Canada is probably one of the most culturally-diverse countries in the world. Multiculturalism is a national policy, which is easy to see when visiting cities like Vancouver, Toronto and French-speaking Montreal.
One of the reasons why this exists is that Canada was founded upon multiple cultures, including the original inhabitants – the Aboriginal (First Nations) people and Inuit – alongside newer arrivals: the English, French, and Métis.
Immigration has continued since European colonials arrived, which has given Canadians an identity that spans the globe.
There are hundreds of tribes scattered within what now makes up Canada’s borders. The Government now divides these into six main groups geographically, made up of the Woodland First Nations, Iroquoian First Nations, Plains First nations, Plateau First Nations, Pacific Coast First Nations, and First Nations of the Mackenzie and Yukon River Basins.
The First Nations people lived off the land using what nature provided in their geographic regions. They gathered plants and wild vegetables for nutrition and medicinal
Due to the sheer size of Canada, it would be impossible to gain knowledge and understanding of First Nations people from one region alone. Traditional woodcarvings, mortuary poles, tapestry, clothing, language, and history vary across the country.
Inuit people reside in Canada’s far north regions, reaching into the Arctic Circle. They adapted to live in extreme weather climates and have done so (and still do) for over 5,000 years by hunting and trapping seasonal animals, and living in igloos and
Today, the Inuit are very much in-tune with modern times, and (contrary to popular belief) they do not live in igloos. Most live in single-story, prefabricated wooden houses which are heated with oil-burning stoves. However, housing varies across the vast regions.
During the 1600s – long before Canada was united as a nation in 1867 – French and British fur traders and explorers married First Nations women, which eventuated in birthing a mixed-blood subculture known as the Métis.
A new language was eventually spawned, called Michif, a mix between European/French words and Native Canadian (mainly Cree and Ojibwe) dialect.
The Métis made a name for themselves as skilled hunter/trappers. They were known to be fiercely independent due to being looked-down-upon by European colonials and First Nations people.
This helped the Métis bond and band together, which led to the creation of a vibrant, proud community known for their decorative uniforms, horses
Lumberjacks (loggers or tree-fellers) became known across Canada for their hyper-masculinity, hard work, grit, and musky smell.
These towering, bearded men toiled six days a week in dangerous conditions to clear land for farming and providing timber for building, firewood, and pulp mills.
The culture thrived around the turn of the 18th century with shanties (cramped, sweaty boarding houses built to house Lumberjacks) sprouting up from coast to coast filled with men trying to make a living in extreme conditions.
“Johnny Canuck” is a fictional Lumberjack cartoon character created in the late 1800s that still pops up these days, most notably as a mascot and namesake for Vancouver’s NHL ice hockey team, the Vancouver Canucks. Lumberjack competitions still take place across Canada, pitting men and women against each other in tree climbing, log chopping races
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