059_G18_Canada

Global_18

In Focus Canada 1800s Immigration escalates as newcomers arrive from England, Ireland and Scotland 1867 The British North America Act brings Ontario, Quebec, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick together to form the Dominion of Canada 1995 The referendum on the independence of Quebec is rejected by a one per cent margin 1982 Canada is granted complete legal freedom from the UK. It adopts a new constitution – three groups are recognised in the Charter of Rights as having “existing Aboriginal and treaty rights” to the level of bacteria in the water, which is harmful for swimmers. In 1989 Walpole Island opened its Heritage Centre, which aims to preserve, interpret and promote the natural and cultural heritage of the island. The centre offers environmental audits and protection, traditional ecological knowledge and wildlife management. The workers’ dedication to blending scientifi c data with aboriginal knowledge is renowned and many other First Nation communities are looking at their own environments and how they can be preserved for future generations. Walpole Island is a thriving community with Chief Joseph Gilbert and the band council making new and welcome changes, including introducing a water treatment plant, library, elementary school, 1999 Formation of the Territory of Nunavut in the northwest, the fi rst territory in Canada to have a majority indigenous population 2004 Financial scandal over misappropriated government money prompts an enquiry 2010 Toronto hosts the Winter Olympics. An Islamic extremist group member is jailed for life for a plot to bomb the Toronto stock exchange community centre and ice rink, bank, petrol station, fi re department and much more. Every summer the residents of the island hold their annual powwow, which is a two or three day celebration with drumming, singing, dancing and feasting. Many native craftspeople and artisans come to the festival to sell their wares and to trade. Native people have been trading with other tribes for thousands of years, so it’s a long tradition among our people. The fi rst day of the powwow sees a greeting by an elder who will give thanks to the Creator for the blessed day. In honour of the Creator, a sacred fi re is lit and remains lit throughout the of powwow, thanks to the fi rekeeper, whose main job is to keep the fi re lit, rain or shine. When it’s time for the dancers to enter the 2011 Canada is fi rst country to withdraw from the Kyoto Protocol on reducing emissions of greenhouse gasses sacred circle, the elders always enter fi rst, followed by the veterans and then the dignitaries – this proceeding is called Grand Entry. It takes a great deal of people to put together a powwow and at the end of the celebrations, a giveaway is thrown to thank them. As history has shown, First Nations people are a resilient bunch. Cultural identity is of the utmost importance to aboriginal people, along with preserving our knowledge. We will always be keepers of the land and defend Mother Earth. Emilie Corbiere is an aboriginal craftswoman, journalist, author and storyteller. She is best known for her children’s books series Porcupine and Friends, which introduces the Ojibwe language to English speakers global second quar ter 2014 www.global -br ief ing.org l 59


Global_18
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