Did you know that some residents of Churchill, Manitoba consider Thanadelthur, an early 1700s Chipewyan guide and peace negotiator, the founder of their town? That is one of the many fascinating historical facts I learned while writing profiles of accomplished Métis, Indigenous, and Inuit people for Canadian Encyclopedia.
I discovered the many achievements of politicians like Romeo Saganash, Quebec’s first Indigenous MP, and Jody Wilson-Reybauld, Canada’s former attorney-general, and the struggles behind precedent-setting Métis laws. I learned that Louis Riel’s sister, Sara, worked as a mediator between conflicting groups in the late 1800s in the Red River Colony (later Manitoba).
What struck me repeatedly while researching these fascinating lives is that these notable Canadians excelled despite phenomenal racism, setbacks, and government neglect or indifference. I kept thinking that their resilience and successes should have made them household names in this country, but due to systemic racism, many remain unknown or little known in our nation’s history.
Read my roughly three dozen Canadian Encyclopedia profiles here.