Chuck Crate

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Charles Brandle "Chuck" Crate (1916–1992) was a Canadian miner, educator, lexicographer (researcher with Charles Lovell, and editor of the Dictionary of Canadianisms on Historical Principles, W.J. Gage Ltd, 1967) and artist.

Crate was born and grew up in northern Ontario, moving into a working class district of Toronto in 1927. The poverty and unemployment brought by the Great Depression turned the young Crate into a radical, in his youth sympathizing with the then populist fascist movement of Europe. During the war Chuck Crate joined the Royal Canadian Navy where he worked in Postal Service and as a gunner. He was based in Scotland where he met his future wife.

Crate worked for many years after the World War II as a gold miner and Mine Mill and Smelter Worker shop steward and union organizer where he secured equal pay for Native Indian workers in the mines. During this time he met Charles Lovell and began a lifelong interest in Canadian English lexicography and Canadiana literature which later led to the publication of A Dictionary of Canadianisms on Historical Principles. A lifelong advocate for workers rights, Crate worked in and for numerous unions until he retired and became a member of the CCF party (Co-operative Commonwealth Federation) party. In Yellowknife he was instrumental in starting the (Indian) Friendship Center as well a public library and started a local newspaper called the Northern Star. He was supportive of Canadian Indigenous peoples and worked personally and legally to support their rights. He represented the hereditary Dogrib chief Michel Siki in a groundbreaking case in support of Aboriginal Hunting Rights, until the level of the Supreme Court.

Mr. Crate later became a teacher and taught and lived in numerous small Canadian towns and on reserves (Blackfoot). He taught mainly Business English, Literature and Socials Studies, which he augmented by his research and teaching of Native (Indian) history. He donated some of his collection of old Canadiana literature and Dictionaries to the libraries in each small town he lived in.

A defender of the Right to Free Speech, Chuck Crate defended most who exercised this right despite unpopularity of their view. Among the more controversial aspect of this was speaking out in defense of Eastern European immigrants who either expressed views of World War II that ran counter to the history books or possibly had been accused of regarding World War II war crimes.

He died in 1992 at the age of 76 and is survived by 2 daughters.

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