Ojibwa Art.’³

      ‘Copper Thunderbird,’ his traditional name, was born on 13 March 1931 on Sandy Lake Reserve, near Thunder...

    • Connecting the Artists with the Art
      (pp. 89-95)

      Few in number and geographically isolated, the Inuit have been perhaps the least visible of Canada’s minorities. Prior to the twentieth century, they had been encountered by explorers, whalers, missionaries, traders, and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, but it took the Canadian Guild of Crafts, a small, non-profit handicraft organization based in Montreal, to bring them definitively to national attention. In 1948 Canadian Inuit established an indelible presence in the national consciousness by means of simple stone carvings that excited art professionals and amateurs alike. Fifty years later, art made by the Inuit has become the most popular Canadian art...

    • Profile of Daphne Odjig (1919–) Odawa, Artist, Muralist
      (pp. 96-98)

      A highly regarded artist, Daphne Odjig gained celebrity for portraying the life of Native Canadians and for incorporating her own thoughts, beliefs, and experiences into her work. She describes herself as a ‘strong-willed woman who believed in herself and her abilities and managed to survive through times when artists really were a struggling breed.’¹ When she began painting, most Aboriginal artists had their work relegated to ethnographic displays or museums; only a few received art gallery displays.²

      Daphne Odjig was born on the Wikwemikong Reserve, Manitoulin Island, Ontario, in 1919.³ Her father, Dominic, of Odawa-Potawatomi ancestry, and her mother, Joyce,...

    • Nunavut Territory: Communications and Political Development in the Canadian North
      (pp. 99-111)

      Speaking in the House of Commons in 1936, Mackenzie King remarked about Canada that ‘if some countries have too much history, we have too much geography’ (Colombo 1974, 306). Today, our ongoing constitutional debates, our anxiety over the possible separation of Quebec, and our struggle over Aboriginal rights and land claims suggest that we may have too littlesharedhistory. However, geography continues to be a critical factor in Canada’s historical formation, including the unfolding history of Inuit selfdetermination and communication technologies in the far north. Canada is the second-largest country in the world and its population is only 30...

    • Profile of Kenojuak Ashevak (1927–) Inuk, Artist
      (pp. 112-114)

      One of the most widely recognized Inuit artists today is a woman named Kenojuak Ashevak.¹ She has produced drawings, paintings, and sculptures for more than forty years.

      Kenojuak Ashevak was born at the Ikerrasak campsite on southern Baffin Island in 1927.² Moving was a way of life for Inuit, and Ashevak’s family relocated regularly to find food. When Ashevak was three years old, her father, Ushuakjuk, was killed in a dispute with nearby residents.³ Ashevak loved her father dearly and was devastated by his death. Ashevak’s widowed mother then moved her family to Cape Dorset to live with Ashevak’s grandmother.⁴...

    • Natives and Newcomers in the New World: Maritime Furniture and the Interaction of Cultures
      (pp. 115-135)
      JANE L. COOK

      In the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, Maritime Canada was a meeting ground for many peoples, Native and newcomer alike.¹ Native lifestyles and how these manifested themselves in the world of arts and crafts intrigued those visitors to the New World who were fascinated by different cultures. Products alien to Western culture were sought after as visitors shipped home representations of the exotic and the novel. Yet items also remained in the New World, as Native craftspeople sold merchandise in regional centres to newcomer artisans who packaged them for resale. Thus, while recent historical research focuses on First Nations as ‘souvenir...

    • Profile of Robert Charles Davidson (1946–) Haida, Artist, and Teacher
      (pp. 136-139)

      Robert Davidson’s ability to express his Haida heritage as a master carver of totem poles and masks and through printmaking, painting, and jewellery has contributed to the survival of his tradition and culture, thus making him a significant figure in Canada’s Aboriginal community. His concern for Haida cultural traditions caused him to take steps to revive it and make it important to the Haida community.

      Robert Davidson was born in Hydaburg, Alaska, on 4 November 1946 to Claude and Vivian Davidson.¹ A year later he moved to Old Massett on Haida Gwaii (Queen Charlotte Islands).² As a child, Davidson gained...

    • Contributions to Canadian Art by Aboriginal Contemporary Artists
      (pp. 140-162)

      In the last fifty years, Aboriginal peoples have made tremendous strides in rebuilding their cultural identities through language, music, dance, and visual art. Because of the historic ruptures faced by all Aboriginal communities, it is little wonder that so many Aboriginal people distrust outsiders. Yet, paradoxically, it seems, Aboriginal people’s are, more than ever, open to expressing their identities, often through the arts. These expressions are directed not only outward to non-Indians but also, and more important, to Indigenous peoples themselves. With access to new media and practices that balance tradition, Aboriginal artists are now defining the forefront of a...

    • Profile of Allen Sapp (1928–) Cree, Artist
      (pp. 163-166)

      The Plains Cree artist Allen Sapp, is world-renowned. A forerunner of the ‘New Native Arts,’¹ he works in the realist tradition, painting simple and vivid scenes from his childhood and portraying the texture of reserve life in the 1940s and 1950s.

      Born on the Red Pheasant Reserve near Battleford, Saskatchewan, on 2 January 1928, Allen was a sickly child and was raised by his grandmother, Maggie Soonias. She nicknamed him ‘Kiskaytum,’ meaning ‘he perceives it’ in the Cree language.² She encouraged him to draw after he first expressed an interest at about age five, and profoundly influenced his subsequent artistic...


    • First Peoples Literature in Canada
      (pp. 169-176)

      As Indigenous peoples, our connection to the land, our homeland, makes us who we are and connects us to each other and the web of life that surrounds and supports us. Land, community, culture, and spirituality are intricately woven together. This interconnectedness is expressed and reinforced through our language, arts, ceremonies, songs, prayers, dances, customs, values, and daily practices – all of which have been developed over generations, over thousands and thousands of years of living on the land. Who you are as an Indigenous person arises from your connection to the land and to all others who share it. Your...

    • Profile of Jeannette C. Armstrong (1948–) Okanagan, Novelist, Teacher, and Activist
      (pp. 177-179)

      Jeannette Armstrong is an accomplished writer and an impassioned Indigenous rights activist who is concerned with land rights and democratic rights and improving the Aboriginal education system. Armstrong was deeply influenced by the powerful women within her family. She is the grandniece of Hum-Ishu-Ma (Mourning Dove, 1888– 1936), who is believed to be the first Native American woman novelist.¹

      Armstrong was born in 1948 on the Okanagan Indian Reserve near Penticton, British Columbia.² She was first published at the age of fifteen when one of her poems was printed in the local paper.³ She earned a Fine Arts diploma from...

    • Aboriginal Literatures: A Distinctive Genre within Canadian Literature
      (pp. 180-186)

      Central to the question whether Aboriginal literatures are a distinctive genre within Canadian literature is the basic issue of Aboriginal oral traditions’ relevance and potency. Those Aboriginal literatures, in their contemporary written form, must first be positioned as an evolution of oral traditions. Constituting far more than just daily spoken conversation, oral traditions encompass ancient artistic disciplines of the primary cultures within which they occur.

      Contrary to the predominant view, Aboriginal literatures are not ‘emergent’ Canadian literary voices arising as a result of Aboriginal peoples’ literacy in an official language and their introduction to Canadian literature. Aboriginal literatures, in written...

    • Profile of Tomson Highway (1951–) Cree, Playwright, and Artistic Director
      (pp. 187-190)

      As Canada’s pre-eminent Native playwright, Tomson Highway has fought to give voice to Aboriginal peoples’ plight through provocative and insightful plays while at the same time trying to ‘make the rez cool and celebrate what funky folk Canada’s Indian people really are.’¹

      Tomson Highway was born on 6 December 1951, on the Brocket Reserve in northern Manitoba. He was the eleventh of twelve children born to Joe and Pelagie Philomene Highway.² His father, a fisherman, struggled with the daunting task of providing for a family of fourteen, a difficult chore by any standard.

      Although members of his family excelled at...

    • Aboriginal Voices: Canada’s Aboriginal Peoples in Their Own Words
      (pp. 191-199)

      For almost six years from 1993 to 1999, it occupied magazine racks across this country. At first glance, it was virtually indistinguishable from its bright, shiny neighbours that touted fashion models and the latest gadgets.Aboriginal Voicesmagazine was different, though. By virtue of its content and the fact that it was the only one of its kind, it remains a milestone in Canadian culture.

      The brainchild of actor Gary Farmer,Aboriginal Voicessucceeded in giving Native people a voice, and a mass audience. It also gave that uninitiated mainstream audience a source of new information. By bringing the speakers...

    • Profile of Basil H. Johnston (1929–) Anishinabe (Ojibwa), Author, and Storyteller
      (pp. 200-202)

      Basil H. Johnston is a man of many stories. He has addressed audiences for more than three decades using either written or spoken narratives and is among the few individuals who can both write and speak the Ojibwa language. These abilities, along with his commitment to preserve Ojibwa culture, have placed him in the unique position of recording Anishinabe stories. Johnston came by his information the traditional way – by listening to his grandmother, Rosa McLeod, and other Anishinabe storytellers including John Angus, Sam Ozawamik, Frank Shawbadees, Alex McKay, Tom Medicine, Ron Wakegijig, William Meawassige, Joe Migwanabe, Jane Rivers, Maria Seymour,...

    • Laughing Till Your Face Is Red
      (pp. 203-209)

      It seems that some people have no sense of humour. I am tempted to say some ‘white people’ but that would be racist – though I’m told that it is politically impossible for a member of an oppressed minority to be racist against a dominant culture because of some socio-political reason ... but I digress.

      A year or two ago, a play of mine titledalterNATIVESwas produced in Vancouver. It was about cultural conflicts between Native people and non-Native people and the stereotypes each group held of the other, presented in a somewhat comedic manner. Or so I thought. A...

    • Profile of Emily Pauline Johnson (1861–1913) Mohawk, Author, and Performer
      (pp. 210-212)

      Emily Pauline Johnson is considered the ‘unofficial’Poet Laureateof Canada.¹ During the latter part of the nineteenth century, she captured readers’ imaginations with writings of Indigenous themes and traditional cultures. Her poetry recitals captivated sold-out audiences in Canada, England, and the United States² and she was the first Aboriginal woman to write ‘long works of prose.’³ Her writing is sometimes called ‘a printed museum’ that wove Indian customs and traditional stories together into a linguistic art.⁴

      This critically acclaimed poet was also known as Tekahionwake (Double Wampum). She was born on 10 March 1861 in Chiefswood, Ontario, to an...


    • Profile of Anna Mae Pictou Aquash (1945–76) Mi’kmaq, Aboriginal Rights Activist
      (pp. 215-217)

      In the early 1970s, during the heyday of ‘political activism and militancy,’¹ an advocate for Aboriginal rights emerged – Anna Mae Pictou Aquash – who was to continue to fight for the rights of her people until her death. As an Aboriginal rights activist, she struggled against the bitter injustices of racism and in so doing inspired Aboriginal people across Canada and the United States. To some, she became a ‘symbol of the movement for Indian rights.’²

      Anna Mae Pictou was born on 27 March 1945 to Mary Ellen Pictou and Francis Thomas Levi on a Mi’kmaq reserve near Shubenacadie, Nova Scotia.³...

    • Getting Tough on Crime the Aboriginal Way: Alternative Justice Initiatives in Canada
      (pp. 218-232)

      Few areas of Canadian government activity attract as much attention as the multiple institutions that administer the justice system, particularly those with criminal justice responsibility. Scarcely a day goes by without a sensational case – domestic abuse, workplace violence, youth crime – prompting calls for politicians to ‘get tougher on crime.’ The truth that many such crimes are isolated incidents, and do not represent a larger social trend, seems lost in the fray. The public outcry for more punitive, ‘tougher’ criminal measures continues unabated, based in a bedrock faith in the effectiveness of deterrence as a principle of criminal sentencing. This faith...

    • Illustrations
      (pp. None)
    • Profile of John Joseph (‘J.J.’) Harper (1952–88) Ojibwa-Cree, Chief, and Executive Director
      (pp. 233-235)

      John Joseph (J.J.) Harper was born into a large family with fifteen brothers and sisters. His early years were spent with his family fishing, hunting, and trapping at Wasagamack, one of four reserves with a combined population of about 5,000, known collectively as Island Lake, located four hundred kilometres northeast of Winnipeg.¹ This isolated community is accessible only by air for most of the year; however, land access is available in winter by an ice road.

      When Harper was four years old, an airplane arrived in the community to take local children to the Jack River Residential School at Norway...

    • Aboriginal Peoples and the Canadian Criminal Justice System
      (pp. 236-245)

      From Aboriginal politicians and judges to victims and offenders, the voices of Aboriginal peoples have profoundly reshaped the criminal justice landscape in Canada. This has happened largely because of concerns about the overrepresentation of Aboriginal people as offenders in the Canadian criminal justice and correctional systems, a reality first identified by the Hawthorne Commission of 1969. Since then, the overrepresentation issue has been the subject of many conferences, commissions, and inquiries. It has also been the starting point for most of the mainstream reforms in the criminal justice system as well as for Aboriginal community initiatives and selfgovernment discussions about...

    • Profile of Helen Betty Osborne (1952–71) Cree, Student
      (pp. 246-248)

      The Irish philosopher Edmund Burke once said, ‘The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.’¹ The circumstances surrounding the tragic death of Helen Betty Osborne bring the struggles between Aboriginal peoples and the Canadian judicial system to the forefront. This event, along with the death of J.J. Harper, served as a catalyst for Manitoba’s judicial system to examine its attitudes and practices towards Aboriginal peoples.

      The eldest of twelve children, Helen Betty Osborne was born to Justine and Joe Osborne on 16 July 1952, on the Norway House Indian Reserve in Manitoba.²...


    • Inuit Names: The People Who Love You
      (pp. 251-266)

      Names are the heart and soul of Inuit culture, and the richness of the Inuit naming system, which developed over hundreds of years and is one of the most intricate naming systems in the world, provides non-Inuit Canadians with a unique opportunity to better understand their own personal and cultural identities. Visitors to the north have long studied and observed, praised and criticized, confused and distorted, regulated and registered, revised and amended Inuit names. In the 1920s, missionaries introduced Christian names, which were added to people’s existing Inuktitut names. In the 1940s, the government brought in ‘disc numbers.’ Each Inuk...

    • Profile of John Kim Bell (1952–) Mohawk, Conductor, Composer, and Foundation President
      (pp. 267-269)

      As the first Aboriginal symphony conductor, John Kim Bell is a trailblazer. He was born in the Mohawk community of Kahnawake, Quebec, on 8 October 1952 to Carl Donald and Beth Isabelle (Hamilton) Bell.¹ As a child, Bell studied keyboard, violin, and saxophone.² He earned a bachelor of music on scholarship from Ohio State University in 1975 and attended the Academy of Music in Siena, Italy, where he obtained a performance certificate in 1981.³

      He began his career by conducting a New York City Broadway musical touring company in 1972, thus making him the youngest professional conductor in the United...

    • Aboriginal Peoples and Canada’s Conscience
      (pp. 270-291)

      When we say that Aboriginal peoples have contributed to Canadian society, we implicitly argue that there is a Canadian society to receive Aboriginal peoples’ gifts. The statement necessarily implies an exchange between two separate and distinct worlds: that there was a Canada before Aboriginal peoples encountered it, and that there would be a reasonably recognizable Canada had Aboriginal peoples never existed. It implies that the main story of Canada took place somewhere else, neither on Aboriginal land nor in conflict or cooperation with Aboriginal nations – somewhere in Europe, perhaps. Yet it is difficult to imagine how Canada can be understood...

    • Profile of Freda Ahenakew (1932–) Cree, Educator, Novelist, and Children’s Author
      (pp. 292-294)

      Language is essential for cultural maintenance and preservation and as a vehicle for transmitting cultural values. Many of Canada’s languages are threatened with extinction and concerted efforts must be made to conserve them. Fearing the disappearance of her culture, Freda Ahenakew has documented the Cree language and produced an indispensable collection of instructional and leisure books.

      Freda Ahenakew was born in 1932 on the Atâhkakohp First Nation in central Saskatchewan.¹ Her passion for the Cree language began at a young age when her grandfather, Edward Ahenakew, began teaching her Cree.² Although she enjoyed going to school, she left Marcelin High...

    • Hiding in ‘Plane’ View: Aboriginal Identities and a Fur-Trade Company Family through Seven Generations
      (pp. 295-308)

      In hisThe Empire of Nature(1988), John M. MacKenzie remarked that a ‘cultural characteristic may be rendered nebulous by its very ubiquity.’ Such is the case with hunting, an activity that, as MacKenzie shows, contributed to the spread of European imperialism and colonialism in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries and the strict control of Indigenous peoples. The newcomers steadily restricted Indigenous peoples’ use of animal resources as the nineteenth century progressed. Indigenous peoples were imprisoned for hunting for food, sometimes even when they had an Aboriginal or a treaty right. This is still the situation in Canada today. However,...

    • Profile of Douglas Joseph Henry Cardinal (1934–) Metis, Architect, and Author
      (pp. 309-311)

      Against the horizon of the prairies, his buildings, with the circle as the basis of their design, fit naturally into the landscape with an innovative artistry. The man behind these unique creations is Douglas Cardinal, a Metis architect who is recognized in fields ranging from educational philosophy and town planning to his pioneering work in the CADD (Computer Aided Drafting and Design) system of architecture. His buildings can be found across Canada in such communities as Hay River, Northwest Territories; La Ronge, Saskatchewan; Fort McMurray, Alberta; Grande Prairie, Alberta (Phase I of the Grande Prairie Regional College); and Red Deer,...

    • Aboriginal Peoples and the Canoe
      (pp. 312-328)

      Aboriginal peoples, the canoe, and the kayak are inextricably linked to an understanding of Canadian identities and cultures. In fact, the canoe has become one of the great Canadian icons, sharing pride of place with perhaps only the beaver, the skate, and the hockey stick – all emblematic of the ‘true North.’ More than just symbolic, the canoe and the kayak have also played a vital part in defining and developing the country. Even if often ‘hidden in plain sight,’ Aboriginal peoples are important in the iconography of the canoe, and in canoe travel and traditional canoe building – all of which...

  12. PART 7: SPORTS

    • Profile of Sharon Anne and Shirley Anne Firth (1953–) Loucheaux-Metis, Olympic Cross-Country Skiers
      (pp. 331-333)

      For more than two decades, twin sisters Sharon Anne and Shirley Anne Firth were among the top cross-country skiers in Canada. They represented their country in four consecutive Winter Olympics from 1972 to 1984 and their contributions to the sport are still felt today.

      The Firth twins were born New Year’s Eve, 1953, in Aklavik, Northwest Territories, to Fanny Rose and Stephen Firth.¹ They, along with their ten siblings, had a traditional upbringing and were taught to trap by their father and to track animals by their mother. Their childhood experiences prepared them for the hard work and dedication needed...

    • The Qimmiq
      (pp. 334-348)

      The Canadian Kennel Club (CKC) recognizes over 160 breeds of dogs.² Of these, the breed names typically suggest the animal’s country of origin and/or purpose. For example, we have the Australian Cattle Dog, the Irish Wolfhound, the German Shepherd, and the Old English Sheepdog. Of the scores of breeds recognized by the CKC, only one can claim to be truly indigenous to this country. Despite their names, the Labrador Retriever, the Newfoundland, and the Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever are essentially breeds of European derivation that, at some stage of their development as purebreds, became associated with specific regions of...

    • Profile of Alwyn Morris (1957–) Mohawk, Olympic Rower
      (pp. 349-351)

      World-class paddler Alwyn Morris put in a stellar performance at the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles, California, where he became the third North American Indian after Jim Thorpe and Billy Mills to win a gold medal.¹ The gold medal was a reward for the many years of training, determination, and perseverance that helped him keep a promise he made to his grandfather when he was eleven years old.

      Alwyn Morris, a Mohawk, was born in 1957 on the Kahnawake First Nations Reserve in Quebec.² At fourteen, he became interested in the Onake Paddling Club that operated on the Mohawk territory...

    • ‘Eminently Canadian’: Indigenous Sports and Canadian Identity in Victorian Montreal
      (pp. 352-375)

      In his account of the early history of the Montreal Amateur Athletics Association (MAAA), William Whyte clearly understood the contribution of Indigenous cultural activities such as lacrosse, snowshoeing, and tobogganing to the culture of the new Dominion of Canada. The enthusiasm with which immigrants from the British Isles adopted these activities and transformed them into organized sports might seem somewhat surprising in light of the cult-like appeal that cricket held for the British well into the twentieth century. Indeed, some historians argue that British sports were an important influence in the development of sport culture in Canada.² Nevertheless, the records...

    • Profile of Wayne (‘Gino’) Odjick (1970–) Algonquin, National Hockey League Player
      (pp. 376-378)

      A sports figure accredited with changing the face of hard-hitting hockey, Gino Odjick established himself as one of the liveliest and arresting bigleaguers when he began playing for the Vancouver Canucks in the National Hockey League (NHL) in 1990.¹ He proved that you can accomplish anything if you put your mind to it and follow your dreams.

      Wayne ‘Gino’ Odjick was born on 7 September 1970 in Maniwaki, Quebec. He is the middle child, and the only boy, born into a large family of five sisters and thirty-eight foster children.² He played hockey at an early age on his reserve...

    • Aboriginal Rodeo Cowboys: The Good Times and the Bad
      (pp. 379-399)

      The cowboy is a mythic figure, conjuring up romantic pastoral images of men riding their horses over dusty ranges, keeping watch over cattle quietly grazing on tall prairie grasses. Many wrongly believe that the original cowboys were exclusively of European descent. Although there were many cowboys of European descent, they were certainly not the first cattlemen, nor were they the only cowboys on the North American Plains during the famous cattle drives that followed the American Civil War.

      During the 1860s, the North American cowboy was African-American, mixed African-American-Native American, Native American or First Nation, Metis, Spanish/Mexican, Mexican-Native American, Irish,...

    • Profile of Thomas Charles Longboat (1887–1949) Onondaga, Olympic Long-Distance Runner
      (pp. 400-402)

      Tom Longboat achieved international fame as a long-distance runner during the early part of the twentieth century. Although he faced criticism as well as outright racism for his unorthodox running style, he persevered to become one of the greatest athletes in Canadian history.

      Thomas Charles Longboat was born on 4 July 1887 at Ohsweken on the Six Nations Reserve in Ontario. He was raised on a small farm by his mother after she was widowed when he was five years old.¹ At twelve, he was sent to residential school but ran away in less than a year. While in his...


    • Aboriginal Contributions to Canadian Culture and Identity in Wartime: English Canada’s Image of the ‘Indian’ and the Fall of France, 1940
      (pp. 405-418)

      When Canada declared war on Germany in September 1939, it had little existing military power to call on. As well, its economy had remained stagnant in the wake of the Great Depression. Yet, over the next six years, more than a million Canadian men and women would put on military uniforms. The economic potential of this vast country would be mobilized and realized in a total war effort. As they had during the Great War, Aboriginal peoples in all parts of Canada also took up the struggle against the tyranny and evil embodied by the Nazi regime and later against...

    • Profile of Thomas George Prince (1915–77) Ojibwa, Soldier
      (pp. 419-422)

      Thomas George Prince, and other Indian soldiers like him, served their country at a time when they were exempt from military service. If not for his persistence, Prince’s exemplary military service might have never happened. Originally, he was turned down by the Canadian military simply because he was an Indian.¹

      Prince was born to Harry and Elizabeth Prince in a canvas tent in Petersfield, Manitoba, in October 1915.² In 1920 his family moved to Scanterbury, Manitoba, on the Brokenhead Indian Reserve, about eighty kilometres north of Winnipeg. Prince’s military service spanned nine years beginning in June 1940 and continuing until...


    • Multiple Points of Light: Grounds for Optimism among First Nations in Canada
      (pp. 425-454)

      This chapter identifies positive developments for First Nations in Canada in the three decades since the federal government’s 1969 landmarkWhite Paperon Indian policy.¹ Our underlying purpose is to counter stereotypes and to offer encouragement about the state of affairs in Canadian First Nations communities for students, community practitioners, educators, and the public at large. We hope to offer an alternative vision to despair, pessimism, fatalistic resignation, ‘compassion fatigue,’ and the self-fulfilling prophecies that can arise from them. Our emphasis is squarely on positive developments for First Nations, although many of the points made are also applicable to the...

    • Profile of Larry Philip (‘Phil’) Fontaine (1944–) Anishinabe, Consultant, Political Leader
      (pp. 455-458)

      Throughout his political career, Larry Philip Fontaine has devoted himself to helping Aboriginal peoples reclaim their traditional culture and identity. He has bucked the pressure of social conformity to bring unpleasant views to public attention and make a difference for Aboriginal peoples in Canada.

      Larry Philip Fontaine was born to Jean Baptiste (J.B.) and Agnes Fontaine on 20 September 1944 on the Fort Alexander Reserve in Manitoba.¹ He is a member of the Sagkeeng Anishinabe Nation.² He began his education at a residential school operated by the Oblates of Mary Immaculate on the Fort Alexander Reserve.³ He later attended high...