One of the largest battles of the First World War was the Battle of the Somme. It was the largest on the Western Front, and lasted five months. At the time it was referred to as the Somme Offensive, taking place near the river Somme in France. The main intention of the Somme Offensive was to divert the attention of the Germans from Verdun, where the French had suffered heavy losses. Early in 1916, the French had proposed a joint French-British offensive across the river Somme to score a victory for the Allies. On July 1 that year, the battle began. The British army launched the attack on north of the Somme with fourteen infantry divisions, while the French attacked astride and south of the Somme with five divisions. Canada entered the battle as the Canadian Corps on August 30, taking part in a number of attacks in the months of September through November. With over 600,000 losses for both the Allies and the Germans, the results of the Somme seemed pointless, but what Canada took from Somme were important lessons that would improve their tactics later in the war. Changes would be made to the design of shells, the use of artillery, and planning and coordination strategies on the battlefield. The Canadian Corps had already experiment with some of these ideas in the final months of the battle, and would have them fully refined for future battles, such as Vimy Ridge and Passchendaele.
Hear me, my fellow Newfoundlanders, confederation is what we need. Our isolation from the mainland colonies means that we fend for ourselves most of the time. Is this a problem? Yes. Newfoundland is a sustainable colony, but we are not yet thriving. We have the potential to be thriving, but we need help. You may not want to admit it, but we need it. Confederation is what we need, and here is why. First, confederation would make the best of our economy. The attention we would grab from the Europeans with our fishing and mining industries would make our island a sweet spot for settlers and traders. That economic power would make us a prominent figure in the eyes of the confederation. We, all of us, will have a great influence on the economic policy we have as a confederation because Europe will always come to us first. Second, confederation would protect us. Face it, Newfoundland would be done for if America were to come for us because our defences are imaginary, our safety is an illusion. Think about it, our resources are valuable, we are a prime target for the Americans. But rather than have our island picked for invasion by the Americans, we can grow stronger in numbers with the confederation, and receive some desperately needed military assistance. Lastly, many of you may wonder why we would even consider confederating when we have worked so hard to make a responsible government for ourselves. As I said before, our economy will raise our importance in the confederation, and our industries are enough for the taxes that will provide our military. Obviously, some of our newly found autonomy will be lost, but in exchange we will have security, and that is more important right now. My name is Ambrose Shea, and I believe in confederation. Not only is it necessary for Newfoundland, it is essential.
“Ryan said that going into acting as a career meant that he was the first of 12 males in his family to break with tradition in not working for a paper mill. […] the fact that the sons all followed in the footsteps of their fathers and took work at a paper mill gives us a picture of what kind of family Ryan was born into: one of tradition. In any case, Ryan would break the generational pattern by opting for a different path in life.”
This shows how Canada supports individuality. Canada is mainly a liberal and progressive country, one that values each individual over the nation as a whole. In contrast, America leans more towards empowering the nation as a whole. I found this passage inspiring in a way because it shows a young person breaking free from a mold to express their individuality, something I’ve felt like I’ve had to do in the past. I also thought this was funny because it sounds like the set up for a Disney movie.
“On account of his father being away so much, though, from a young age Ryan grew up very attached to his mother and sister, and he has often said that he became conditioned by their feminine company. He later talked about that feminine influence in an interview with The Sunday Times, saying, ‘I feel that I think like a girl, just through osmosis, really, living with my mom and my sister. They talk so much. If you live in a house with just women when your brain is forming, well, I think my thought process became more similar to a woman’s. I talk to my friends and I feel a connection. A lot of my friends grew up with single mothers. And it’s like we communicate differently. I never spent a lot of time around guys.’”
I was a little surprised to read this at first, given a taste of his repertoire, but I realized that I can actually relate to Ryan in this passage. In elementary school, I had trouble fitting in with most of the other boys, but I founds it easier to make friends with the girls at my school. Something about the way I thought just seemed to align better with all the girls I knew at the time. The fact that Ryan admits this shows that Canada respects whichever way you lean and isn’t looking to push you one way or another, once again demonstrating how Canadians value individuality.
“If comments Ryan later made to The Toronto Star are anything to go by, his early school years were happy ones. ‘Canada’s a really beautiful country,’ he told them. ‘And it was nice to grow up in such a multicultural place where racial differences never really entered my mind. I went to kindergarten with people of every colour of the rainbow and my first crush was on an Indian girl.’”
I always say people should act more like children with regards to racial, cultural and ethnic differences. Perhaps what I meant by that was act more like Canadians. I say this because recently I’ve been wondering why we make such a big deal about inclusion and diversity when I see so many different kinds of people getting along and making things together in my community all the time. And then I realized that it’s really more of an American problem. This attitude gives an example of how Canada is ahead of countries like the United States in terms of diversity.
“Faced with this dual academic and social isolation at school, Ryan did what most children experiencing such problems do: he retreated into himself and turned to TV shows and films as a portal to escape into. Later, he spoke of this suddenly difficult period in an interview with Company magazine, telling them: ‘I was a lonely child, I didn’t do well at school and TV was my only friend.’”
This gives us an idea of the role entertainment has in Canada. Movies and TV shows are a part of everyday life for many Canadians, rather than a luxury, which indirectly says something about the financial, or economic state of a lot of Canada. This is also perhaps the most relatable passage I’ve come by in my reading so far. I’ve definitely felt this way before, academically and socially isolated, I still do sometimes, and film is my retreat. The time I started getting into film was a dark time in my school and social life. I was felt lonely and isolated, but I was overwhelmed when I discovered how many wonderful films were out there waiting for me to discover them. Later, Ryan mentions his parents wouldn’t allow him to watch R-rated movies (which makes sense, my parents wouldn’t) but that that’s where he found some movies like First Blood that spoke to him on a personal level. Speaking of…
“Rambo’s story provoked an intense connection in Ryan, so much so that, when the film ended, he felt as if he was John Rambo and the movie was simply playing on. He told About.com that the connection was completely absorbing: “When I first saw First Blood it put a spell on me and I thought I was Rambo. I even thought my face felt like Sylvester Stallone’s face when I touched it.'”
I can personally connect to this. There is one film, which I hold dear to my heart, that had this effect on me when I was 12: Whiplash. I call tithe film that got me into filmmaking because it showed me that great movies can be mad on minuscule budgets and that good filmmaking is a skill, not a commodity. But more importantly, I felt that I deeply related to the main character in the film, that his personality, his wants and fears, were similar to my own and that his release was mine as well. Both First Blood and Whiplash are American-produced movies, which demonstrates that not only is American media present in Canada, but it can have a profound impact on developing minds and emotional patterns. Whether or not that’s a good thing is debatable to a point, but I’m personally glad to have been influenced by the bulk of great American art I’ve consumed.
This is the theme I infer from my reading so far: Our lowest points in life can inspire our greatest talents.
John A. MacDonald was our founding father, the first prime minister of Canada, whose worst mistakes have had lasting negative consequences. Though he opened the first Canadian Parliament, he is also responsible for imposing the Chinese head tax and for introducing residential schools in Canada. Some argue that John A. should be recognized for his achievements in defining Canada as an independent country, while others seek to exploit his darker side. I argue that John A. MacDonald should be removed from the public sphere because his name is offensive to many people, and his values are overall outdated.
Many people find the name John A. MacDonald offensive because their ancestral history aligns with the darker side of his story. During the colonization of Canada, one tactic John A. MacDonald used to move First Nations people onto their reserves was through starvation. In Clearing the Plains: Politics, Starvation, and the Loss of Aboriginal Life, author James Dascuk states that “for years, government officials withheld food from Aboriginal people until they moved to their appointed reserves, forcing them to trade freedom for rations,” and that “once on reserves, food placed in ration houses was withheld for so long that much of it rotted while the people it was intended to feed fell into a decades-long cycle of malnutrition, suppressed immunity and sickness from tuberculosis and other diseases.” Another, perhaps much more infamous, example of how John A. MacDonald mistreated the Indigenous peoples was his action towards residential schools. John A. MacDonald played a crucial role in introducing and promoting residential schools in Canada. Many place the blame on Hector-Louis Langevin, who infamously credited with the initiation of the residential school system, but a closer look shows that John A. MacDonald is equally, if not more, responsible. Langevin may have made strong arguments for the initiation of the residential school system before it was in place, like John A. MacDonald he referred to First Nations people as savages and believed that regular day school was not enough to make a person of First Nations background “civilized” enough, but it was originally John A. MacDonald who hired a politician Nicholas Flood Davin to report on the industrial boarding school system in the United states. It was MacDonald who first wanted to see residential schools put in place and then backed them from Parliament. Although these events happened long ago, the suffering has carried through the generations. Indigenous families have gone through years of mental and physical abuse even as the aftermath of residential schools because their ancestors were mistreated.
But not only were the First Nations people affected, many people of Chinese descent have dark historical ties to MacDonald as well. After the construction of the Canadian Pacific Railway, which is owed almost entirely to than 15,000 Chinese labourers who built the railway, MacDonald imposed a head tax which prevented Chinese people from voting in Canada. He stated, “When the Chinaman comes here he intends to return to his own country; he does not bring his family with him; he is a stranger, a sojourner in a strange land, for his own purposes for a while; he has no common interest with us… has no British instincts or British feelings or aspirations, and therefore ought not to have a vote.” Not only did the head tax discriminate against Chinese people, but it was an awful way to repay the workers who constructed the Canadian Pacific Railway, the dream of John. A MacDonald. The problem with having schools and monuments named after and for John A. MacDonald is that it is offensive to the people who have felt the consequences of his actions. A person of Chinese or First Nations descent whose ancestors have been directly affected by the head tax or residential schools per se may feel unsafe in an environment that commemorates John A. MacDonald as a hero. We have been called to reconcile with our Indigenous peoples and Chinese Canadians for their hardships and injustice.
The opposition would argue that John A. has done too much for Canada to be disregarded and disrespected in this way, but the problem is his values, the values he stood for that influenced our country, are ones Canada is mainly collectively against. John A. MacDonald deserves to have his name taken down is because, overall, his values are outdated, they no longer match the main goals Canada is working towards as a united people. One of these goals is justice for Indigenous people, which John A. MacDonald is seen throughout his history to strongly oppose Indigenous people. In 1887, John A. MacDonald declared, “The great aim of our legislation has been to do away with the tribal system and assimilate the Indian people in all respects with the other inhabitants of the Dominion as speedily as they are fit to change.” Later, in 1894, the “Indian Act” was amended in Canada as an attempt by John A. MacDonald to outlaw the potlatch, an Indigenous tradition. This attempt was mostly unsuccessful due to a lack of enforcement, but it demonstrates the disrespect John A. MacDonald had for the Indigenous people. Like I mentioned above, MacDonald was also racist towards Chinese people, a prominent and increasing demographic in our country today. The ideal many Canadians imagine for our country is diversity of all kinds, which Canada has very progressive with in recent years. If we are to continue this progressive attitude, Canada will be required to abandon those who would hold us back, like John A. MacDonald.
There is no denying that John A. MacDonald has done a huge service to Canada, but to many Canadians John A. MacDonald has also done a huge disservice, and that is something all Canadians should recognize. Canada should continue to educate students and the public on the role John A. MacDonald played in history… All of it. Properly.
I finally got a mentor, and he is awesome. His name is Mark, and he has been a visual effects supervisor on a multitude of blockbuster movies (Tropic Thunder, Dark Shadows, The Great Gatsby, Snowpiercer, Elysium, Thor: The Dark World, The Giver, American Sniper, Suicide Squad, Kingsman: The Golden Circle, to name a few). Mark is also a three-time Emmy nominee a member of the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts & Sciences, meaning he gets to vote on the Oscars. When I asked him how long he had been in the industry and why he wanted to in the first place, he said he had loved art and design from a very young age and so he got his first job and worked his way up to what he really wanted to do in visual effects. Mark has been in the visual effects industry for 25 years. Aside from all of that though, he is a great mentor who has taught me quite in just our first few sessions.
I originally wanted to learn to use Adobe After Effects for this project because I thought it was a standard visual effects program that was easy enough to understand and learn with. When I first asked Mark to be my mentor he said the industry standard program that he and all his fellow visual effects co-workers were using was a program called Nuke. He said that pretty much any movie using visual effects today was using Nuke. Actually buying Nuke for professional use is crazy expensive, but Foundry (The Foundry Visionmongers, the company that owns Nuke) offers a non-commerial version for free for people to learn it comfortably with most of the features in the professional version.
So I went with Nuke, and so far I like it. The image above is the first thing we created in Nuke together. All it is is two stock images merged together. At are first meeting, Mark showed me how to perform all the basic functions of programs like Photoshop in Nuke. The way Nuke works, unlike layer-based programs like Photoshop, is with nodes. If you take a screenshot of a Nuke project, it looks complicated, but I found it very intuitive.
At our second meeting, Mark showed me how to track objects in Nuke. He brought a sheet of paper with markings on it, I filmed it in motion, and we tried adding an image in Nuke. I was pretty impressed with how smooth it turned out. After that we tried the same thing on a clock. Mark went all out and said we should make the clock go all wonky like it were part of some sci-fi movie where time was being warped or something like that. So we did. He had a way of making the learning very practical for me. Oh, the edge of the clock is getting in the way of our image. Time to learn how to track another mask.
I think my mentor likes teaching me. He is very friendly. He said he was surprised to meet someone who was young and wanted to learn about visual effects. I was actually surprised to hear that. I guess he is excited to share his knowledge with someone genuinely interested in what he does, just like I am. Overall, things are going really well and I look forward to learning more with my mentor.
The Métis are a group of people who, under the Constitution Act of 1982, are recognized as an aboriginal people of Canada, along with the First Nations and Inuit. The true description of the name itself is a messy topic. Its meaning has changed through history and even today it lacks legal definition. Today, the term Métis, meaning “mixed” in old French, is commonly used to refer to people of mixed European and Indigenous ancestry as a result of the many European settlers taking Indigenous women as wives during the fur trade. The focus of this investigation is this question: How did the Métis people develop their identity over the course of the fur trade? Why is this an important and significant question to ask about the past? It helps people understand how history has lasting effects. The Métis people are a people whose culture is rooted in their history because of the consequences of the fur trade.
Why did it happen the way it did and what were the consequences? During the late 17th century, the height of the North American fur trade, many European traders and fur trappers married Indigenous women in the areas they settled in. This included, but was not limited to, Cree, Objiwe, Algonquin, Mi’kmaq, and Saulteaux women. These marriages were referred to by the French as “marriage à la façon du pays” (or “marriage according to the custom of the country” in English). Most of the settlers were either French or British. Most of the French settlers were Catholic. It was at this time that the first generation of Métis children were born. The children of these marriages grew up with the cultures of their mothers but were exposed to Catholic beliefs as well as Indigenous beliefs. Many of the fur trappers lived with their Native wives in their tribes, providing a primarily First Nations environment for their children. Overall, Métis children were then typically more aboriginal. However, these first generation Métis were generally French-speaking. In the 18th century, the Métis people started marrying among themselves. This continued into the 19th century. Later in the 18th century, British settlers entered the fur trade. English and Scottish men came to Canada as traders and they too took First Nations women as wives. Their descendants were English-speaking, but unlike the French settlers before them, these British settlers were not as kind to Métis culture. These British settlers were opposed to Catholicism. Most of them were either Protestant or Presbyterian. This caused tension between the Métis people and the European settlers. In 1812, when the fur trade had moved west, the Red River Colony was established. This is where the Métis Nation emerged as a political force in 1869, when Louis Riel established the Métis Provisional Government in what is now known as Manitoba.
How have our lives and conditions similar to those found in this research and how have they changed? Religious views are no longer being opposed or criticized in Canada, or at least not to the scale they were during the time of the fur trade. Catholic, Protestant, Presbyterian, and other forms Christianity are acceptable in Canada along with Indigenous belief systems and other religions from other parts of the world. Marriage is still a normal part of everyday life in Canada, but its role in our society has changed. Today, marriage is seen as more of a choice than a necessity. Of course, racial tension has died down significantly over the years, and interracial marriage is a common practice, especially in Canada. However, the ratio between Indigenous people and immigrants, including European settlers and their descendants, has grown tremendously over the last century. Indigenous people currently make up less than 5% of the population of Canada. The world the birthed the Métis people is very different from the one we live in presently. It is unlikely that a similar event would arise in Canada today.
What conclusions can be reached about the inquiry question based on this research? The Métis people, though a mix of European and Indigenous bloodlines, are first and foremost an aboriginal group in Canada. Their cultures have remained primarily more Indigenous throughout the centuries. This is because the children of the original marriages between European settlers and Indigenous women were usually raised by their mothers. Many of the children were even raised in First Nations villages. The Métis people are unique because they have ties to both Indigenous belief systems and Catholicism. Métis culture was not a result of forced influence from European settlers as some might assume, but a result of cultural preservation and preservation of values by the Indigenous people over the years. Though standards of marriage have changed, and cultural diversity in Canada has inflated, Métis Canadians have still managed to keep their unique culture alive to this day.
One particularly significant event in the history of Canada is the War of 1812. This is mainly a political event in our history because it involved the United States attempting to seize control over parts of Canada. The United States was unsuccessful in seizing control over any part of Canada during the war but managed to capture Lake Eerie (nice try). The ideas of Canadians in this historic event were not intended to bring us closer to a state of postnationalism because at this point in history Canada just wanted to be a state of its own and not lose its territory to American invaders. However, it did help Canada protect and nourish those ideas in our country today such as the idea of postnationalism. It showed that Canada was most certainly a nation of its own and was willing to fight under its own flag to protect itself and its people. Without having the War of 1812, Canada might not have the luxury it does today of being able to argue its own identity as a nation. At the time, the population of Canada was not as mixed as it is today, and the people were not on inclusion and empowerment, especially during the war. But if Canada had not fought for its values back in 1812, we would not be able to fight for our own values today, even though those values have changed. If the Americans had seized control of Canada in 1812, our values would align to theirs and probably not the ones we cherish today such as our multiculturalism. It is my personal there is no point in trying to define a specific Canadian identity. Maybe a long time ago, like 1812, that would be a more realistic and admirable goal for Canada. But in this day and age, Canada is so diverse already that our diversity has become what defines us as a country, and I think we should stick to it. So, in the end, the victory of Canada against the American invasions of 1812 ended up being a crucial step towards helping Canada achieve its postnational state.
My learning this week has been less exciting. What I have done is basically combined what I have learned so far and used it to create something I had in mind a while ago.
A few weeks earlier, it was foggy, and fog is my favourite weather of all because everything just looks more cinematic in the fog. So I grabbed my camera and went out to film random things in the fog. I kind of thought, “Hey, you could use this for In-Depth,” to myself, because I originally wanted to add a fake skyline into the background (not of this shot in particular). But then this shot I took on top of the mall stood out as particularly unpleasant to me for some reason. I realized the colour and quality of the sky did not match the foggy aesthetic of my other shots. Then a video in my YouTube feed told me what I needed to do (link at the bottom of the page).
The methods they used in the video seemed a bit complicated, but I was still able to make something I was pleased with. All I really wanted to do was make the sky more dynamic. I filmed with the intent of adding effects later, like I said I would try to do more, but not this one. On some monitors the original video looks too blueish and uneven, and overall just plain. So I decided to fix it.
I disliked the quality of the sky in the stock footage because it too did not match the aesthetic I was going for, so I did some light colour grading (no pun intended) to blend the best qualities of the two shots.
And by the way, these “other shots” I keep mentioning will all been shown at some point. Videos like these are going to be what my final product will be made of, all strung together into one massive montage of my work and progress.
Now that I think about it, it is pretty exciting. This is the kind of stuff I had in mind when I wrote out what I wanted to do for this project at the beginning. Too often I see a beautiful sky while filming and wish I could capture it in its full glory on camera. This does not help me or my camera do exactly that by any means, but it does allow me to still get an expressive and detailed sky in my shots while still being able to capture other objects in the frame in their full detail as well.
So in addition to that, I may have found a someone with a profession in visual effects who may be willing to mentor me. The work he specializes in is not exactly what I had in mind, but it almost sounds better, and so I am willing to see what he has to offer.
Film Riot Tutorial: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uusiiyz7oSc&t=204s
Cloudy Sky Timelapse Footage: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=61BLn00AN_w
Music by Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=at6Uk5Ff8Rw
What is the story of my fidget cube?
My fidget cube is a primary source of information for its own story and the story of the “fidget epidemic” of the late 2010s. It was given to me by my friend Owen as a joke, but there is a lot of historical value packed into this little cube. The original fidget cube was invented by brothers Matthew and Mark McLachlan. It was first produced by Antsy Labs, which they co-founded, in Colorado in 2016 after becoming one of the highest-funded Kickstarter campaigns ever. Around the time that the fidget cube came to be, people were becoming more aware of conditions like ADD, ADHD and autism. Looking back on the history of the fidget cube, one might draw the conclusion that the fidget cube was made for people with these types of conditions. However, what actually happened was quite the opposite. This was not the target audience the Lachlan brothers had in mind, but they were pleased to see people expand on their original concept. In one interview, they stated, “We had hoped that Fidget Cube would become a tool that people would see value in outside of just being a simple desk toy, and our community has made it known that it will be.” What is interesting about the fidget cube and why I chose to write about it is its looks can be deceiving to someone who has never seen one before. It has so many buttons and knobs that are tangible and you interact with, but they all do nothing, supposedly. The fidget cube may very well be an item of confusion for the historians of the future. One might interpret the fidget cube to be a remote control of some sort, or a replica of one made for children. In reality, it was made for people with physically undemanding professions such as working in an office with a tendency to, well… fidget. We can infer that Matthew and Mark were not only people of physically undemanding professions but that thoughtfulness and self-reflection were in their personality traits (or at least one of them). What we can learn from this source is that there was a time in history when boring sit-at-a-desk jobs were popular enough that someone thought it a good idea to make a device (toy, really) to combat the natural fidgeting many people in these professions. We also know that this device was popular with younger people as well because some kid named Elyjah had one 2017, and so did his friend Owen, as did many other kids at the time. The fidget cube was brought, innocently enough, into the world for the office drones and hyperactive students who needed an outlet for all that extra energy. It grew far beyond the success its creators had expected and unintentionally brought eyes closer to the topics of attention deficit disorders and autism. But the story of the fidget cube is not complete as many questions still arise even for those currently witnessing its prime era. Was the fidget cube popular in other parts of the world other than North America? What exactly was the age range that the fidget cube appealed to? What place the fidget cube have in Western culture? Does the fidget cube have a place outside Western culture?
How can we make sense of the complex flows of history?
I think this question will be the one that will provide the most vibrant and challenging Social Studies experience for our class this year. It is the most important question to consider this term for our Social Studies class going forward. The vagueness of any answer that comes to mind for this question is greater than what comes to mind when asked How do we decide what is important to learn about the past? or How do we know what we know about the past? because it feels unexplored. Maybe those other two questions seem hard to answer as well, but the analysis that this question requires of us is not something we Grade 10 kids have actually thought about in the past. Most of our prior Social Studies curriculum has consisted of learning the events that happened in history and why they are important, the “make sense” part is left to the teachers. In Socials 9 we touched on subjects like “continuity and change” but to me it felt sidelined because regardless our curriculum was still very much learning of the events that happened and their significance. There is nothing wrong with just that, and when we brought in that “continuity and change” element, things were definitely more interesting. Something like our French revolution projects where everyone was a responsible for different character who took part in the French revolution in some way. Or something like Hamilton where everyone was responsible for a different song/chapter in the story of Alexander Hamilton, which we then pieced together. That made it feel like the making sense part was more of our own interpretation and it came more naturally. So coming back to the question, why is it important? Why should this be our focus for this term? Understanding the complex flows of history is no doubt an important part of Social Studies, or will be at some point, but it is something that we need to learn to do autonomously. We already had a great start last year with Hamilton and the French revolution and I think it would be a great idea to continue on that path of more intuitive and natural learning about this topic. If we are to ask this question in our work, then it will be something new and challenging for sure.