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One, two, or three founders: how Canada's historical memories are changing

Polls believe that half of the population is founders in the United Kingdom, France and indigenous peoples, about twice as much as in 2013.

Samuel de Champlain, regarded as the founder of Quebec, speaks with Indigenous people in this 1911 painting.
Samuel, who is considered to be the founder of Quebec De Champlain speaks with the indigenous people in this 1911 painting.Photo: File

When Canadians conceptualize their history, their understanding is that there are two in this country. It has evolved over the years from the belief that there are indigenous peoples. The belief that there are currently three widely supported founder groups: the United Kingdom, France and indigenous peoples.

An increasing cohort of people believe that Canada's true founders are only one group of indigenous peoples. According to a new study conducted by Leger for the Canadian Research Association, that view is held by 18 percent of Canadians. According to polls, this view is the most common at 25% among people between the ages of 18 and 34.

The majority of Canadians (51%) said that three groups founded Canada. 12 percent said that only British and French founded Canada.

In 2013, the association asked Canadians a version of the same question. At that time, 29% of Canadians said Britain and France were the founders of Canada, compared to 26%, including indigenous peoples. (The options given in 2013 and 2022 were slightly different, so it is not possible to compare the two votes exactly, but the gap between the two answers is quite different.)

Jack Jedwab, President of the Canadian Research Association, encourages people to rethink Canada's history through the process of the Truth Reconciliation Commission and the discovery of potential tombs on the premises of residential schools across Canada. I said that it became.

"(They) have given people more thoughts over time, the Canadian story, so to speak, and have become more focused on the role of indigenous peoples throughout our history. Twenty years ago, I didn't pay much attention and think too much, "Jedwab said in an interview.

Canada has been reconciled in recent years, and historians argue that the story of Canada cannot be fully understood without understanding the history of the indigenous peoples of the territory that became Canada in 1867. I am.

Still, when leaders were considering the formation of Canada, and later when Canada was founded, indigenous peoples were largely excluded, Jedwab said. For example, in 1864, some historians wrote a historical document about the role that indigenous people played in the Commonwealth.

The Fathers of Confederation are seen in this photo from the Charlottetown Conference of September 1864, which set Canada’s Confederation in motion.
Fathers of Confederation saw in this photo of the Charlottetown Conference Will be. In September 1864, the parents of the Canadian Confederation were inaugurated. Photo by Library and Archives Canada

The traditional story of Canadian history is that there were two founders, England and France, 1534. When New France, founded in 1763, was handed over to Canada in 1763.

The view that French and British are the founders of Canada is most strongly supported by people over the age of 55 at 15%. .. It is also the strongest held by people living on the Atlantic coast of Canada, with 17 percent, followed by British Columbia (16 percent), Alberta (15 percent), Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Quebec (13 percent), Ontario. 10 percent.

Interestingly, Ontarians are least likely to believe that indigenous people, French and British make up the founders of Canada, 47 percent, and Quebec. Fifty-nine percent of people have this view, with 48 in Manitova, Saskatchewan, St. on the Atlantic coast of Canada, 49 percent in Alberta, and 51 percent in British Columbia.

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Quebecs can believe that only indigenous people make up the founders of Canada It is the least gendered, with only 9% of respondents agreeing. In contrast, 21% of Atlantic Canada's people have that view, as do 22% of Ontarians, 24% of Manitoba and Saskatchewan, 18% of Alberta, and 20% of British Columbia. I am.

Among non-indigenous Canadians, 17. Eight percent said that only indigenous peoples founded Canada, compared to 50.7% who said they were founders of British, French and indigenous peoples. By comparison, of the indigenous respondents, 37.5% said that only indigenous people were founders, while 42.9% identified three founders.

Recent changes may be due to increased awareness of indigenous peoples' history. Land approval, which is now commonplace at political and cultural events, "contributes to a greater sense that indigenous peoples have played a very important role in the creation of Canada," Jedwab said.

He said, "Care should be taken in this process to find the right balance between admitting indigenous peoples' exclusion and abuse and their role in Canada's evolution. I think. " Jedwab. "If you ask me," Are the indigenous people the founders of Canada, I would say, but you know, when do you identify an active and basic period? It depends on. "

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