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Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory

The Mohawks of the Bay of Quinte are part of the Kanyen’kehá:ka or Mohawk Nation. Kanyen’kehá:ka means “People of the Land of Flint.” The Mohawk Nation is in turn part of the Rotinonhsyón:ni (Haudenosaunee or Six Nations Confederacy), which translates in English to “People of the Longhouse.”

There are over 10,000 members of the Mohawks of the Bay of Quinte living on Turtle Island and beyond. About 2,200 of these members live on Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory. The Territory is located on the northeastern shore of the Bay of Quinte, just east of Belleville, Ontario.

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Tlicho (Dogrib)

Tlicho (Tłı̨chǫ), also known as Dogrib, are an Indigenous people in Canada. They fall within the broader designation of Dene, who are Indigenous peoples of the widespread Athapaskan (or Athabascan) language family. Their name for themselves is Doné, meaning "the People." To distinguish themselves from their Dene neighbours, including the DenesulineSlaveySahtu Got'ine and K'asho Got'ine, they have come to identify themselves as Tlicho, a Cree word meaning “dog's rib,” referring to a creation story. In 2005, the Tlicho Agreement, which saw the Tlicho gain control of 39,000 km2 of their traditional lands, became the first combined self-government agreement and comprehensive land claim in the Northwest Territories. According to the Northwest Territories Bureau of Statistics (2019), the population of the Tlicho region of the territory was 2,983.

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Josephine Mandamin

Josephine Henrietta Mandamin, Anishinaabe elder, water-rights advocate, Anishinabek Nation Chief Water Commissioner (born 21 February 1942 in Wiikwemikoong Unceded Territory, Manitoulin Island, ON; died 22 February 2019). Mandamin, known as “Grandmother Water Walker” and Biidaasige-ba (“the one who comes with the light”), was a world-renowned water-rights activist. She walked around the Great Lakes from 2003 to 2017 to bring awareness to the problems of water pollution and environmental degradation on the Great Lakes and on Indigenous reserves in Canada. For her activism, Mandamin was awarded the Anishinabek Lifetime Achievement Award (2012) and the Governor General’s Meritorious Service Cross (2018). Her great-niece, Autumn Peltier, followed in Mandamin’s footsteps, becoming the next generation’s “water warrior.”

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Eden Robinson

Eden Robinson, Haisla writer (born 19 January 1968 in Kitimaat, BC). A well-known Indigenous writer, Eden Robinson has won national and international acclaim for her dark, gothic fiction. Robinson counts Stephen King and Edgar Allan Poe among her literary influences.

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Nellie J. Cournoyea

Nellie J. Cournoyea, OC, politician, premier of the Northwest Territories 1991–95 (born on 4 March 1940 in Aklavik, NT). Cournoyea is the first Indigenous woman to lead a provincial or territorial government in Canada.

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Ditidaht

Ditidaht (meaning “people along the way” or “people along the coast” in their language) is a Nuu-chah-nulth nation residing on the west coast of Vancouver Island. At present, the main permanently occupied Ditidaht village is situated in Malachan, a settlement that lies at the head of Nitinat Lake. As of October 2021, the federal government counts 775 registered members of the Ditidaht nation.

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Kyuquot and Checleseht First Nations

The Kyuquot (Ka:’yu:’k’t’h’) and Checleseht (Chek’tles7et’h’) First Nations make up the northernmost Nuu-chah-nulth communities on the west coast of Vancouver Island, British Columbia. Once separate bands, the Kyuquot and Checleseht officially amalgamated in 1962. Both are currently self-governing nations under the Maa-nulth Treaty.

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Hesquiaht

The Hesquiaht are Indigenous people residing on the west coast of Vancouver Island. “Hesquiaht” is an English version of the Nuu-chah-nulth word, heish-heish-a, which means, “to tear asunder with the teeth.” This refers to the technique of stripping herring spawn away from eel grass, which grew near Hesquiaht territory. Part of the Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council, the Hesquiaht number 756 registered members, as of 2021.

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Red Dress Day

Red Dress Day, also known as the National Day of Awareness for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls and Two-Spirit People, is observed on May 5th. The day honours and brings awareness to the thousands of Indigenous women, girls and two-spirit people who have been subject to disproportionate violence in Canada. Red Dress Day was inspired by Métis artist Jaime Black’s REDress Project installation, in which she hung empty, red dresses to represent the missing and murdered women. Red dresses have become symbolic of the crisis as a result of her installation.

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Inuit

Inuit — Inuktitut for “the people” — are an Indigenous people, the majority of whom inhabit the northern regions of Canada. An Inuit person is known as an Inuk. The Inuit homeland is known as Inuit Nunangat, which refers to the land, water and ice contained in the Arctic region.

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Maisie Hurley

Maisie Hurley, née Maisie Amy Campbell-Johnston, Vancouver-area political activist, Indigenous ally (see Indigenous Peoples in Canada), newspaper founder and art collector (born 27 November 1887 in Swansea, Wales; died 3 October 1964 in North Vancouver, British Columbia). Although Hurley had no formal legal training or law degree (see Legal Education), she worked on several legal cases and advocated for Indigenous peoples’ basic human rights as well as for changes to the Indian Act. In 1946, Hurley started a newspaper called The Native Voice that aimed to bring attention to important issues concerning Indigenous communities across Canada (see Rights of Indigenous Peoples in Canada). In 2011, Hurley’s collection of Indigenous art was displayed at the North Vancouver Museum.

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Indigenous Women's Issues in Canada

First Nations, Métis and Inuit women (collectively referred to as Indigenous women) face many socio-economic issues today because of the effects of colonization. Europeans forced a male-controlled system of government and society (known as patriarchy) on Indigenous societies. The 1876 Indian Act disadvantaged certain Indigenous women by excluding them from band council government and enforcing discriminatory measures that took away Indian Status rights. Many Indigenous women today are leading the way in the area of healing the wounds of colonization, as they grapple with the issues of residential schools, missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls, abuse and violence, and drug, alcohol and other addictions. (See also Indigenous Feminisms in Canada.)

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Joseph Francis Dion

Joseph Francis Dion, Métis leader, political organizer, and teacher (born 2 July 1888 near Onion Lake, SK; died 21 December 1960 in Bonnyville, AB). Dion was central to the shaping of modern Indigenous political organizations on the Prairies. He became a farmer (1903) and teacher on the Kehewin reserve (1916-40). In the 1930s he worked with Jim Brady and  Malcolm Norris  to found what is now the Métis Nation of Alberta (1932; president, 1932-58) and the Indian Association of Alberta (1939). Serving in the executives of First Nations, Métis and Roman Catholic Church organizations, he travelled, lectured, recorded living traditions (published as  My Tribe the Crees, 1979) and managed a Métis dance troupe. A relatively conservative reformer, Dion promoted the idea of Indigenous self-help through local agricultural development and the preservation of traditional culture.

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Alex Janvier

Alex Simeon Janvier, CM, painter (born 28 Feb 1935 on Le Goff reserve, Cold Lake First Nations, near Bonnyville, AB). Recipient of the Governor General's Award for Visual and Media Arts, and a Member of the Order of Canada, Alex Janvier is often referred to as the first Indigenous modernist artist in Canada. Janvier is also one of the founding members of Professional Native Indian Artists Inc., also known as the Indian Group of Seven. His work is in major museum collections throughout Canada, including the National Gallery of Canada, Canadian Museum of History, Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, and Winnipeg Art Gallery. (See also Contemporary Indigenous Art in Canada.)

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Indigenous Peoples

Indigenous Peoples are the original inhabitants of the land that is now Canada. Inuit and First Nations history extends well before the arrival of Europeans in Canada, while Métis emerged as a distinct culture after intermarriage between European settlers and First Nations people. Indigenous people were essential to the development of early Canada, but suffered massive population declines due to the arrival of European disease. In addition, though they were often military allies, they faced persecution at the hands of colonial governments in the form of displacement, starvation, land seizure and cultural genocide through residential schools and destructive legislation. Indigenous people live throughout Canada and continue to strive to reinvigorate traditional culture and ways of life.

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Tla-o-qui-aht (Clayoquot)

The Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation (meaning the “people from Clayoqua” or the people from “Tla-o-qui”) are a member of the Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council. Tla-o-qui-aht territory is located on the west coast of Vancouver Island, British Columbia. As of September 2018, the nation has a registered population of 1,147 registered members.

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Toquaht

The Toquaht (“people of the narrow beach”) are a Nuu-chah-nulth nation residing in western Barkley Sound, near the town of Ucluelet, on the west coast of Vancouver Island, British Columbia. Toquaht First Nation is currently self-governing under the Maa-nulth treaty.

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Midewiwin

Midewiwin, or Grand Medicine Society, is a spiritual society found historically among the Algonquian of the Upper Great Lakes (Anishinaabe), northern prairies and eastern subarctic. Once widespread, the Midewiwin became less prevalent after the arrival of Europeans in the 18th and 19th centuries. Today, the largest Midewiwin societies are found in parts of Ontario, Manitoba, Wisconsin and Minnesota.

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Ktunaxa (Kootenay)

The Ktunaxa (Kootenay) are an Indigenous people who traditionally occupied territories in southeastern British Columbia, as well as in parts of Alberta, Idaho, Montana and Washington. The term “Kootenay” may be an anglicized form of an old Ktunaxa word. In the 2016 census, 935 people identified as having Ktunaxa ancestry.

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Armand Frappier

Armand Frappier, CC, physician, microbiologist (born 26 November 1904 in Salaberry-de-Valleyfield, QC; died 17 December 1991 in Montréal, QC). Armand Frappier was a key figure in the fight against tuberculosis in Canada; he both produced the BCG (bacillus Calmette-Guérin) vaccine and advocated widespread vaccinations across the country. As founder and director of the Institut de microbiologie et d'hygiène de Montréal, he advanced medical research into infectious diseases and played an important role in the development of public health. (See also INRS-Armand-Frappier Santé Biotechnologie Research Centre.) He and his team produced a number of vaccines and other biological products (e.g., the anti-polio Salk vaccine, penicillin) and were responsible for freeze-drying blood serum for the armed forces during the Second World War. (See also Canada and the Development of the Polio Vaccine).