Her Majesty the Queen signs The Constitution Act in Ottawa, 1982

In 1982, Her Majesty the Queen travelled to Ottawa to sign The Constitution Act which brought Canada’s constitution home from the UK. Left to right: Gerald Regan, Minister of Labour; Jean Chrétien, Minister of Justice; The Right Honourable Pierre E. Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada; André Ouellet, Registrar General; Her Majesty the Queen; Michael Pitfield, Clerk of the Privy Council

Robert Cooper / Library and Archives Canada

PA-140706
© Robert Cooper / Library and Archives Canada. All Rights Reserved.


Canada achieved independent nationhood by patriating (bringing home) its constitution from the U.K. in 1982.  As well as new constitutional provisions, The Constitution Act of 1982 included a Charter of Rights and Freedoms, which declares that all Canadian citizens have the following fundamental rights:

• Freedom of thought
• Freedom of expression
• Freedom of the press
• Freedom of peaceful assembly
• Freedom of association

Many of the ideas embodied in the Charter had been included in the Bill of Rights passed by the Canadian Parliament in 1960. But the Bill of Rights was only a law, not a part of the constitution.

However, some key issues remain unresolved: for Canada’s First Peoples, self government, cultural renewal, ongoing land claims, and recognition as members of this land’s founding nations are all matters that still require resolution. Canada also continues sometimes to struggle for unity.
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Canada achieved independent nationhood by patriating (bringing home) its constitution from the U.K. in 1982.  As well as new constitutional provisions, The Constitution Act of 1982 included a Charter of Rights and Freedoms, which declares that all Canadian citizens have the following fundamental rights:

• Freedom of thought
• Freedom of expression
• Freedom of the press
• Freedom of peaceful assembly
• Freedom of association

Many of the ideas embodied in the Charter had been included in the Bill of Rights passed by the Canadian Parliament in 1960. But the Bill of Rights was only a law, not a part of the constitution.

However, some key issues remain unresolved: for Canada’s First Peoples, self government, cultural renewal, ongoing land claims, and recognition as members of this land’s founding nations are all matters that still require resolution. Canada also continues sometimes to struggle for unity.
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© 2006, Royal Ontario Museum. All Rights Reserved.

Private Patrick Cloutier and Mohawk Warrior Brad "Freddy Krueger Lacrocque" face off during the Oka Crisis, 1990

September 1, 1990. Private Patrick Cloutier, a ‘Van Doo’ perimeter sentry, and Mohawk Warrior Brad "Freddy Krueger" Larocque, a University of Saskatchewan economics student, face off. The Oka Crisis was a land dispute between the Mohawk nation (at the Mohawk reserve of Kahnawake) and the town of Oka, Quebec. It began on March 11, 1990, and lasted until September 26, 1990.

Photograph by Shaney Komulainen
Canadian Press

© Canadian Press. All Rights Reserved. Photograph by Shaney Komulainen.


Moche vessel in the shape of a man playing the flute.

Since the 1970s thousands of immigrants have come to Canada from Peru and all across Central and South America. Quite a number trace their roots back to indigenous (Aboriginal) cultures, some of them very ancient. This artifact is over 2000 years old; it is a vessel (container) in the shape of a man playing the flute. It was made by an artist of the Moche culture on the north coast of Peru. The Moche culture flourished between the years 100 and 800, and is named after the Moche River valley where the culture was first identified. The culture is known for its skilled craftspeople and sumptuous tombs. Moche pottery was often modeled, and frequently depicted scenes from everyday life. Like other cultures in ancient Peru, musical instruments played an important role in ritual and everyday life. The Moche played flutes, conch shell trumpets, rattles, bells, and drums. The importance of music to shamanism remains strong in the north coast of Peru today. This pot came from the collection of a British diplomat and was purchased by the ROM in 1924.

Royal Ontario Museum

924.34.3
© 2006, Royal Ontario Museum. All Rights Reserved.


The Moche culture flourished between the years 100 and 800. It was a pre-Inca civilization. Many of their descendants still live in the area of northern Peru. Today the Aboriginal people of this region speak Quechua, an indigenous language spoken by about 9.5 million people in Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, northern Chile, and northwest Argentina.

Moche pottery depicted scenes from everyday life. There’s a strong possibility that this vessel (container) is a portrait of a real person from the Moche culture.

By looking at the statue above, we can tell that this person was a musician. If you look closely you can see that he’s playing the flute. The music of the Moche acted as a bridge to the dead. A musician could be a kind of shaman or someone skilled in traditional medicine. Music may have been used to communicate with the dead and to protect the living. For the Moche, music was a language – ideas were represented by sounds, not words.

Some Moche flutes were made from human bones, and so the connection between the living and dead occurred as the music was played on these instruments. Music continues to play an important role in Peru. Mo Read More
The Moche culture flourished between the years 100 and 800. It was a pre-Inca civilization. Many of their descendants still live in the area of northern Peru. Today the Aboriginal people of this region speak Quechua, an indigenous language spoken by about 9.5 million people in Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, northern Chile, and northwest Argentina.

Moche pottery depicted scenes from everyday life. There’s a strong possibility that this vessel (container) is a portrait of a real person from the Moche culture.

By looking at the statue above, we can tell that this person was a musician. If you look closely you can see that he’s playing the flute. The music of the Moche acted as a bridge to the dead. A musician could be a kind of shaman or someone skilled in traditional medicine. Music may have been used to communicate with the dead and to protect the living. For the Moche, music was a language – ideas were represented by sounds, not words.

Some Moche flutes were made from human bones, and so the connection between the living and dead occurred as the music was played on these instruments. Music continues to play an important role in Peru. Modern shamans use the different notes played on the flute to communicate with the spirits that are thought to inhabit the region. Many of the instruments and techniques from ancient times are still used today. This Moche vessel represents a rich, ancient past – part of that history and tradition is still alive.

In terms of a major contribution to humanity, the indigenous people of the Americas were the first to domesticate potatoes and maize (corn). These crops now feed billions of people all over the world.

Thousands of immigrants have come to Canada from Peru and all across Central and South America since the 1970s. Some trace their roots back to a number of indigenous cultures. Knowing their historical past allows us to appreciate the cultural wealth and traditions that new immigrants bring to Canada.
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© 2006, Royal Ontario Museum. All Rights Reserved.

Prior to 1962, since the time of Confederation, immigration policies were restrictive, exclusive, and selective. When the Immigration Act dropped restrictions based on race and ethnicity, people from Africa, East Asia, South Asia, and Latin America began to seek refuge and a new home in Canada.  Most immigrants and refugees came to Canada with dreams and hopes of prosperity.

During the Trudeau era (1968-1984), tens of thousands from all over the globe made this land their home. Canada also undertook a new role: to serve as a multicultural example for the rest of the world. In 1971, the federal government developed a policy of multiculturalism within a framework of two official languages, promoting and supporting the diverse nature of our country.
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Prior to 1962, since the time of Confederation, immigration policies were restrictive, exclusive, and selective. When the Immigration Act dropped restrictions based on race and ethnicity, people from Africa, East Asia, South Asia, and Latin America began to seek refuge and a new home in Canada.  Most immigrants and refugees came to Canada with dreams and hopes of prosperity.

During the Trudeau era (1968-1984), tens of thousands from all over the globe made this land their home. Canada also undertook a new role: to serve as a multicultural example for the rest of the world. In 1971, the federal government developed a policy of multiculturalism within a framework of two official languages, promoting and supporting the diverse nature of our country.
_________________________

© 2006, Royal Ontario Museum. All Rights Reserved.

Ekkeko is the Andean god of plenty and wealth.

This brightly-painted plaster statue from Bolivia depicts an Andean pre-Christian deity known as Ekkeko, the god of abundance, money, and luck. Similar statues are also made and sold in Peru. As is customary, Ekkeko (pronounced ey-kay-koh) is dressed in modern clothes with a real knit cap made of wool; he has outstretched arms, an open mouth, and a painted moustache. According to ancient legends, if you put a miniature of something you want on Ekkeko by noon on January 24, he will help you to get your wish in the year to come. You never remove the miniatures, so over the years Ekkeko becomes laden with your hopes and dreams. As you may have noticed, Ekkeko's mouth is open; this is so that he may receive his offering, which is a lit cigarette. The cigarette is put into his mouth after the miniature objects are tied to him. As he smokes the offering, the length of the ash that forms without breaking off is a seen as a sign of how much good fortune Ekkeko will grant the asker during the coming year.

Royal Ontario Museum
Gift of Helen Downie
c. 1968
Royal Ontario Museum 978.115.1.A, 978.115.1.B
© 2006, Royal Ontario Museum. All Rights Reserved.


Ekkeko is the Andean god of plenty and wealth

This brightly-painted plaster statue from Bolivia depicts an Andean pre-Christian deity known as Ekkeko, the god of abundance, money, and luck. Similar statues are also made and sold in Peru. As is customary, Ekkeko (pronounced ey-kay-koh) is dressed in modern clothes with a real knit cap made of wool; he has outstretched arms, an open mouth, and a painted moustache. According to ancient legends, if you put a miniature of something you want on Ekkeko by noon on January 24, he will help you to get your wish in the year to come. You never remove the miniatures, so over the years Ekkeko becomes laden with your hopes and dreams. As you may have noticed, Ekkeko's mouth is open; this is so that he may receive his offering, which is a lit cigarette. The cigarette is put into his mouth after the miniature objects are tied to him. As he smokes the offering, the length of the ash that forms without breaking off is a seen as a sign of how much good fortune Ekkeko will grant the asker during the coming year.

Royal Ontario Museum
Gift of Helen Downie
c. 1968
© 2007, Royal Ontario Museum. All Rights Reserved.


Ekkeko figures date back to the Inca Empire, which occupied a large territory in what are now modern Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Argentina, and Chile. Ekkeko is part of Inca mythology. The Inca empire began in 1190 and lasted till shortly after the arrival of Columbus in 1492.

Ekkeko is the Andean god of plenty and wealth. He is also the domestic god of good luck and prosperity.

The miniature objects on this Ekkeko represent wishes for material goods, each item representing some form of material wealth:

• The little sacks of pasta and dry goods represent food.
• The paper copy of money represents monetary wealth.
• The miniature car represents a wish for a real automobile.

Every year, people all over Bolivia, and in other countries in South America, tie what they wish for onto the Ekkeko figures. Once given to Ekkeko, the wishes or miniature items are never removed – to do so is considered bad luck. A well-used statue will be loaded down with desires or miniatures that represent many hopes. According to an ancient legend, when you place a miniature object on Ekkeko, you will receive what you wish for the follo Read More
Ekkeko figures date back to the Inca Empire, which occupied a large territory in what are now modern Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Argentina, and Chile. Ekkeko is part of Inca mythology. The Inca empire began in 1190 and lasted till shortly after the arrival of Columbus in 1492.

Ekkeko is the Andean god of plenty and wealth. He is also the domestic god of good luck and prosperity.

The miniature objects on this Ekkeko represent wishes for material goods, each item representing some form of material wealth:

• The little sacks of pasta and dry goods represent food.
• The paper copy of money represents monetary wealth.
• The miniature car represents a wish for a real automobile.

Every year, people all over Bolivia, and in other countries in South America, tie what they wish for onto the Ekkeko figures. Once given to Ekkeko, the wishes or miniature items are never removed – to do so is considered bad luck. A well-used statue will be loaded down with desires or miniatures that represent many hopes. According to an ancient legend, when you place a miniature object on Ekkeko, you will receive what you wish for the following year.

The Ekkeko figure can be found in many Canadian Latino homes and it reveals the changing face of immigration. Only in recent years have so many people come here from Latin America. This object also reflects the wishes, desires and dreams of almost every immigrant: the hope of a better life.

Immigration plays a key role in building the nation. Immigration also has a dramatic affect on the lives of the immigrants and refugees who come here. The Ekkeko figure allows us to see that all people, regardless of where they have come from, share much the same hopes and desires: food and shelter, a safe place to live, and prosperity or a good life.

The Ekkeko figure has a pre-Christian, pre-colonial origin. And yet it remains relevant today because all of us continue to hope for a better future.


Census Canada statistics:
  • Of the total number of immigrants between 1991 and 2001, 11% came from Central and South America and the Caribbean.
  • One out of every six Canadian residents was born outside Canada (2001 census). 
  • Canada has people from 200 ethnicities.
  • In 2001, 39% of the total population reported their ethnic heritage as “Canadian.”
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© 2006, Royal Ontario Museum. All Rights Reserved.

“That past is still, for us, a place that is not safely settled.”
– Michael Ondaatje, writer

There are an infinite number of stories and objects that are integral to the history of Canada. We have been able to examine only a few artifacts and only a few of the cultures that have helped to shape this nation. A complete history of Canada would be impossible to cover in this space.

We have attempted to build some bridges to the past through objects, in order to gain insight into our collective history. Filled with complexity, diversity, and duality, our collective history is the result of the interaction of many nations, immigrants, and people seeking refuge.

As Canadians, we each have the formidable task of being neighbours with the entire world, all within our own country. This is the basis of a multicultural society set within the context of globalization.

Understanding how the country was shaped and continues to be shaped by the interaction of so many peoples and cultures is par Read More
“That past is still, for us, a place that is not safely settled.”
– Michael Ondaatje, writer

There are an infinite number of stories and objects that are integral to the history of Canada. We have been able to examine only a few artifacts and only a few of the cultures that have helped to shape this nation. A complete history of Canada would be impossible to cover in this space.

We have attempted to build some bridges to the past through objects, in order to gain insight into our collective history. Filled with complexity, diversity, and duality, our collective history is the result of the interaction of many nations, immigrants, and people seeking refuge.

As Canadians, we each have the formidable task of being neighbours with the entire world, all within our own country. This is the basis of a multicultural society set within the context of globalization.

Understanding how the country was shaped and continues to be shaped by the interaction of so many peoples and cultures is part of our ongoing challenge. It is an understanding that is essential for the future of Canada.
_________________________

© 2006, Royal Ontario Museum. All Rights Reserved.

Rinaldo Walcott describes how Canada as a nation has had a painful history and a hopeful future.

Rinaldo Walcott is an Associate Professor in the Department of Sociology and Equity Studies in Education at The Ontario Institute for Studies in Education of the University of Toronto (OISE). His areas of specialization are cultural studies and cultural theory; queer and gender theory, and transnational and diaspora studies. He is currently the Canada Research Chair of Social Justice and Cultural Studies. He spoke about Canada as an interesting project.

Whenever you think about nations you have to think about two different, at least two different kinds things. One is, most nations no, no matter how lovely and romantic we try to make stories up about them, most nations are founded or established on a moment of violence of some sort, whether it’s a civil war, whether it’s the colonization of a previous group of people or what have you. Most nations are founded on some act of violence and yet, you don’t only have to be defined by the act of violence. That act of violence can be transformative, it can be community building, it can lead towards various kinds of restitution, social justice, cultural justice and so forth. So in the Canadian context, I think that we’re often back and forth across those two lines – across the founding violent act of the nation, which is the colonization and attempted genocide of First Nations and Aboriginal peoples and on the other side we’re kind of working out this really interesting project of what a nation can be around not being a nation that is founded around one linguistic group, not being a nation that’s being founded around one kind of racial identity, not being a nation that’s founded only around notions of the nuclear family and so forth. So in the Canadian context both of those kind of founding moments of a nation are being worked out. And in that sense it makes Canada a very interesting project, yeah and it’s a project that’s not finished and so I think the real challenge is what kinds of political leaders we’re going to have who are going to have a really strong vision to take us all the way on the second part of that which is to have a nation that’s really, which is to have Canada redefine what a nation can be globally.

Royal Ontario Museum
Rinaldo Walcott, Associate Professor and Canada Research Chair, Social Justice and Cultural Studies, Ontario Institute for Studies in Education of the University of Toronto

© 2006, Royal Ontario Museum. All Rights Reserved.


Rinaldo Walcott describes how Canada as a nation has had a painful history and a hopeful future.

Whenever you think about nations you have to think about two different, at least two different kinds things. One is, most nations no, no matter how lovely and romantic we try to make stories up about them, most nations are founded or established on a moment of violence of some sort, whether it’s a civil war, whether it’s the colonization of a previous group of people or what have you. Most nations are founded on some act of violence and yet, you don’t only have to be defined by the act of violence. That act of violence can be transformative, it can be community building, it can lead towards various kinds of restitution, social justice, cultural justice and so forth. So in the Canadian context, I think that we’re often back and forth across those two lines – across the founding violent act of the nation, which is the colonization and attempted genocide of First Nations and Aboriginal peoples and on the other side we’re kind of working out this really interesting project of what a nation can be around not being a nation that is founded around one linguistic group, not being a nation that’s being founded around one kind of racial identity, not being a nation that’s founded only around notions of the nuclear family and so forth. So in the Canadian context both of those kind of founding moments of a nation are being worked out. And in that sense it makes Canada a very interesting project, yeah and it’s a project that’s not finished and so I think the real challenge is what kinds of political leaders we’re going to have who are going to have a really strong vision to take us all the way on the second part of that which is to have a nation that’s really, which is to have Canada redefine what a nation can be globally.

Royal Ontario Museum
Rinaldo Walcott, Associate Professor and Canada Research Chair, Social Justice and Cultural Studies, Ontario Institute for Studies in Education of the University of Toronto

© 2007, Royal Ontario Museum. All Rights Reserved.


Learning Objectives

  • Assesses the significance of global economic and environmental practices on immigration to Canada.
  • Identifies some of the challenges to maintaining identities in a dualistic and pluralistic society.
  • Evaluates the extent to which Canada has been transformed into a pluralistic society.

Learning Activity:

Multiculturalism is one of the strongest features of Canadian identity today, but there is a constant struggle in immigrant communities – both new and established – between adapting to a new home and retaining long-held tradition. How has your own community, or that of someone you know well, faced this struggle? What has been the outcome?

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