Portal:Aboriginal peoples in Canada/Selected biography

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Portal:Aboriginal peoples in Canada/Selected biography/1

Louis David Riel
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A founder of the province of Manitoba and a leader of the Métis during the Red River Rebellion of 1869 and North-West Rebellion of 1885.

Louis David Riel (/ˈli rˈɛl/; 22 October 1844 – 16 November 1885) was a Canadian politician, a founder of the province of Manitoba, and leader of the Métis people of the Canadian prairies. He led two resistance movements against the Canadian government and its first post-Confederation Prime Minister, Sir John A. Macdonald. Riel sought to preserve Métis rights and culture as their homelands in the Northwest came progressively under the Canadian sphere of influence. He is regarded by many as a Canadian folk hero today. The first resistance was the Red River Rebellion of 1869–1870. The provisional government established by Riel ultimately negotiated the terms under which the modern province of Manitoba entered the Canadian Confederation. Despite this, he is frequently referred to as the "Father of Manitoba". While a fugitive, he was elected three times to the Canadian House of Commons, although he never assumed his seat. During these years, he was frustrated by having to remain in exile despite his growing belief that he was a divinely chosen leader and prophet, a belief which would later resurface and influence his actions.

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Portal:Aboriginal peoples in Canada/Selected biography/2

Harriet Nahanee

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Harriet Nahanee (born 1935 – February 24, 2007) was an Indigenous/Aboriginal rights activist, residential school survivor, and environmental activist. She was born in British Columbia, Canada. She comes from the Pacheedaht who are part of the Nuu-chah-nulth, Indigenous peoples from the Vancouver Island. As a child, Nahanee attended both Ahousaht Residential School and Alberni Residential School, and would later testify about the horrible treatment she received there. She married into the Sḵwxwú7mesh (Squamish). Harriet was sentenced to two weeks in a provincial jail in January 2007 for criminal contempt of court for her part in the Sea-to-Sky Highway expansion protest at Eagleridge Bluffs. She was then hospitalized with pneumonia a week after her release from the jail, at which time doctors discovered she had lung cancer. She died of pneumonia and complications at St. Paul’s Hospital in Vancouver on February 24, just one month after her original sentencing.

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Maquinna (also transliterated Muquinna, Macuina, Maquilla) was the chief of the Nuu-chah-nulth people of Nootka Sound, during the heyday of the fur trade in the 1780s and 1790s on the Pacific Northwest Coast. His people are today known as the Mowachaht and reside today with their kin, the Muchalaht, at Gold River, British Columbia, Canada.

Maquinna was a powerful chief whose village, Yuquot, became the first important anchorage in the European jockeying for power and commerce as the era of the maritime fur trade began. Yuquot became known as Friendly Cove, and after the British explorer Captain James Cook visited in 1778, Imperial Spain quickly asserted its authority, sending north scientific and mapping ships, and also orders to establish a fort there. In 1788, John Meares explored Nootka Sound and the neighboring coasts and bought some land from Maquinna, where he built a trading post. Ensuing events led to the seizure of a British subject and his Austrian-registered vessel by the Spanish, which provoked an international episode known as the Nootka Crisis.

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Portal:Aboriginal peoples in Canada/Selected biography/4

Shanawdithit

A statue of Shanawdithit, at the Boyd's Cove Beothuk site in Newfoundland.

Shanawdithit (c. 1801 – June 6, 1829), also referred to as Shawnadithit, Shawnawdithit, and Nancy April, was the last recorded surviving member of the Beothuk people of Newfoundland, Canada. She died of tuberculosis on 6 June 1829 in St. John's. She was born circa 1801 near a large lake in Newfoundland. At the time, the population of the Beothuk was dwindling. Their traditional way of life was affected by the establishment of white settlements on the island. Their access to the sea, a major food source, was slowly being cut off. Trappers and furriers regarded the Beothuks as thieves and attacked them to keep them away. As a child, Shanawdithit was shot by a trapper while washing venison in a river, though she was not severely injured and recovered. The people suffered from infectious diseases such as tuberculosis (TB), introduced by European contact, to which they had no immunity and for which the Europeans had no cures or prevention. After the 1819 capture of Demasduwit, the aunt of Shanawdithit, the few remaining Beothuk people fled from the British.

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Portal:Aboriginal peoples in Canada/Selected biography/5

Chief Crowfoot ca. 1885

Crowfoot (c. 1830 – 25 April 1890) or Isapo-Muxika (Blackfoot Issapóómahksika, "Crow-big-foot") was a chief of the Siksika First Nation. His parents, Istowun-eh'pata (Packs a Knife) and Axkahp-say-pi (Attacked Towards Home), were Kainai. His brother Iron Shield became Chief Bull. He was only five when Istowun-eh'pata was killed during a raid on the Crow tribe, and a year later, his mother remarried to Akay-nehka-simi (Many Names) of the Siksika people. The young boy was adopted by the Siksika, who gave him the name Kyi-i-staah (Bear Ghost), until he could receive his father’s name, Istowun-eh’pata.

Though he was well respected for his bravery, Crowfoot refused to join the North-West Rebellion of 1885, believing it to be a lost cause. In 1886, Prime Minister Sir John A. Macdonald invited Crowfoot to Ottawa. Crowfoot went, as did Three Bulls and Red Crow, but soon fell ill and had to return from Ottawa. Because of his brave performance and injury during the battle, he was final given his adult name, Isapo-muxika, taken from a deceased relative.

Crowfoot was a warrior who fought in as many as 19 battles and sustained many injuries. Despite this, he tried to obtain peace instead of tribal warfare. When the Canadian Pacific Railway sought to build their mainline through Blackfoot territory, negotiations with Albert Lacombe convinced Crowfoot that it should be allowed.

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Sheila Watt-Cloutier during a lecture at York University

Sheila Watt-Cloutier, OC (born 2 December 1953) is a Canadian Inuit activist. She has been a political representative for Inuit at the regional, national and international levels, most recently as International Chair for Inuit Circumpolar Council (formerly the Inuit Circumpolar Conference).

Watt-Cloutier has worked on a range of social and environmental issues affecting Inuit, and has most recently focused on persistent organic pollutants and global warming. She has received numerous awards and honors for her work, and has been featured in a number of documentaries and profiled by journalists from all media.

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Portal:Aboriginal peoples in Canada/Selected biography/7

Pitikwahanapiwiyin (c. 1842 – 4 July 1886), commonly known as Poundmaker, was a Plains Cree chief known as a peacemaker and defender of his people. Poundmaker was born in the Battleford region, the child of Sikakwayan, an Assiniboine medicine man, and a mixed-blood Cree woman, the sister of Chief Mistawasis. Following the death of his parents, Poundmaker, his brother Yellow Mud Blanket, and his younger sister, were all raised by their mother's Cree community, led by Chief Wuttunee, but later known as the Red Pheasant Band. In his adult life, Poundmaker gained prominence during the 1876 negotiations of Treaty 6 and split off to form his own band. In 1881, the band settled on a reserve about 40 km northwest of Fort Battleford. Poundmaker was not opposed of the idea of a treaty, but became critical of the Canadian government's failures to live up to its promises.

In 1873, Crowfoot, chief of the Blackfoot First Nation, had adopted Poundmaker thereby increasing the latter’s influence. This move also cemented the ties between the Blackfoot and the Cree, which successfully stopped the quarreling and arguing over the now very scarce buffalo.

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Portal:Aboriginal peoples in Canada/Selected biography/8

Francis Pegahmagabow.jpg

Francis Pegahmagabow MM & Two Bars, (March 9, 1891 – August 5, 1952) was the First Nation soldier most highly decorated for bravery in Canadian military history and the most effective sniper of World War I. Three times awarded the Military Medal and seriously wounded, he was an expert marksman and scout, credited with killing 378 Germans and capturing 300 more. Later in life, he served as chief and a councilor for the Wasauksing First Nation, and as an activist and leader in several First Nations organizations. He corresponded with and met other noted aboriginal figures including Fred Loft, Jules Sioui, Andrew Paull and John Tootoosis.

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