Search for "residential schools"

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Wilton Littlechild

Jacob Wilton (Willie) Littlechild, CM, athlete, lawyer, Cree chief, politician, advocate for Indigenous rights (born 1 April 1944 in Hobbema, [now Maskwacîs] AB). Littlechild formed and coached Alberta’s first all-Indigenous junior hockey team and created the National Indian Athletic Association. He is a member of seven sports halls of fame. In 1976, Littlechild earned a law degree from the University of Alberta. He went on to become the first member of Parliament with Treaty Indian Status in Canada in 1988. Littlechild served as a commissioner of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in 2009. Throughout his career, Littlechild has promoted Indigenous rights both nationally and internationally.

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Sir Hector-Louis Langevin

Sir Hector-Louis Langevin, politician, lawyer, journalist (born 25 August 1826 in Québec City, Lower Canada; died 11 June 1906 in Québec City). Sir Hector-Louis Langevin played an important role in Confederation, defending the position of Québec and French-speaking Canadians at the Charlottetown and Québec Conferences of 1864, and again in London in 1866. He was a trusted administrator in Sir John A. Macdonald’s governments and an ardent federalist. Langevin was one of the original architects of the residential schools system, which was designed to assimilate Indigenous children into Euro-Canadian culture.

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Romeo Saganash

Romeo Saganash, lawyer, politician, advocate for Indigenous rights (born 28 October 1962 in Waswanipi, a Cree community southeast of James Bay in central Quebec). Saganash is Quebec’s first Indigenous Member of Parliament and the province’s first Cree person to receive an undergraduate law degree. He is believed to be the first Indigenous leader in Canada to run for the leadership of a major political party. For the last 20 years, Saganash has represented the Cree at numerous national and international forums concerning Indigenous issues. He spent 23 years helping to negotiate the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples — a resolution that provides a framework to implement treaty rights between First Peoples and Canada and to fulfill other obligations in international agreements. He has spent his life furthering the economic, environmental, legal and constitutional rights of Indigenous peoples in Canada, particularly the Cree in the James Bay region.

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Elijah Harper

Elijah Harper, Oji-Cree politician, consultant, policy analyst (born 3 March 1949 at Red Sucker Lake, MB; died 17 May 2013 in Ottawa, ON). Harper is best known for the role he played in scuttling the Meech Lake Accord, for which he was named the Canadian Press newsmaker of the year for 1990.

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Frank Calder

Frank Arthur Calder, OC, Nisga’a politician, chief, businessman (born 3 August 1915, Nass Harbour, BC; died 4 November 2006 in Victoria, BC). Frank Calder was the first Indigenous member of the BC legislature, elected in 1949. Calder is best known for his role in the Nisga’a Tribal Council’s Supreme Court case against the province of British Columbia (commonly known as the Calder case), which demonstrated that Aboriginal title (i.e., ownership) to traditional lands exists in modern Canadian law.

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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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Native People's Caravan

The Native People’s Caravan was a cross-country mobile protest that took place in 1974. Its main purpose was to raise awareness about the poor living conditions and discrimination experienced by Indigenous peoples in Canada. It travelled from Vancouver to Ottawa, where the subsequent occupation of a vacant warehouse on Victoria Island, near Parliament Hill, extended into 1975. The caravan brought various Indigenous groups together in protest of broken treaties, as well as a lack of government-supported education, housing and health care. As a result, meetings between Cabinet ministers and Indigenous leaders became more frequent. The protest is remembered as an important turning point in Indigenous activism in Canada.

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Stephen Harper

Stephen Joseph Harper, CCPCprime minister of Canada 2006–15, politician, author, economist (born 30 April 1959 in Toronto, ON). Stephen Harper is Canada’s longest-serving Conservative prime minister since Sir John A. Macdonald. He helped found the Reform Party and served as head of the National Citizens Coalition and leader of the Canadian Alliance Party. He then transformed the country’s political landscape by uniting the previously divided right into the Conservative Party of Canada. He led the CPC to three consecutive election wins before being defeated in 2015 and resigning as party leader. Harper’s adherence to a brand of ideologically pure conservatism resulted in what the Globe and Mail called “Canada’s first ever truly Conservative government.” He was made a Companion of the Order of Canada in December 2019.

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John Duncan MacLean

John Duncan MacLean, politician, premier of BC 1927-28 (b at Culloden, PEI 8 Dec 1873; d at Ottawa 28 Mar 1948). He taught in prairie schools and in BC, and became a principal in Rossland, BC, before going to McGill.

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Abraham Okpik

​Abraham “Abe” Okpik, OC, Inuit community leader (born 12 January 1929 in the Mackenzie Delta area, Northwest Territories; died 10 July 1997 in Iqaluit, Nunavut).

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Jim Prentice

​Jim Prentice, 16th Premier of Alberta and leader of the Progressive Conservative Party of Alberta (2014–15), Federal Cabinet minister (2006–10), lawyer (born 20 July 1956 in South Porcupine, ON; died 13 October 2016 near ​Kelowna, ​BC).

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Pierre Poilievre

Pierre Poilievre, politician, Member of Parliament 2004–present, Cabinet minister, leader of the official opposition 2022–present (born 3 June 1979 in Calgary, AB). Pierre Poilievre has been the Member of Parliament (MP) for the Ottawa riding of Carleton (formerly Nepean-Carleton) since 2004. After serving as the youngest MP in Parliament, Poilievre became a cabinet minister in the government of Prime Minister Stephen Harper. Long known as a pugnacious partisan, Poilievre has been a fierce critic of the government of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. Poilievre became the leader of the Conservative Party and of the Official Opposition in September 2022.

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John Rolph

John Rolph, barrister, physician, politician, educator (b at Thornbury, Eng 4 Mar 1793; d at Mitchell, Ont 19 Oct 1870). Educated in England, he practised law and medicine in Upper Canada from 1821, operating medical schools in 1824-25 in St Thomas and from 1832 in York [Toronto].

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James Mitchell

James Mitchell, lawyer, politician, premier of New Brunswick (b at Scotch Settlement, York County, NB 16 Mar 1843; d at St Stephen, NB 15 Dec 1897). Mitchell was a prominent lawyer in St Stephen and during the early years of his career was also inspector of schools for Charlotte County.

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Jack Layton

John Gilbert "Jack" Layton, educator, municipal and federal politician, New Democratic Party leader (born at Montréal, 18 Jul 1950; died at Toronto 22 Aug 2011). Jack Layton, leader of the federal New Democratic Party from 2003-2011, headed the first NDP party to sit as Canada's Official Opposition in the House of Commons. Layton's career revealed a strong dose of social activism spanning issues ranging from the white ribbon campaign (seeking to stop violence by men against women), to environmental climate change (championing Toronto's first urban wind turbine and supporting the Kyoto Accord), to homelessness and the need for affordable housing, to fostering an AIDS urban strategy, to participating in anti-free-trade protests.

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Jack Cable

Ivan John (Jack) Cable, lawyer, politician, Commissioner of the YUKON (b at Hamilton, Ont, 17 Aug 1934).

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Jesse Ketchum

In politics Ketchum opposed the FAMILY COMPACT, and helped organize numerous Reform committees and associations. He held office once - from 1828 to 1834 he was in the House of Assembly. He did not participate in the REBELLIONS OF 1837 but following its collapse moved his business to Buffalo.

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D'Alton McCarthy

D'Alton McCarthy, lawyer, politician (b near Dublin, Ire 10 Oct 1836; d at Toronto 11 May 1898). He came to Canada with his parents in 1847, and was educated in Barrie, Canada West. He was called to the Bar of Upper Canada in 1858, and was elected to Parliament as a Conservative 1876.