"CROATIA DAY and CANADA DAY"
Vancouver, North and West Vancouver
Richmond, Surrey, Coquitlam and
British Columbia, Canada
Special Event Details
Date: Sunday, July 1, 2012
Location: Croatian Church Park in Richmond
Time: 11am to 8pm
Music and Entertainment - EURO CUP 2012: FREE!
Kids Zone: Playland
Adults: Soccer and other sports activities
Croatia and Canada Birthday Cake: FREE!
Taste of Croatia and Canada:
Sales of different food and beverage
Presented by: Canadian Croatian Congress
Blend of revelry, history on Canada's 145th birthday
Published Sunday, Jul. 1, 2012 7:22AM EDT
Last Updated Monday, Jul. 2, 2012 1:20PM EDT
Parliament Hill was awash with red-and-white Sunday as thousands of patriotic Canadians gathered in Ottawa to celebrate the country’s 145th birthday.
Celebrations took on special significance this year as the nation is also marking the bicentennial of the War of 1812, a decisive event that essentially set the stage for the nation’s creation.
Figuresfrom the war, including national heroine Laura Ingersoll Secord who warned British forces about an impending attack, were honoured during the festivities in Ottawa.
"It was maybe a bit more attractive to people than if someone went up and did a lecture on the war," said Andrew Moull, 24. He said that he felt the War of 1812 often goes forgotten.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper said the battle’s 200th anniversary is an important milestone to celebrate.
"What makes the War of 1812 so significant -- it's the first time Canadians developed a common sense of nationality and that's because English-speaking Canadians, French-speaking Canadians, Aboriginal Canadians and others all bound together to resist the American invasion," he said, before joining the celebrations.
Performances from indie rock star Feist and French crooner Roch Voisine were on the docket and crowds of revellers decked out in red-and-white joined in as Canadian songstress Jully Black belted out the national anthem.
The blaring anthem was rivaled only by the thunderous sound of the Royal Canadian Air Force's iconic Snowbirds flying overhead, performing the “maple leaf burst” formation.
Afterwards, Heritage Minister James Moore approached the podium, calling the event an opportunity “to celebrate the honour of being able to call Canada home.”
With an eye to the future, he noted the nation’s 150th birthday is now only five years away.
“Let us continue to celebrate all the things that make Canada great,” Moore said.
Harper: Canada ‘the best country in the world’
In his Canada Day message, the Governor General said that from the moment of Confederation in 1867, Canada has been a unique and challenging experiment.
“Canadians work hard every day on behalf of their families, their communities and their country,” David Johnston said.
“Having met with thousands of you, I know how hard Canadians work. I also know that, regardless of age or affiliation, Canadians desire a better country.
“Each of us aspires to create a smarter, more caring nation, where everyone can succeed and contribute,” he said.
Harper touched on Canada as a proud nation with a “strong and growing economy” and a “caring and compassionate society,” in his message.
Harper also reminded Canadians of the military struggle that made Canada possible, honouring “the bravery and devotion of our men and women in uniform.”
Harper went on: “The United States is today our good neighbour and close friend, but the border was once a place of fear and hostility.”
Canadians joined together from all backgrounds 200 years ago to fight for Canada and laid the foundations for the parliamentary federation of freedom, democracy and justice we enjoy today, Harper said.
“For the best country in the world, this is a great day.”
This year's celebrations marked the first Canada Day since 2006 without a major contingent of Canadian soldiers fighting in Afghanistan, as Canada's combat mission in Kandahar ended last July.
Defence Minister Peter MacKay was in Kabul, marking the day with those still in the country training Afghan security forces.
"Our personnel serving in Afghanistan continue to make great strides in their mission. Their strength, perseverance and leadership are a source of pride and inspiration for Canadians everywhere, and remind of the greatness that our country can achieve," MacKaysaid in a statement.
Internet giant Google marked Canada Day as well with a version of its popular doodle that featured a beaver wearing a crown and holding the Canadian flag.
The doodle's creator, 32-year-old Willie Real of Mountain View, Calif., said the Google doodle has become a holiday staple and Canada Day is no different.
For some people, Canada’s birthday marked a welcome end to long years of waiting to become citizens.
For others, it was a tremendous sense of achievement, and for many more, it brought simple relief.
But amid the wide array of emotions on display at a special citizenship ceremony in Toronto, one reigned supreme -- pure, infectious, joy.
Immigrants from 38 different countries gained their citizenship ahead of the national holiday.
To Shahied Gairy, Friday’s oath-taking ceremony at Pearson International Airport was like a burden being lifted from his shoulders.
“This has been the end of a very long process for us,” said Gairy, who came to Canada from Grenada seven years ago and overcame a number of challenges before claiming his citizenship.
For one younger new Canadian, becoming a citizen underscored the liberties offered by his new country.
“It means that you have freedom of expression, and you can vote," said 13-year-old Shaharyar Khan.
With files from The Canadian Press
CANADA DAY: Teck celebrates with donation to Trans Canada Trail
VANCOUVER – To celebrate our country’s 145th birthday, Teck Resources has made a $1-million donation to complete a section of the Trans Canada Trail connecting communities in the Kootenays. Teck's investment will help support completion of sections linking together the communities of Trail, Cranbrook, Kimberley, Fernie, Sparwood and Elkford.
The Trans Canada Trail is the world's longest network of recreational trails. The British Columbia section of the Trail is 76% complete. When fully connected, the Trans Canada Trail will stretch 23,000 km from the Atlantic to the Pacific to the Arctic oceans, linking 1,000 communities and more than 34 million Canadians. Today, more than 16,800 km of Trail are developed and used by millions of Canadians and international visitors to hike, cycle, cross country ski, horseback ride, canoe and snowmobile.
"The Trans Canada Trail is part of our shared Canadian heritage, linking people and communities from coast to coast," said Don Lindsay, president and CEO of Teck. "Many of our employees live and work in the Kootenays, and this investment will help to connect their communities and families, while also helping to build this national legacy for all Canadians."
For more information about the Trans Canada Trail, visit TCTrail.ca.
Order of Canada honours for hockey giant Quinn
Former Canucks coach says he misses being part of NHL
By Ben Kuzma, The Province
Former Vancouver Canucks coach Pat Quinn has added one more award to his long list of accomplishments - the Order of Canada.
"It's not something you sit there and aspire to," said Quinn of the award. "You know a lot of the great names who have been put forth for this honour. This is pretty significant.
"I did what I did in terms of my hockey career because it's some-thing I love and I looked forward to doing it every day, whether it was playing, managing or being involved," Quinn said Sunday after becoming a recipient Friday.
"The only thing I was thinking of is being the best I can be on a daily basis."
Although the Order of Canada may seem like the crowning glory - being recognized for a life-time of outstanding achievement, dedication to the community and service to the nation - don't expect Quinn, who sports eight international medals, to ride into the sunset.
As much as it's an honour to be among the 69 new additions to the Order that now houses 5,000 members since its inception in 1967, Quinn isn't going to recline in his easy chair.
He's not going to fade away, fondly recalling the glory of winning 2002 Winter Olympics gold, twice being a Jack Adams Trophy winner in 1980 and 1992 and nearly capturing a Stanley Cup as coach of the Vancouver Canucks in 1994.
In fact, Quinn, at age 69, wants to stay in the NHL.
"I really miss my day-to-day involvement," said Quinn, who is part owner of the WHL Vancouver Giants and on the Hockey Hall of Fame committee.
"It's been a good part of my life for so long and you get up every morning and you get an opportunity to almost start over again. I miss making a contribution somehow and I don't know if that will happen again, but I would certainly be open-minded."
Aside from going to Game 7 of the Stanley Cup final with the Canucks in 1994, he was with Canadian teams that took gold in Salt Lake City in 2002, and gold with the under-18 and world junior teams in 2008 and 2009. And also gold at the World Cup in 2004.
And if you think Quinn has lost his zest for the game, ask him about that Game 7 against the New York Rangers. He knows how close his Canucks came to the franchise's first Stanley Cup.
"They deserve better - they deserved to win," stressed Quinn. "I've watched that game time and again and we were better than
Whistler celebrates 145 years of Canada
Canada Day celebrations continue through the evening
by Pique Staff
CANADA 1-4-5 Whistler Village was filled with residents and visitors watching the Canada Day parade and taking in other long weekend festivities.
The Canada Day parade made its way through the village, from Whistler Town Plaza to Mountain Square, beginning at noon on Canada Day.
Decorated bikes judged as part of Pique's Canada Day Pedal Parade event joined the entourage through the village.
Whistler Fire Rescue entered a vintage fire truck into the parade. The fully operational vehicle travelled carbon neutral as members of the fire department pulled the truck along the parade route using thick ropes. Other parade entries included the Whistler Intercultural Fest, the Whistler Sailing Club, Whistler Blackcomb and a number of Whistler businesses.
At 2 p.m. Mayor Nancy Wilhelm-Morden was at Whistler Olympic Plaza to share for Canada Day cake. Legendary Canadian children's performer Fred Penner took to the stage following the cake consumption.
Between 5 p.m. and 6 p.m. the Coastal Sound Youth Choir will entertain at Mountain Square.
Vancouver bluessmith Jim Byrnes will play, along with the Sojounrers at Whistler Olympic Plaza starting at 8:30 p.m.
Fireworks are planned for 10:30 p.m. with the best viewing in the village set for Skiers Plaza.
The Whistler Presents concert series, which is bringing in the artists, is part of the RMOW's $2.685 million Festivals, Events and Animation (FE&A) program, funded through the province's Resort Municipality Initiative (RMI) program.
Surrey's all set to celebrate 145
This Sunday the festival city gets in party mode for the nation's birthday
By Dana Gee, The Province
SURREY CANADA DAY
Where: Millennium Park, Surrey, 176 Street & 64th Avenue
When: Sunday, 10 a.m. to 10: 30 p.m.
Pull on some red and white clothes, grab a big blanket and set your course for Surrey this Sunday where you can join thousands of people in wishing Canada a happy 145th birthday.
Quickly becoming the go-to festival location, the folks in B.C.'s fastest growing city know how to do things right as the Surrey Canada Day celebration has repeatedly proven.
For about a decade, 15 acres of Millennium Park has been home to free, all-ages fun, food, fairground, fireworks and fantastic live performances. This year the live roster headliner is the big-time multiple Juno-Award winning rockers The Sam Roberts Band.
"This year we have our biggest rock star ever, Sam Roberts, who performed for Prince William and Kate for their first visit to Canada [July 2011]," said Mary Rukavi-na, manager of special events and filming for the City of Surrey. "So we have a Canadian rock legend that performed for royalty last year performing here for Surrey Canada Day, for free."
The organizers once again expect 100,000 people will stream through the gates to enjoy 100 different exhibitors, a full midway and a day of music that also includes performances by Hannah Georgas, Jordan Cook, Shyama-Priya, Chris Derksen and the Wild Moccasins Dancers.
Food also plays a big part in this day of celebration as the grounds are not covered with just your usual fairground gastronomical gut busters. Instead there are diverse cultural choices when it comes to fuelling up for the days fun.
A veteran of eight Surrey Canada Day celebrations Rukavina does of course have her favourite part of the day.
"My all-time favourite thing is when I walk around and I see all of the different age groups and all the different people there," said Rukav-ina. "When I see little kids with their face painted with the Canadian flag and you look around and everyone is united, that is my favourite thing. You can tell it is such a great atmosphere. I would say half the people there have their face painted with the Canadian flag or the Maple Leaf. When I see that I am so happy to say we are able to put on an event like this, an event that brings everyone together."
Has Surrey Mayor Dianne Watts ever enjoyed a little face painting?
"I have had my face painted, but these days I usually get one of the henna artists to create a cool design on my hand," said Watts, who added she loves to partake in the strawberry shortcake that gets served up at the Seniors' Strawberry Tea.
A successful Canada Day is part and parcel of the Surrey plan to create an urban environment that offers its residents both diversity and community.
"We want to make sure that Surrey is not only the best place to work and invest in but to play in," Rukavina said.
And Surrey likes to play as the municipality-supported events list shows. For instance next up on July 21-22 is the popular Fusion Festival.
"A half a million people attend our major community celebrations throughout the year, and they really add to the vibrancy of our city," said Watts. "It's about community building and connecting with residents. They also reinforce our reputation as a 'Family-friendly City.' "
While Surrey residents support their festival-rich culture Rukav-ina says Vancouverites should make an effort to forget those dated Surrey jokes and cross the Fraser River.
"I would say that stigma is no longer a part of Surrey," said Rukavina. "Our mayor and council have done a great job changing that. The future lives here. We are a growing community, we are a serious com-munity, a fun community. You can hop on the SkyTrain and be in Surrey in less than 20 minutes."
Canada Day In Prince Rupert
Festivities Kick Off at Noon
It’s a picnic in the park for this year’s Canada Day festivities!
The long weekend is just around the corner and the Prince Rupert Special Events Society is gearing up for the nation’s 145th Birthday. The celebrations will be kicking off at noon on Sunday and you’ll find the party at Pacific Mariner’s Memorial Park. There will even be live entertainment for local guests attending the special day.
“We’re going to have musical entertainment throughout the afternoon. We’re going to have the community band. We’re going to have the Rolling Tones. We’re going to have a muskeg swing band. We’re going to have Sarah and Frances are going to come and entertain and as well we’ve got some other bands that are going to come along,” said Joy Sundin, Director at the Special Events Society.
Children’s games, prizes, and ethnic foods will all be part of the fun! Make sure you also head down to the harbour for a special light show.
“Don’t forget the fireworks; they’re going to be at 11:15 at night. That’s weather permitting of course. Make sure we’ve got a high enough sky for those, so those will be over the harbour and you’ll be able to view those from anywhere across the waterfront in Prince Rupert,” said Sundin.
Be sure to bring your best Canada Day swag to this year’s festivities.
No shortage of ways to celebrate Canada's 145th birthday in Winnipeg
For we're a jolly good nation... Picnic at the park? Street festival? Fireworks at The Forks?
By: Carolin Vesely
It's been 145 years since a quartet of provinces became a self-governing dominion of Great Britain and a country was born.
Happy birthday, Canada! You're holding up well.
In honour of the occasion, communities, neighbourhoods and organizations throughout Winnipeg are gearing up to throw parties and host celebrations worthy of the nation that recently ranked fifth in the first-ever World Happiness Report.
Here are a few places around town where you can show your home and native land some true patriot love on her special day Sunday (and eat red-and-white cake):
Canada Day Picnic at the Park
WHERE AND WHEN: Assiniboine Park, starting at 1 p.m.
WHAT: A huge, family oriented, free program sponsored by and named after the Canad Inns hotel chain
HIGHLIGHTS: Magicians, clowns, face painting, games and inflatable rides will keep the kiddies entertained from 1 to 6 p.m. Meet child-rights activist and Free the Children founder Craig Kielburger at the Me to We Booth. Grab your forks, because they'll be cutting the big birthday cake at 3:30 p.m. Fireworks will end the day on an explosive note.
MUSIC: More than nine hours of tunes at the Lyric Stage, starting at 1 p.m. The lineup includes: RCAF Band Air Stream, áa Claque, Fusion Latina, Winnipeg Police Pipe Band, Clyde Heerah and Paradize Band, Magdaragat Philippine, Viva Brasil, Dust Rhinos, Four Mile Road, Marc LaBossiere & Shawn Desman
TIP: Park your vehicle at Canadian Mennonite University and Asper Jewish Community Campus and ride Winnipeg Transit to the park free of charge.
Osborne Village Canada Day Street Celebration
WHERE AND WHEN: The streets of Osborne Village, from River Avenue to McMillan. It actually runs both June 30 and July 1, from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. both days.
WHAT: Winnipeg's largest and longest-running street festival, with musicians, artisans, food vendors, kids games and entertainment and a market atmosphere. No entry fee and all are welcome.
HIGHLIGHTS: Sing and dance in the streets, where you'll find restaurants and cafes serving up a fusion of cuisines from around the globe -- from sushi to satay, African to Australian. Outdoor patios and vendors will abound with a variety of mouth-watering street food, including those delectable mini-doughnuts, which are great washed down with fresh-squeezed lemonade. At the demo area, catch fire and belly dancers in action, and learn how to Zumba or try your hand at Bollywood and salsa dancing.
VILLAGE PEOPLE: This year's event will also celebrate Osborne Village being named Best Neighbourhood in Canada in the Canadian Institute of Planners second annual Great Places in Canada contest. An award presentation will take place at the Gas Station Arts Centre at 1 p.m.
PATRIOTIC DUTIES: Show your national pride by heading to the flag raising July 1 at 11 a.m. at the bell tower/fire hall. Then, at 11 p.m. that night, help start the new tradition where everyone on Osborne Street sings O Canada like one big happy family.
TUNES: Grab a cold one (if you're at least 18) in the beer gardens and listen to an eclectic lineup of bands rock the outdoor stage in front of the Osborne Village Inn. Beer gardens open both days from noon to 11 p.m. Entertainment starts at 1 p.m. Bands this year include (Saturday): Sons of York, They Say, Mad Young Darlings, This Hisses, the Manic Shakes, One Blue Door, Electric Soul and Tim Butler. Sunday features El Diablo, The Treble, Jailbreak, Cheering for the Bad Guy, Jason Maas & the Lower Companions, Legs and The Inh'aliens.
Canada Day at The Forks
WHERE AND WHEN: All over The Forks grounds, from noon until 11 p.m.
WHAT: A full day of family fun -- clowns, musicians, buskers, crafts -- at Winnipeg's original meeting place.
HIGHLIGHTS: Traditional aboriginal drumming, dancing and storytelling at the Odena Celebration Circle from noon to 9 p.m. Free, history-themed fun and games at the Park Canada tent from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Strike a patriotic pose at the free Canada Day photo booth and take home a souvenir of the celebration. Kids, make your own Canadian flag at the Buskers Lookout between 2 p.m. and 6 p.m.
GRAND FINALE: Watch the skies light up above your head from one of the best vantage points -- the river. The Splash Dash Fireworks Tour leaves the port at 10:30 p.m. and the first sparkly explosion goes off at 11 p.m. Tickets are $10 per person.
MUSICAL INTERLUDES: The main (Scotiabank) stage boasts a diverse lineup of local talent starting at 4 p.m. and including Sol James, Don Amero, O' Canada, Sons of York, Jodi King, and Flying Fox and the Hunter Gatherers, with a unique collaboration from hip-hop act the Lytics and the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra to close the show at 10 p.m.
New this year is entertainment on the historic Rail Bridge Stage, starting at 1 p.m. and featuring local acts such as Trio Bembe, Hillbilly Burlesque, Red Moon Road and more.
Be the maple leaf
FRIENDS, CANADIANS, COUNTRYMEN, lend your ears and all your other body parts to the Canadian Living Flag event. More than a giant love-in for our native land, the goal is to help the Downtown BIZ beat six other cities (namely the challenger, Victoria) and create the country's largest living flag. Winnipeg drew 3,400 participants last year; this year's goal is 5,000 bodies. Meet at the Manitoba legislature grounds starting at 9:30 a.m. Photos to be taken between 11:15 a.m. and noon. Free T-shirts on a first-come, first-serve basis. Also, musical performances by Brenlee Martin and Enjoy Your Pumas, and a fly-over by a Hercules aircraft.
CELEBRATE your nation's birth in the other official language in Winnipeg's French quarter, starting at noon, with Art on the Esplanade Riel, horse-drawn carriage rides (pick-up in front of the skateboard park) until 5 p.m., and a visit to historical hot spots such as Saint-Boniface Museum, La Maison Gabrielle-Roy, Fort Gibraltar and Cathedrale Saint-Boniface, which will all be open.
PENNILESS though it may be, the Royal Canadian Mint (520 Lagimodiere Blvd.) is opening its doors to revellers and offering free tours of the money-making facility, wagon rides, clowns and more from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
CELEBRATE Canada's 145 years of self-governance by riding the rails back in time on the Prairie Dog Central, Canada's oldest operating vintage steam locomotive. See the prairies in full bloom as the ol' No. 3 gently delivers you to the charming community of Grosse Isle, where you can wander through the newly renovated Heritage House, nosh on homemade goodies prepared by local vendors, or unwind with live music. Train departs at 11 a.m. and returns at 2:30 p.m. Cost is $26.95 for adults, $19.95 for kids. Book at www.pdcrailway.com
EAT 145th birthday cake in North America's only restored stone fort from the fur trade as costumed guides take you on a tour into our storied past. Lower Fort Garry will offer free admission all day, along with crafts, face painting and entertainment. Located in St. Andrews, 15 minutes north of Winnipeg via Main Street and Highway 9.
Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition June 28, 2012 E8
Canada Day, July 1, 2012
We are proud of the nation we have built together over the last 145 years. Since the earliest days of our history, Canada has been a land of promise. We have built a society that celebrates achievement and excellence, while at the same time maintaining a strong respect for human rights. Our participation in Celebrate Canada activities brings us together, strengthens our communities, and helps us understand the significance of the citizenship we all share.
Parliament Hill in Ottawa
We celebrate Canada Day in grand style in the nation's capital. Every year, tens of thousands of people flock to Parliament Hill to take part in the Canada Day Noon Show with the Governor General, the Prime Minister, and the Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages.
This year, the theme for the Noon Show is "Celebrating the heritage of 1812." As we celebrate Canada's 145th birthday, we celebrate our legacy, our pride and our possibilities!
The 2012 show will include a protocol ceremony and a spectacular flyby of CF 18s and Snowbirds. The following great Canadian talents will offer an unforgettable show:
* Jully Black (Ontario)
* The Drums, Crown Forces 1812 (Ontario)
* Michael Beauclerc (Ontario)
* Feist (Alberta)
* Neverest (Ontario)
* Donny Parenteau (Saskatchewan)
* Roch Voisine (New Brunswick)
* Simple Plan (Quebec)
National Capital Region
Events continue throughout the day in the National Capital Region, including the Evening Show on Parliament Hill, and end with the traditional Canada Day fireworks.
For more information, visit canadascapital.gc.ca/canadaday and take a look at the 2012 Canada Day Activities.
Across the country
Contact your Canadian Heritage Regional Office for information on Canada Day activities taking place near you.
Joins your friends and family, and take part in local community celebrations to mark this important day for all Canadians!
Canadian Heritage resource
Learn more about the History of Canada Day.
On June 20, 1868, a proclamation signed by the Governor General, Lord Monck, called upon all Her Majesty's loving subjects throughout Canada to join in the celebration of the anniversary of the formation of the union of the British North America provinces in a federation under the name of Canada on July 1st.
The July 1 holiday was established by statute in 1879, under the name Dominion Day.
There is no record of organized ceremonies after this first anniversary, except for the 50th anniversary of Confederation in 1917, at which time the new Centre Block of the Parliament Buildings, under construction, was dedicated as a memorial to the Fathers of Confederation and to the valour of Canadians fighting in the First World War in Europe.
The next celebration was held in 1927 to mark the Diamond Jubilee of Confederation. It was highlighted by the laying of the cornerstone by the Governor General of the Confederation Building on Wellington Street and the inauguration of the Carillon in the Peace Tower.
Since 1958, the government has arranged for an annual observance of Canada's national day with the Secretary of State of Canada in charge of the coordination. The format provided for a Trooping the Colours ceremony on the lawn of Parliament Hill in the afternoon, a sunset ceremony in the evening followed by a mass band concert and fireworks display.
Another highlight was Canada's Centennial in 1967 when Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II attended the celebrations with Parliament Hill again being the backdrop for a large scale official ceremony.
The format changed in 1968 with the addition of multicultural and professional concerts held on Parliament Hill including a nationally televised show. Up until 1975, the focus of the celebrations, under the name "Festival Canada", was held in the National Capital Region during the whole month of July and involved numerous cultural, artistic and sport activities, as well as municipalities and voluntary organizations. The celebration was cancelled in 1976 but was reactivated in 1977.
A new formula was developed in 1980 whereby the National Committee (the federal government organization charged with planning Canada's Birthday celebrations) stressed and sponsored the development of local celebrations all across Canada. "Seed money" was distributed to promote popular and amateur activities organized by volunteer groups in hundreds of local communities. The same approach was also followed for the 1981 celebrations with the addition of fireworks displays in 15 major cities across the nation.
On October 27, 1982, July 1st which was known as "Dominion Day" became "Canada Day".
This day in history: July 1, 1967
On Canada’s 100th birthday, Chief Dan George silenced a crowd of 32,000 with his “Lament for Confederation” at Empire Stadium. George’s mournful speech began with, “Today, when you celebrate your hundred years, oh Canada, I am sad for all the Indian people throughout the land.”
George — chief of the Tsleil-Waututh Nation, a Coast Salish band in North Vancouver – was also an author, poet and an Academy Award nominated actor. But above all, he was an activist and an influential speaker on the rights of native peoples of North America. Some of this activism may have stemmed from the fact that, at the age of five, George was placed in a residential school where his First Nations language and culture were prohibited. His “Lament for Confederation” — a scathing indictment of the appropriation of native territory by white colonists — was his most famous speech.
What follows is the complete text:
Lament for Confederation
How long have I known you, Oh Canada? A hundred years? Yes, a hundred years. And many, many seelanum more. And today, when you celebrate your hundred years, Oh Canada, I am sad for all the Indian people throughout the land.
For I have known you when your forests were mine; when they gave me my meat and my clothing. I have known you in your streams and rivers where your fish flashed and danced in the sun, where the waters said ‘come, come and eat of my abundance.’ I have known you in the freedom of the winds. And my spirit, like the winds, once roamed your good lands.
But in the long hundred years since the white man came, I have seen my freedom disappear like the salmon going mysteriously out to sea. The white man’s strange customs, which I could not understand, pressed down upon me until I could no longer breathe.
When I fought to protect my land and my home, I was called a savage. When I neither understood nor welcomed his way of life, I was called lazy. When I tried to rule my people, I was stripped of my authority.
My nation was ignored in your history textbooks - they were little more important in the history of Canada than the buffalo that ranged the plains. I was ridiculed in your plays and motion pictures, and when I drank your fire-water, I got drunk - very, very drunk. And I forgot.
Oh Canada, how can I celebrate with you this Centenary, this hundred years? Shall I thank you for the reserves that are left to me of my beautiful forests? For the canned fish of my rivers? For the loss of my pride and authority, even among my own people? For the lack of my will to fight back? No! I must forget what’s past and gone.
Oh God in heaven! Give me back the courage of the olden chiefs. Let me wrestle with my surroundings. Let me again, as in the days of old, dominate my environment. Let me humbly accept this new culture and through it rise up and go on.
Oh God! Like the thunderbird of old I shall rise again out of the sea; I shall grab the instruments of the white man’s success-his education, his skills- and with these new tools I shall build my race into the proudest segment of your society.
Before I follow the great chiefs who have gone before us, Oh Canada, I shall see these things come to pass. I shall see our young braves and our chiefs sitting in the houses of law and government, ruling and being ruled by the knowledge and freedoms of our great land.
So shall we shatter the barriers of our isolation. So shall the next hundred years be the greatest in the proud history of our tribes and nations.
Vancouver Sun - July 3, 2012