A Black Woman Who Defied Segregation in Canada Will Appear on Its Currency

Posted in Articles, Canada, Economics, History, Media Archive, Women on 2018-03-13 18:33Z by Steven

A Black Woman Who Defied Segregation in Canada Will Appear on Its Currency

The New York Times

Ian Austen

Canada’s finance minister, Bill Morneau, right, with Wanda Robson in Gatineau, Quebec, last year, after an image of her sister Viola Desmond was chosen to be featured on a new $10 bank note.
Chris Wattie/Reuters

OTTAWA — Nine years before Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat on a Jim Crow-era bus in Montgomery, Ala., Viola Desmond tried to sit in a whites-only section of a movie theater in New Glasgow, Nova Scotia.

Ms. Desmond, a businesswoman who had her own line of cosmetics and who died in 1965, was prosecuted for trying to defraud the provincial government of 1 cent — the difference in sales tax for a seat in the balcony, where blacks were expected to sit and the whites-only ground floor ticket price. While she offered to pay the tax, she was convicted and fined 26 Canadian dollars, including court costs, at a trial at which the theater owner acted as the prosecutor and she was without a lawyer.

Now she is about to become the first black person — and the first woman other than a British royal — to appear alone on Canadian currency. The new series of $10 bills is to be released this year…

A conceptual image of the front of the new Canadian bank note featuring a portrait of Viola Desmond.
Bank of Canada

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New $10 bill starring Nova Scotian will debut in Halifax next week

Posted in Articles, Biography, Canada, Economics, History, Media Archive, Women on 2018-03-06 04:06Z by Steven

New $10 bill starring Nova Scotian will debut in Halifax next week

CBC News
Nova Scotia

Wanda Robson, the sister of Viola Desmond, smiles as it is announced during a ceremony in 2016 that her sister will be featured on Canadian currency. (Canadian Press)

Viola Desmond’s banknote will be unveiled at Halifax Central Library on Thursday

Canadians will get their first peek at the new $10 bill featuring civil rights pioneer Viola Desmond at an event in Halifax next week.

The banknote will be unveiled Thursday at the Halifax Central Library by federal Finance Minister Bill Morneau and Bank of Canada governor Stephen Poloz

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Viola Desmond, the new face of the $10 bill, ‘represents courage’

Posted in Articles, Biography, Canada, Economics, History, Media Archive, Social Justice, Women on 2018-03-06 03:51Z by Steven

Viola Desmond, the new face of the $10 bill, ‘represents courage’

The Globe and Mail

Laura Stone

Viola Desmond, shown in this undated handout image provided by Communications Nova Scotia, often described as Canada’s Rosa Parks for her 1946 decision to sit in a whites-only section of a Nova Scotia movie theatre, will be the first woman to be celebrated on the face of a Canadian banknote.

Viola Desmond just wanted to watch a movie.

The year was 1946 and the movie was The Dark Mirror, a psychological thriller starring Olivia de Havilland. Ms. Desmond, a beauty-school owner from Halifax, was temporarily stranded in New Glasgow, N.S., after some car trouble. She hadn’t been to the movies in years, probably not since Gone with the Wind came out in 1939.

So, she walked to a nearby theatre, bought a ticket and sat in the front – a better view for the petite woman with poor eyesight.

There was only one problem: She was black…

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For Multiracial Women, Hair Is a Political Statement

Posted in Articles, Autobiography, Canada, Media Archive, Women on 2018-02-27 01:27Z by Steven

For Multiracial Women, Hair Is a Political Statement

The Link
Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Volume 38, Issue 5 (2018-02-06)

Aysha White & Marissa Ramnanan

On the left is Marissa, on the right, Aysha. Photo Elisa Barbier

Two Women of Colour Talk About the Racialization of Their Hair

I have a weird ethnic first name (Aysha) and she has a weird ethnic last one (Ramnanan).

We are both mixed race, meaning we won’t find ourselves represented in mainstream media. In mostly white environments, such as universities, we become uncomfortably aware of how different we look from people belonging to a single race.

I gravitated towards Marissa, guessing she was also mixed because of her very curly hair…

Read the entire article here.

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Who Can Call Themselves Métis?

Posted in Anthropology, Articles, Canada, Census/Demographics, Media Archive, Native Americans/First Nation on 2018-01-03 04:36Z by Steven

Who Can Call Themselves Métis?

The Walrus

Chris Andersen, Dean of the Faculty of Native Studies
University of Alberta

iStock / selimaksan

With the latest census surge in the Métis population, it’s time to start talking about how we define the term

The Métis are an Indigenous people that originated in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth century on the northern plains of what is now southern Manitoba. Centred historically in and around Red River (now Winnipeg) and intimately tied to the buffalo-hunting economy, the Métis became a powerful force by the middle of the nineteenth century, pushing back against the Hudson’s Bay Company’s claims to economic monopoly and later leading two armed resistances against the Canadian state. Despite this powerful historic presence and the fact that the 1982 Constitution Act enumerated the Métis, along with First Nations and Inuit, as one of three Aboriginal peoples in Canada, the term has, in recent years, largely fallen into racialized disrepute.

Today, many people understand “Métis” not as an Indigenous nation but as denoting people with a mixture of Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal ancestry. The Government of Canada has used the term in this manner in multiple policy contexts. Inconsistent usage of Métis has produced confusing and even contradictory results in the heart of some of Canada’s most powerful institutions, including the census. This has exacerbated an already-confusing state of affairs in the minds of the general public and many policy actors about who the Métis people are and the kinds of relationships with government to which we aspire…

Read the entire article here.

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Soma Text: Living, Writing, and Staging Racial Hybridity

Posted in Books, Canada, Forthcoming Media, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Monographs on 2017-12-20 19:06Z by Steven

Soma Text: Living, Writing, and Staging Racial Hybridity

Wilfrid Laurier University Press
June 2018
295 pages
ISBN13: 978-1-77112-240-5

Michelle La Flamme, Professor of English
University of the Fraser Valley, Abbotsford, British Columbia, Canada

Canada’s history is bicultural, Indigenous, and multilingual, and these characteristics have given risen to a number of strategies used by our writers to code racially mixed characters. This book examines contemporary Canadian literature and drama in order to tease out some of those strategies and the social and cultural factors that inform them.

Racially hybrid characters in literature have served a matrix of needs. They are used as shorthand for interracial desire, signifiers of taboo love, images of impurity, symbols of degeneration, and examples of beauty and genetic perfection. Their fates have been used to suggest the futility of marrying across racial lines, or the revelation of their “one drop” signals a climactic downfall. Other narratives suggest mixed-race bodies are foundational to colonization and signify contact between colonial and Indigenous bodies.

Author Michelle LaFlamme approaches racial hybridity with a cross-generic and cross-racial approach, unusual in the field of hybridity studies, by analyzing characters with different racial mixes in autobiographies, fiction, and drama. Her analysis privileges literary texts and the voices of artists rather than sociological explanations of the mixed-race experience. The book suggests that the hyper-visualization of mixed-race bodies in mono-racial contexts creates a scopophilic interest in how those bodies look and perform race.

La Flamme’s term “soma text” draws attention to the constructed, performative aspects of this form of embodiment. The writers she examines witness that living in a racially hybrid and ambiguous body is a complex engagement that involves reading and decoding the body in sophisticated ways, involving both the multiracial body and the racialized gaze of the onlooker.

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Who gets to be Metis? As more people self-identify, critics call out opportunists

Posted in Articles, Canada, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, Native Americans/First Nation on 2017-11-24 22:38Z by Steven

Who gets to be Metis? As more people self-identify, critics call out opportunists

National Post

Graeme Hamilton

Robin Robichaud shows his t-shirt after a meeting for the Wobtegwa aboriginal community, a new Metis group.
Christinne Muschi /National Post

The arrival of new players is stirring up tension with established Métis groups and raising concern among First Nations leaders

SHERBROOKE, Que. – The scent of burning sage lingers in the air as drummers begin a song of welcome. They are traditions dating back centuries, but on this Sunday afternoon the ceremony opens a gathering of one of the country’s youngest Aboriginal groups — the two-year-old Wobtegwa Métis clan.

The meeting, held in a high school auditorium, has brought together members from a corner of Quebec stretching northeast from Montreal past Quebec City and south to the United States border. Some of those present have long known of their Indigenous roots; for others the discovery has come recently. But they have all come together to push for government recognition of their rights.

“This clan is sovereign on its territory,” Yves Cordeau, band chief for the Lac-Mégantic region informs the group.

If the claim comes as news to many in Quebec, it’s because the province’s Métis awakening is recent. Raynald Robichaud, the Wobtegwa’s clan chief, says even members of his own family discouraged him from returning to his Aboriginal roots. “We knew we had a great-grandmother who was aboriginal, but our family absolutely did not want to talk about it, because they were afraid,” he says. “For us now, the fear is gone, and people are coming back.”…

…Checking a box on a census or connecting to family heritage is one thing. But as groups like the Wobtegwa lay claim to special services and territorial rights — in some cases, the same land as other Aboriginal groups — a backlash to the influx of new Métis is emerging. Some critics question the motivation of those who “become” Métis, and the impact of their activism on more established groups. Others question the right to self-identify at all…

…Leroux, Gaudry and organizations representing western Métis maintain that mixed ancestry alone does not make one Métis. True Métis — as recognized by the Constitution as one of Canada’s three aboriginal groups — must have roots in Manitoba’s historic Red River settlement, they say. That can include Métis all the way west to British Columbia and into Ontario, but not as far east as Quebec and the Maritimes

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Canada’s Métis population on the rise: why some Métis leaders find this ‘very concerning’

Posted in Articles, Audio, Canada, Census/Demographics, Media Archive, New Media on 2017-11-15 17:27Z by Steven

Canada’s Métis population on the rise: why some Métis leaders find this ‘very concerning’

The Current With Anna Maria Tremonti
CBC Radio

Ana Maria Tremonti, Host

David Chartrand, president of the Manitoba Metis Federation, says there are far fewer Métis than reported by Statistics Canada. (Sean Kilpatrick/Canadian Press)

New data released in October by Statistics Canada reveals a surprising spike in Canadians identifying as Métis.

The 2016 census shows exponential growth, especially in the eastern part of the country.

In Quebec, over the last decade the number of people identifying themselves as Métis is up 149 per cent. In Nova Scotia, it’s up 124 per cent.

But for some Métis leaders, this isn’t necessarily a good news story.

“It was very concerning for us to see such a change in the identifying of where the Métis are and who they are,” said Dave Chartrand, president of the Manitoba Métis Federation

Read the entire article here. Listen to the story here. Read the story transcript here.

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Identity, racial acceptance explored in ​Waterloo region’s OBOC 2017 pick

Posted in Autobiography, Canada, Media Archive, Passing on 2017-09-29 03:31Z by Steven

Identity, racial acceptance explored in ​Waterloo region’s OBOC 2017 pick

CBC News

Veteran author Wayne Grady is best known for his compelling writing on science, nature and natural history. Now, his first foray in to fiction, Emancipation Day, has become the One Book One Community selection for Waterloo region for 2017. (Don Denton)

Emancipation Day based on story of Grady’s father who kept black heritage secret for 50 years

Author Wayne Grady spent the first 50 years of his life thinking he was white.

It wasn’t until he began digging through the archives in Windsor, Ont., that he discovered the truth about his father’s heritage. His great-grandfather wasn’t Irish. He was African-American.

“I felt like the rug had been pulled out from under my feet,” Grady told The Morning Edition host Craig Norris.

Working through that revelation is what inspired his first foray into fiction, Emancipation Day; the One Book One Community pick for Waterloo region for 2017.

“That’s kind of why I started working on the novel, to figure out – for myself – how it changed me or how it affected me. And I eventually realized it didn’t really change me at all. I’m still the same person I was before,” he said.

“I think I’ve pretty much decided that it doesn’t mean anything, except what society says it means.”…

Read the entire article here

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Emancipation Day: A Novel

Posted in Books, Canada, Media Archive, Novels, Passing on 2017-09-29 03:22Z by Steven

Emancipation Day: A Novel

Doubleday Canada
336 pages
6.3 x 0.9 x 9 inches
Paperback ISBN-13: 978-0385677660

Wayne Grady

How far would a son go to belong? And how far would a father go to protect him?

With his curly black hair and his wicked grin, everyone swoons and thinks of Frank Sinatra when Navy musician Jackson Lewis takes the stage. It’s World War II, and while stationed in St. John’s, Newfoundland, Jack meets the well-heeled Vivian Clift, a local girl who has never stepped off the Rock and longs to see the world. They marry against Vivian’s family’s wishes–there’s something about Jack that they just don’t like–and as the war draws to a close, the couple travels to Windsor to meet Jack’s family.

But when Vivian meets Jack’s mother and brother, everything she thought she knew about her husband gets called into question. They don’t live in the dream home Jack depicted, they all look different from one another–different from anyone Vivian has ever seen–and after weeks of waiting to meet Jack’s father, he never materializes.

Steeped in jazz and big-band music, spanning pre- and post-war Windsor-Detroit, St. John’s, Newfoundland, and 1950s Toronto, this is an arresting, heartwrenching novel about fathers and sons, love and sacrifice, race relations and a time in our history when the world was on the cusp of momentous change.

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