WWII DOL – Canadian perspective on the Holocaust

The main cause of the Holocaust started when Adolf Hitler was appointed German chancellor on January 30, 1933, setting in motion what would become the Nazi genocide against Jewish people. Negativity about Jews quickly spread across the world and when it got to Canada, government policies were made stating that Jews were a potential threat to the nation’s health. Canadians supported the policies and Canada was becoming less welcoming towards the Jewish. The Jewish didn’t feel safe, they were especially vulnerable in Quebec and swastika clubs were organized in Ontario. AToronto’s Christie Pits Park during a baseball game on August 16, 1933, a rare act of Nazi-inspired anti-Semitic violence broke out. Fights exploded after a local pro-Nazi youth group unveiled a flag with a swastika. The opposing Jewish club and fans were infuriated by the act. Luckily there were no fatalities, but it was a warning to the Jewish Canadians that they had only escaped their fate by one generation. Canada then placed Jews in the “least desirable” immigrant groups and people thought the more Jews the country had, the more problems they would have. So, between 1933-1947 only 5,000 Jewish refugees were permitted to enter Canada, the poorest record among western countries. This new placement is also one of the causes to the rejection of the MS St. Louis on June 7, 1939. Fleeing from the German Nazis, 907 Jewish refugees were denied entry to Cuba, numerous Latin American countries, and the United States on the St. Louis, before finally getting denied in Canada. Only a few Canadian citizens asked the government to provide sanctuary for the refugees, but their request was quickly refused. The ship was sent back to Europe where 254 of the 907 passengers were murdered in the Holocaust.  

Now, thankfully, Canada is no longer like that; we do not dismiss refugees in need, and there are no policies that discriminate anyone. Throughout the 1930s there were only about 170,000 Jews in Canada, compared to the minimum of 308,995 according to a 2001 census; over the span of 60 years, the Jewish population has increased by 181.76%. This, and other more accepting immigration policies, has changed Canada socially and economically for the better. 

This event contributing to making Canada more economically autonomous because, even though most Canadians would hate to say this back then, the Jewish people helped our economy a lot. Wanting to fight more for their people and less for their country about 17,000, roughly one-fifth of the country’s Jewish male population, enrolled in the Canadian army. 421 Canadian Jewish soldiers were died in service and 1,971 received military awards. They fought with us even though they thought we were against them; that built up our army’s reputation and the army itself, and it is something we continue to build on today. 

Best link

Canada and the Holocaust

dol – Canada Roaring 20s

Cause and Consequence

The roaring 20s was the period directly following World War I. As such, Canadians were eager to enjoy life, leading to increased innovation, consumerism, and prosperity. Canada underwent significant cultural, political and economic change. The beginning of the 20s was marked by Canada joining the League of Nations, an intergovernmental organization founded as a result of the Paris Peace Conference which ended World War I. With separate representation in the League of Nations and decision-making autonomy, Canada began to see itself as an independent nation.

Economic Factors:  The 20s began with a weaker economy. As soldiers returned from the war, Canadians initially struggled to find jobs. This sudden economic transition also led to a crash in the farmers wheat market, sparking the establishment of the Progressive Party of Canada. However, Canada’s economy flourished in the mid-twenties, with its dependence shifting from Britain to the United States. Foreign demand for Canadian raw goods such as wheat and timber increased. The urbanization of Canada’s economy shifted the focus of the economy from farming to industry and services. Additionally, the US’s involvement in bootlegging alcohol during Prohibition impacted the Canadian black market. Prohibition was completely in effect in the US, but was repealed in Canada in the 20s and replaced by government regulation. Despite the US’s help in growing Canada’s economy, the US exploited Canada’s reliance through setting up businesses in Canada to avoid paying taxes. The US also smuggled alcohol from Canadian manufacturers.

Social Factors: Though the Roaring 20s may seem like a liberating era, social issues still existed within Canada. After the military discharged soldiers, they struggled to adapt to normal life. Women’s suffrage vastly increased and the role of women changed, including the rise of “flapper” culture and heightened freedom. However, though they were finally allowed to vote, women were still struggling to earn decent wages and combat inequality. In 1929 women were at least granted the right to be considered “persons under Canadian law” which allowed them to qualify for appointment to the Senate. This law excluded Asian women. In the 20s, a collective union of all the workers in Canada called One Big Union (OBU) formed to protest unfair working wages in Canada. 

Technology and quality of life drastically improved. Increased demand for automobiles led to highway construction. Radio stations and music grew in popularity, and medical inventions such as insulin were developed in this era.

Historical Perspective:

Canadians at the time were very optimistic about the 20s. Especially given the ending of the World War, Canadians were excited about the coming times.

Image result for Canada world war I ending newspaper

In terms of labour, labour unions gained traction.

Image result for canada roaring 20s newspaper

Most Canadians did not look favorably upon prohibition.

Image result for canada 1920s newspaper

Continuity and Change

This era dramatically shifted Canadian values. Canada began to view itself as an independent nation with its own values and norms. Unions and farmers led to progressive parties that pushed for welfare for farmers and labourers. Increased women’s suffrage and the implementation of prohibition increased women’s voices in the general public and led to a far more liberal culture. Robert Borden’s administration saw prohibition as a way to use women’s suffrage to gain a second (delayed) mandate and, simultaneously, a victory on the issue of conscription. The rise of advertisements increased consumerism and innovation that led to the development of several products. The Roaring 20s was a time period that sparked the modern norms of today, including women’s rise and economic innovation.

Historical Significance

Fay Wray Speech

 Dangling from the giant hand of King Kong, while airplanes fire their machine guns at the beast, the damsel in distress of the 1933 King Kong was portrayed by the Canada born Fay Wray.  Fay Wray and Robert Riskin: A Hollywood Memoir was written by their daughter Victoria Riskin and is the story of the love between Fay and her husband Robert Riskin. Before it gets to their love, it tells of the journey to Fay’s fame and all the struggles that came with it. Being one of the first scream queens, Fay Wray represented Canada in the movie industry in the 1920s. Coming from a family in poverty, her hard work and determination shines through in her successes and shows the heart of a true Canadian. 

On September 15, 1907, on a small plot of land in a house built by her father, in Mountain View, Alberta, a little girl by the name of Vina Fay Wray was born. Fourth child of Joseph Wray and Elvina (aka Vina) Marguerite. Her father, Joseph, started a sawmill that became quite successful. Her and her family were happily living in, what Joseph called, Wrayland. That happiness soon faded; before she turned three, her mother, Vina, was sent away for months to an asylum due to mental health problems. Fay and her siblings got separated due to the fact Joseph couldn’t work and take care of a family on his own. When Vina was finally released, the first thing she did was reclaim her children. The sawmills success plummeted which forced them to move away so Joseph could find work. Hopping from job to job Joseph was never able to find a sturdy job and he refused to let his wife work. Now a family of eight, it was becoming harder and harder to provide. Eventually, under all the pressure, Joseph left, leaving Vina to provide for her six children. Fay’s brothers woke up early in the morning, bought as many papers as they could for 5 cents, and then sold them for 50 cents; paper sales and a few dress sales where what the family of now seven were living off. Most nights they had nothing to eat but bread soup.  

At the age of fourteen, Fay was shipped off with a 21-year-old man on a train bound to Los Angles in hope of succeeding in the difficult movie industry in 1921. She was determined to make it big out in big Hollywood and took any role she got, from small commercials, to playing a clown, she did it all. It wasn’t until 1923, two whole years of living in Hollywood and playing small roles, that Fay got her first leading role in the film Gasoline love. From there, her career took off. Once she had made enough, she used her earnings to buy her family a house in Hollywood and supported them in comfort. After this she knew that her family was going to be okay, and her determination payed off. Seventy years later, she went back to the small town of Cardston where she was born as their most famous citizen. The Kaini First Nations elders anointed her with an official Indian name, Little Beaver Women. Making her home town and nation proud, she came back to her first home to remember where she came from.  

Hard work pays off, and no matter where you come from, you can make it big somewhere and somehow. As a Canadian female in the 1920s, Fay was a minority in multiple areas, but when she set her mind to something, she was able to do it. It was hard for her to start off, but she pushed through those hard times. So, if there are difficult times in your life, look at them the way Fay Wray thinks of them when she says “it was good for us I suppose. Those kinds of times produced qualities in us that make us better for having had them.”  

Independent Novel Study Speech



Crowds love a good outfit. Crowds love a good performer. And crowds love national pride. These were the things Emily Pauline Johnson embodied when she was an admired performer and poet of Canada. When Canada was a small child still strongly tied to its British roots, she was an artist of Canadian identity. Could a former colony establish its own literary culture shaped by its own history and geography?


This was the question Johnson sought to answer. Raised by a British mother and a Mohawk father, Johnson used her mixed heritage and dramatic flair to tell stories of Canadian identity post Confederation. The story of her life is told through Charlotte Gray’s biography, Flint and Feather. What Flint and Feather tells us is that Canadian identity is fluid, and we can use our voices to shape our stories.




Emily Pauline Johnson was born in the Six Nations Iroquiois Reserve in 1861. Her name Tekahionwake literally means (“double life”). As such, Johnson’s life was heavily influenced by her mixed-race identity as (Iroquois) and British. Johnson grew up learning to embrace both her Indigenous and European roots.


But having a multicultural life didn’t come easy. Pauline Johnson’s identity was as uncertain as the region she lived in, a vast and largely unexplored forest stretching from the Great Lakes northward. Tensions between Europeans and the Indigenous peoples was high. When Johnson was just a child, her own Indigenous father stumbled into the house with blood pouring out of his mouth. An attack perpetrated by two non-native bootleggers. This was only the start of a conflict that would escalate to great heights.


Things only grew worse when the Province of Canada transferred jurisdiction over Indian matters to its British North American colonies, expanding on the Gradual Civilization Act, absorbing native peoples into European-settler society. Pauline watched as places such as Brantford or London grew with economic wealth as her own indigenous hometown seemed to be left behind in the dust.


In the midst of this assimilation, Johnson used her gifts to illustrate the stories of indigenous peoples when these stories were rejected and looked over. In 1887, she wrote ode to brant, which was a testament to fading Indigenous culture within Canada. In her poem, she lamented “Indian graves and Indian memories will fade as night goes on”. But what makes her someone special, and someone we should care about, is the fact that her main message wasn’t just injustice towards indigenous peoples. What she wanted to show through her writing was that European immigrants and natives could achieve common brotherhood, much like her own individual identity. Pauline’s theme was Canadian patriotism, she pushed for reconciliation and collaboration under a nation with a myriad of identities and beliefs.


The pinnacle of Pauline’s success was when she was asked to write for Songs of the Great Dominion in 1889. The anthology was a collection of the Confederation poets, who were young poets in a young nation. The tone was fiercely Canadian. Perhaps her most famous poem was Cry of an Indian Wife, in which she writes about the Northwest Rebellion from an entirely different point of view. As French Canadians and Metis were outraged over Riel’s death, Pauline took on the role of a wife of an indigenous warrior who went to fight in the rebellion. She spoke about the great injustice to indigenous peoples but then goes on to speak from the perspective of a European wife. Her poem spoke of the divisiveness of the two dominant Canadian identities and managed to weave them into a forceful poetic performance that would impact audiences for years.



Pauline’s stories still stand true today. Canadian identity isn’t defined by a single image. Our country’s history comes from a myriad of indigenous and European culture. But regardless of what happens among us, we’re all made of flint and feather, a nation that can stand under our pride of being Canadian and a nation that embraces the mixed identity we share.


In the words of E Pauline Johnson :

“Few of us have the blood of kings, few are of courtly birth,

few are rogues of doubtful name and worth;

But we all have one credential that entitles us to brag–

That we were born in Canada beneath the British flag.”


Sir John A. Macdonald: The Canadian Patriot


In an age of progressing social views, Canadian values are shifting to adapt to the growing discourse around minority groups and historical figures. As information about John A Macdonald’s controversial legacy is resurfacing in the eyes of the general public, Canadians are scrutinizing the past of their first prime minister. While advocates of Macdonald emphasize his contributions to Canada’s formation as an individual nation, those who push for his removal believe that his discriminatory views towards indigenous and Chinese peoples warrant the erasure of his name from public establishments. Due to his success in building Canada as an independent nation, Macdonald’s political, social, and economic legacy should not be removed from the public sphere.

John A. Macdonald’s National Policy cemented the future of Canadian autonomy. The National Policy, in effect from 1879 to the Second World War, was a multifaceted strategy which included conservative economic policies, increased immigration, and the construction of the Canadian Pacific Railway. Macdonald believed that a successful union could only last if it was strengthened by the creation of a strong national economy (Bélanger). The economic program of the National Policy included high tariffs to shield Canadians from American competition and to “restore the confidence of Canadians in the development of their own country” (Brown). The policy reduced manufacturing costs for domestic producers while making Canadian goods comparatively cheaper to American goods in order to encourage domestic purchases (Bélanger). Furthermore, Macdonald’s championship of the Canadian Pacific Railway allowed for increased trade and development between Eastern Canada and British Columbia. This also grew the influx of immigrants, which contributed to the development of Canadian infrastructure and cities (Lavallé). Without the National Policy’s impact on the uncertain state of the Canadian economy, Macdonald’s goal of making certain that Canada did not become America would not be a reality (Gwyn). Macdonald’s vital work in forming an autonomous nation should be recognized by the public within the very country he campaigned for.

In contrast, supporters of the removal of Macdonald from the public sphere draw on his discriminatory policies against indigenous and Chinese peoples, citing his choice to use underpaid Chinese immigrants to build his railway and his advocacy for the assimilation of indigenous peoples into western society in his 1883 platform (Hamilton). This rhetoric entirely ignores the historical norms and values of the time and discredits Macdonald’s comparatively progressive social views. Without a powerful figure such as Macdonald to propose innovative policies such as women’s voting rights, the Northwest Mounted Police, and the support of French-speaking Canadians, non-discriminatory policies would not be possible. In 1885, Macdonald became the first national leader in the world to attempt to extend the vote to women (Gwyn).  Additionally, he was a supporter of French-Canadians and the impartiality of the law through the NWMP. He believed in “equal rights of every kind of language, or religion, of property and of person” (Gwyn). Macdonald’s ambitious political platform of social cohesion within Canada was the foundation for Canadian values that hold immense importance today.

John A Macdonald’s long-lasting legacy is widely controversial, with supporters focusing on his contributions to the growth of Canada as a country and opponents criticizing his derogatory beliefs and policies. When one considers Macdonald’s role in bolstering social unity and allowing the Canadian economy to become self-assured and independent, Macdonald’s construction of an entire autonomous nation far outweighs the controversial aspects of his life. As values and norms shift in a rapidly progressing society, it is crucial to continue publicizing the figures who pushed for the development of our values as a whole. Sir John A. Macdonald gave Canada the social, political, and economic strength to rally behind our viewpoints and become the nation we are proud of.

Works Cited

Brown, Robert Craig. “National Policy.” National Policy | The Canadian Encyclopedia, 2006, www.thecanadianencyclopedia.ca/en/article/national-policy. Accessed 5 May 2018.

Bélanger, Claude. “The National Policy and Canadian Federalism.” The National Policy and Canadian Federalism – Studies on the Canadian Constitution and Canadian Federalism – Quebec History, 2009,  faculty.marianopolis.edu/c.belanger/quebechistory/federal/npolicy.htm. Accessed 7 May 2018.

Gwyn, Robert J. “Canada’s Father Figure.” Canada’s Father Figure – Canada’s History, 6 Jan. 2016, www.canadashistory.ca/explore/prime-ministers/canada-s-father-figure. Accessed 6 May 2019.

Hamilton, Graeme. “’A Key Player in Indigenous Cultural Genocide:’ Historians Erase Sir John A. Macdonald’s Name from Book Prize.” National Post, 29 May 2018, nationalpost.com/news/canada/a-key-player-in-indigenous-cultural-genocide-historians-erase-sir-john-a-macdonalds-name-from-book-prize. Accessed 5 May 2019.

Lavallé, Omar. “Canadian Pacific Railway.” The Canadian Encyclopedia, 24 Jan. 2018, www.thecanadianencyclopedia.ca/en/article/canadian-pacific-railway. Accessed 5 May 2019.

How Sir John A. Macdonald Used His Power

If you had the power of being the first leader for a new country how would you use it? Sir John A. Macdonald was the first prime minister of Canada and he used power for the greater good, of himself. He was manipulative and made many empty promises. He has been known for “charges of racism and sexism,” and for these reasons is why Macdonald’s name and likeness should be removed from the public sphere (Symons).

Imagine being a woman in the late 19th century and you were told that there may be a chance for you to vote. A promise had been made and you were told that your prime minister “believed that women, as a whole, were conservative,” and you thought finally, you would be able to have your say in politics (Gwyn). Then, out of the blue, you were told that the promise that had been made to you was never meant to be kept. This is what happened to Canadian women in the late 19th century. Macdonald had made a promise to the women and it’s “true that Macdonald was interested in attracting their votes,” but “even if the small number of women who might qualify all cast their ballots for him, Macdonald would have lost the votes of an incomparably larger number of men” which is all that mattered to Macdonald at the time, votes. He only wanted women to be able to vote because then he thought he would get more votes for himself, but when he realized that by allowing women to vote he would lose the votes of men, he retracted his proposal. He would’ve lost more votes of men than he would’ve gained from women, so he didn’t want to risk it. This shows how he wasn’t making the proposal for equality for women, but for his own benefits and therefore should be removed from the public sphere.

Now, on one hand, “there is abundant evidence of [Macdonald’s] habit of genuine kindness to many people – men, women, and children regardless of age, occupation, status, faith, culture, or race,” but that is just how he was mostly seen in the public eye (Symons). On the other hand, “Canada’s first prime minister, was an architect of Indigenous genocide,” (Ballingall). Macdonald mistreated many Indigenous people and created residential schools. The decision to open residential schools was “one of the most problematic in our history,” where it took children from their homes, away from their families, forbade them to speak their native language, and forced them to learn a religion that was not their own. When justifying the idea, Macdonald referred to the Aboriginals as “savages” and if one was to learn from their parent they would be “simply a savage that can read and write”. With residential schools having at least 6,000 children die while in school, “almost everybody was fine with the expectation that the native way of life would soon be extinct,” (Hopper). Not only did Macdonald say these diminishing words about Indigenous in the first place, he also said them openly in public. He was publicly discriminative towards Indigenous people without hesitation and should be removed from the public sphere for it.

Sir John A. Macdonald, the manipulative “architect of Indigenous genocide,” who “famously set out to ‘kill the Indian in the child’,” has no place in the public sphere as the great public figure he is seen as today (Dimaline). These are just a few amongst many mistakes and poor decisions that Macdonald has made that we do not acknowledge. The removal of Macdonald in the public sphere will lessen tensions in the relationship between the Indigenous. Knowing how he used his power for himself and the people must be taught to get a full understanding of Sir John A. Macdonald as the First Prime Minister of Canada.


Work cited

Gwyn, Richard J. “Canada’s History.” 6 Jan. 2015. Sir John A. Macdonald has been caricatured as a drunkard and a crook. But without him there would be no Canada.


Ballingall, Alex. “Sir John A. Macdonald: Architect of Genocide or Canada’s Founding Father? .” The Toronto Star , 25 Aug. 2017.

Hopper, Tristan. “Sure, John A. Macdonald Was a Racist, Colonizer and Misogynist —but so Were Most Canadians Back Then.” NationalPost, 10 Jan. 2015.

Dimaline, Cherie. “Why John A. Macdonald’s Name Doesn’t Belong on Canada’s Schools.” Today’s Parent, 24 Aug. 2017.


Fay Wray

“There had been no money in their tiny home, no man to provide for them, six hungry mouths and some days nothing to feed them but bread soup.” (3) 

What I found interesting about this quote was how I would always confuse the word bread soup for bread and soup. To me this just shows how I didn’t realize how bad things were back in the 1910’s when there wasn’t a prominent male figure providing. When I read it I see bread and soup, as in two separate things, but when rereading it and reading bread soup, I realize how they only had pieces of bread in warm water and called it bread soup.

Canadian Biography Check-in: Flint and Feather by Charlotte Gray

“Indian graves and Indian memories will fade as night goes on.

Forgive the wrongs my children did to you,

And we, the redskins, will forgive you too.”


Canadian Identity:

E Pauline Johnson’s “Ode to Brant” illustrates the shift in Canada’s policies towards the assimilation of indigenous culture. Originally dedicated to the death of her Mohawk grandfather, Johnson’s ode adopts a darker tone. This line is a reflection of the growing cultural tension within Canada at the time and the internal tension that existed within Pauline’s mixed upbringing. The Confederation of Canada brought economic and industrial growth that excluded the Six Nations Reserve and Iroquois people. In 1857, the Province of Canada passed the Gradual Civilization Act, which aimed to assimilate native peoples into European society and culture. Canadian identity at the time was strongly loyalist and tied to British identity. Native peoples had to demonstrate their “morality” and loyalty towards British ideals. A series of Indian Acts followed, aiming to speed up settlement within Canada.

Although her work is a direct critique of the patronizing views of the time, her poetry is never particularly pessimistic. Rather, audiences revered her for her ability to strengthen Canadian identity through discussing both her European and indigenous heritage. Pauline pushed for collaboration and reconciliation between natives and European immigrants. Her personal heritage is a microcosm of the patriotism she pushed for; her mother and father created a loving family life in which both European and indigenous culture were equally celebrated.

Nowadays, Canadian culture is moving towards reconciliation. Pauline reflects Canadian values of reconciliation, collaboration, and coexistence with all cultures rather than dramatic power dynamics. Her strength of character exemplifies Canadian honesty and perseverance.

She made a vital discovery: “crowds love uplifting patriotism” (216).

Personal Interest:

I was intrigued by the abrupt and powerful nature of Pauline’s writing.  Her poetry is more renowned for its performance than its written content. With a European mother and Mohawk father, Pauline’s tenacity to showcase her indigenous culture really inspired me. I also like to use creative means to express my own identity and to address issues that are important to me. This quote illustrates a style of writing that is clear, concrete, and poignant. My personal writing goal is to be able to portray whole stories with single lines.

“How could a Canadian poet steeped in British Romantic poetry, in whicn nature is used as a metaphor for both God and the human mind, reconcile this tradition with the vast, untamed landscape of the Great Dominion of the North? Could a former colony establish its own literary culture shaped by its own history and geography?”

Canadian Identity:

In the wake of Confederation, a new era of Canadian literature emerged. Dubbed the “Confederation Poets”, a small group of rising poets were featured in William Lighthall’s anthology, Songs of the Great Dominion. They argued about the challenges facing Canadian expression and cultural identity. Pauline and other notable artists wrote about the role of Canada as a newborn nation which still looked to Britain for its culture. The poets were united by the idea that Canada should have its own unique culture. This quote highlights the struggles and uncertainties of a new nation. Artists tried to tackle an ambiguous cultural identity through Canadian verse and a combination of literature and politics that radiated nationalism. Often times, when we evaluate national identity, we underestimate the impact of poetry and the arts. Historical literature reflects the values and norms of the period it was written in. Writers such as Pauline are the “scribes” of their time, capturing the zeitgeist of Canadian history through powerful words.

Canada’s culture is still debated today. While some argue that a mosaic of cultures defines Canada’s national identity, some also argue that Canada still lacks a clear direction of values or is too dependent on larger powers. Canadians value diversity and a varied population, but is this diluting our own national strength?

Personal Interest:

This passage is especially complex and significant to Pauline’s narrative. I especially liked its use of a metaphor to represent Canadian geography and its relationship with cultural identity. When we dissect the quote, its message is clear and relatable. The shift from dependency to autonomy relates to many aspects of human life. When we first become adults, we must learn to strengthen our self-identity by establishing our own morals and ideas. As a new nation, Canada struggled to wean itself away from Britain. This quote uses literary devices to make readers feel sympathy towards a nation, and for the artists who tried to capture a new culture still strongly tied to its traditional views.

“The Indian girl we meet in cold type,” Pauline pointed out, “is rarely distressed by having to belong to any tribe, or to reflect any tribal characteristics.”

Canadian Identity:

Pauline is directly commenting on the portrayal of indigenous women within literature. With increasing discriminatory policies and further divide between Europeans and native peoples, very few writers explored the character and origins of indigenous women. Authors such as Mercer Adam portrayed indigenous women as wild, uncivilized, and rife with derogatory clichés. They never had education, character depth, or extensive background stories. Indigenous women in books were the embodiment of stereotypes and images that were written by people who knew absolutely nothing about indigenous culture. Pauline used her platform and status as a performer to educate the public and critique the works of other literary pieces of the time.

Canada is regarded as a progressive country that uses its platforms to interfere with widespread stereotypes and miseducation. Pauline reflects modern Canadian values that place an emphasis on extensive representation of smaller groups and even our own media alongside American media.

Personal Interest:

In the realm of indigenous rights and discussions surrounding the rights of minority groups, media representation is crucial to shaping the public perception of groups. Pauline’s quote really resonates with me because it is applicable to modern societal issues and optics. Many stereotypes and biases are rooted in exposure to media that is heavily exaggerated or purposely meant to mock or shame certain groups. I admire Pauline’s ability to directly point out ignorances and prejudices in literature in order to change harmful narratives. In our day to day lives, it’s important to be analytical of the art we see in order to promote unbiased media and literary representation.

 “If she could switch smoothly from Indian to European dress, couldn’t the rest of Canada’s native peoples?

Canadian Identity:

In order to enhance her performances, Pauline changed into costumes that were both European and indigenous. The author of the biography effectively examines a different viewpoint and points out a flaw in Pauline’s performance. Given the diminishing power of indigenous peoples, Pauline’s performances could have further pushed the sentiment that Canada’s natives could easily adapt to European culture. In fact, her adoption of the native character may have been a ploy to advance her own career. In the pursuit of a nationalistic image that appealed to the Canadian masses, Pauline may have sacrificed her own integrity towards supporting indigenous representation and rights.

Canada prides itself on being viewed as an accepting nation. Politicians talk about our progressive ideals and accepting policies, but Canadian identity in the world today often ignores past atrocities committed by the Canadian government itself. While Canada has a positive reputation, Canada’s past is not entirely positive. The way we portray ourselves today may not be the most honest or effective way to speak about past mistakes.

Personal Interest:

I always admire authors who aren’t afraid to critique figures who are widely regarded as mainly good people. This quote took a differing viewpoint that interested me. Charlotte Gray effectively questions the legitimacy of Pauline’s performances and allows readers to examine multiple perspectives and possible explanations behind Pauline’s intentions. In activism, while people may begin with good intentions, their messages can distort into harmful rhetoric or performances that may do more harm than good. It’s important to consider the implicit effects of all our actions and the things we do to promote a certain cause.

“She came from the wealthiest, most Europeanized Indian reserve in Canada. She was playing with her Indian heritage; her own identity was firmly rooted in the British traditions passed on by her mother.”

Canadian Identity:

Charlotte Gray questions Pauline’s character and reminds us of her privileged upbringing. Within Canada, disparities also existed within indigenous groups. Many native peoples who were proficient in English, had connections with Europeans, and lived in affluent areas held significant advantages over less fortunate indigenous individuals. Pauline was fortunate enough to be the daughter of a highly esteemed Mohawk who worked as an interpreter and political liaison for the Iroquois council and British leaders. European influence was present everywhere. Pauline was around European people and the constant presence of European education, such as reserve schools that actively sought to teach European ideals, language, and religion. Much of her own individual identity was formed by her British mother, and this is also true for Canada as a whole.

Canada’s external image reflects multiculturalism and considerate indigenous influence, but Canada has a history of suppressing indigenous culture. Pauline, who was only half-indigenous, had the opportunity and privilege to express her ideas. Pauline possibly didn’t even understand the full extent of the struggles unfortunate native peoples had to face. Flint and Feather reminds audiences of the European influence that infiltrates the promotion of indigenous culture and rights as a whole.

Personal Interest:

While I was reading this book, I was waiting for the author to mention Pauline’s privilege. Not only was she quite wealthy, but she was also half British and mainly raised with British values and beliefs. I admire Gray’s decision to actively point out the limitations of Pauline’s activism and writing. I strongly believe it’s important to point out disparities that exist within disadvantaged groups. WIth a counter perspective, I’m eager to learn more about Pauline and decide if the benefits of her work outweigh the ingenuity of some of her messaging.


Seeking mass acceptance often impacts the integrity of your intentions.

Pauline’s work is famed for its nationalism. It aims to create art that strengthens and unites Canadians, allowing Canada to move away from being a smaller nation dependent on British ideals. On the other hand, many could argue that Pauline’s knack for attention and performance led her astray from her original intentions of promoting indigenous welfare. When individuals start to seek approval from the masses, their messaging and intentions may appear clouded or questionable. This theme is unbiased, universal, and examines E Pauline Johnson from multiple lenses.







Canada – Country, Nation, or Post-national State

” There is no core identity, no mainstream in Canada. Those qualities are what makes us the first post-national state.” -Prime Minister Justin Trudeau (2015). This is the controversial statement that I will be discussing along with answering the question of “Is Canada a nation, simply a country, or a ‘post national’ state’?”. I disagree with this statement because I think Canada is a nation, not a post-national state, but before I can say that, I have to give my idea of what I think a post-national state is; to me post-national means that there is no care for borders and we put other cultures above our own in order to be truly diverse. The question “what if borders were erased and the entire world became ‘transnational?'” came up in an article from The Vancouver Sun – The dangers of a post-national Canada (the article that I will be referring to), which to me the word transnational  would be a better word to describe what Trudeau is talking about. Now I am not saying that we are a transnational state either. If we were a post-national state, as Trudeau claims, then we would have no care for the US-Canadian border; there would be security into the US, but none coming back. Also, if we put other cultures above our own, than really there would be no true Canadian. Which, personally, if someone asks me my nationality, I proudly say Canadian.

The way Trudeau describes it, I hear more multicultural. The former head of the University of B.C.’s Centre for Applied Ethics, Michael McDonald, claims that “being Canadian is like being a member of a community, or a big family. ‘Some are born into the family and others are adopted.”‘ and I think this statement best describes Canada. In a family/ community everyone is different, but we share the same values; maybe not everyone, and maybe not all the time, but enough that we can still can work cohesively together. There will still be people who don’t have the same values as the majority but since they are still part of our family/ community we still respect them. Having this respect for one another, shows “Canada’s particular style of nationalism is […] part of what makes the country attractive to immigrants” and helps with our multiculturalism. Our diversity, respect, and openness to people makes us look like our style of nationalism is ‘healthy’ from the outside and “healthy nationalism encourages diverse people to cooperate” which may be why people always see us for those qualities.

Based off of the evidence that I have read from articles, I return to the fact that I think Canada is a nation. I could argue for the fact that Canada is a country, a piece of land with physical borders governed by a single government, because that is true, but when reading Mcdonald say Canada is like being in a family, and how some are born into it and others are adopted, to me perfectly describes Canada as being a proud nation.

DoL – Is Canada a “post-national” state?

Canada’s myriad of cultural, social, and economic differences within its physical borders poses questions of ambiguity about Canadian identity. Canada is a nation with national values that result in economic and social success. Canadian identity shares the values of “openness, respect, compassion, willingness to work hard, to be there for each other, [and] to search for equality and justice”(Todd, 2016). Various ethnic groups, refugees, and immigrants are able to coexist in Canada precisely because of our healthy nationalism and shared values of Canadian identity. Nationalism is defined as support for a nation’s own interests. Nationalism “encourages diverse people to cooperate”(Todd, 2016). A stable sense of national identity encourages citizens to accept policies and interests for the greater good, allowing smaller groups within a country to collaborate and accept their differences for a bigger purpose or identity. Even if Canada was a “post-national” state,  it would still “[fall] back on the established mechanisms of state governance and control”(Foran, 2017). In order for governance and control to be effective without creating political unrest,  “a sense of mutual trust and appreciation for good government” is crucial to establishing an egalitarian nation with stable discourse (Todd, 2016). In countries that suffer from racial tension or civil conflicts, there is a profound lack of national identity and stability. Canada is the epitome of a country that uses its widespread values in order to create a system that maximizes our ability to accept various groups and do what is best for our country as a whole.