1. Both authors discuss the construction of national identities. How is Canada’s national identity made? How has Canada’s national identity changed since the late 1800s?
Nation building has strong ties with mythology and subsequently the culture, because it’s the mythology which contributes to culture. The government report of 1992 about Canadian identity says there were two constitutional documents that served as “cornerstone of initial Canadian life”.
The early nationalism in the Canada was the belief that Canada was Britain of the north, has a unique and distinct character geographically and its heritage northern races. The Canada first movement had a remarkable role in building Canada’s national identity and as territorial identities began to formalize, cultural and geographical boundaries began to harden.
In 1867, the unification of three separate North American provinces led to the formation of Canada. The problem with the making of national identity was that right from the formation of Canada, the local and provincial loyalties and interests threatened the national unification process which is most essential need for the sustenance of a nation. Many Canadians that time didn’t share any national identity. Culture has always proved to be an identifier of a territory. It’s the culture or group of similarities that makes people bind together in the form of a territory, a nation in this case, thus soon after confederation formation, paintings and literature started to be produced while at the same time the Reil rebellion in 1880s which has shook the efforts of unification and at the same time the threat of continentalism was also active as Canada did an agreement with the US and a merger of Canada in US was seen by many. Then the supporters of Canada brought out the ideas, sentiments and literature of Canada first movement.
3. According to Mackey (2002), how have representations of Indigenous people been used to help depict Canada as a just and tolerant nation?
According to the author (p. 39), aboriginal people also represent Canada’s culture and heritage, providing a link between settlers and land and helped settlers making Canada as their native land. Although the presence of aboriginal people is limited in Canada’s nationalist narrative, but they were strong actors in supporting the settlers’ progress which represent that the indigenous people of Canada were just and tolerant of outsiders and settlers. Native people have played important role in defining the identity of Canada
The royal proclamation of 1763 announced that Canadian aboriginal people would be considered as autonomous and self governing only when the britishers when the aboriginals started rebelling against the great influx of the Americans after the revolution of 1773. The government through the Indian act was promoting a form of cultural genocide on the native people. The act was presented as to civilize the native people by assimilating them into the dominant life, they have collected their artifacts and fancied them with the aim of earning money and on the other hand they were discouraging the aboriginal culture by banning aboriginals from promoting, exercising or celebrating their culture. Native people allowed marriages between them and the white people in a so called drive to civilize them through white culture .Initially it was had been said that the aboriginals could be civilized and developed and that they will abandon their culture and be part of a dominant society, but soon it was aid they cannot be civilized and will perish in the natural march of progress.
5. According to both Mackey (2002) and Poulter (2005), what role(s) has “wilderness” played in Canadian national identity? (This is an important question that will be explored in greater detail later in the course).?
Between the confederation of Canada and the World War 1, Canada was being transformed from a frontier country to an industrial nation, the phenomenon of progress and civilization was now re started to represent the nationhood. At the same time, northern wilderness came to represent the national identity, particularly in the painting of group of seven. Northern wilderness and the cold climate of Canada were constant in public representation and myths and northern wilderness was considered to be “only sure token of collective identity” (House of difference, p.40), although the values attributed to them varied differently over time.
The wilderness in the group of seven represented origin of the modern art of Canada, and has been revered as a nationhood symbol today. It was the work of these artists which contributed most to the development of national identity with a characteristic sense of place. These artists depicted in their work wild and unpeopled landscapes, rugged and rocky terrain which became the symbol of nationalism. The symbolism of wilderness is such that pine trees when called group of seven trees feels being truly in Canada. Like the Canada first movement, group of seven used saw the north as an expression, mirror and the root of the Canadian character, which is evident in the writings of Lawren Harris, one of the groups’ members. Climate and geography were equally necessary to depict the identity of Canada, same like the idea of India which was identified by Chanakya (the Indian philosopher) as territory south of Himalayas up till the Indian Ocean which made the idea of India despite having numerous diversity in culture itself.
8. According to Poulter’s chapter (2005), what role do various Indigenous knowledges, technologies, and cultural practices (in the form of sports) play in shaping Canadian identities?
Mythology, from where culture originates has always and is the strongest tool to differentiae once identity from others, be it making a national identity. The first nations, the Inuit’s, the Métis had their origins in the old crow flats, bluefish caves that were found all over the territory. The Paleo-Indian Clovis, Plano and pre Dorset cultures. Pointing tools, spears, pottery, bangles, chisels and scrapers marks their archeological sites. The characteristic Canadian indigenous culture of permanent settlement, agriculture, civic and ceremonial architecture, societal hierarchies and trade network those were native only in such geography. The 13 aboriginals’ languages and these languages have large frequent number of population who had kept it for long. Canada’s to provinces give official recognition two these languages, presenting the importance of culture in shaping Canadian national feeling.
Indigenous Canadian people were producing arts for thousands of years which during the Canada first movement helped shape the national identity of Canada. These arts and artifacts were being produced long before the British arrivals into the country as art traditions vary differently among these indigenous groups. Its primary focus is on architecture and is different from European traditions in a number of ways which make them different from all other cultures geographically, which helped shape the identity of Canada.
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