Yesterday I went to a panel discussion on making a career as writer or musician, and one of the panelists was local First Nations musician Russell Wallace. He mentioned a few things about suppression of First Nations culture that really surprised me, so I did a little bit of research and was amazed at how recent many important amendments to the Indian Act are. Then I got to thinking about Canadian history in the past 100 years, and there are a lot of important events that we don’t think about, but which happened relatively (and sometimes surprisingly) recently. I have a few items to start a list (some of them pretty obvious) but please contribute your own. Think about it – a lot of us probably know people who were around when most or all of these things happened, and some of these events will have happened in our own lifetimes as well.
1916 – Manitoba becomes the first province in Canada to grant women the right to vote and run for public office.
1949 – Newfoundland joins the Confederation of Canada, becoming the 10th province.
1951 – The Indian Act is amended to re-allow many First Nations ceremonies (including the Sun Dance and Potlatch) that had been banned in whole or part since the end of the 19th century.
1965 – Canada adopts its current flag
1970 – The Trudeau invokes the War Measures Act to deal with the terrorist FLQ in Quebec. Many rights involving arrest and detention are suspended, and the military is deployed.
1997 – Protesters are pepper-sprayed and arrested at the APEC Summit at UBC.
And hey, some history items are going to be more controversial than others. For example, there’s a lot of debate as to whether the invoking of the War Measures Act in 1970 was warranted, but giving women the right to vote in 1916 will get a resounding, “About time!!!” Do your research, and, of course, please be respectful of others in your comments.