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African Canadian Experience, Historical and Cultural Overview

Canada’s indigenous peoples, the First Nations, inhabited from the earliest times the land we now call Canada. However, Africans resided in Canada working with the coureur de bois, the French fur traders, during the 1400s and 1500s and were responsible for the founding of “northern” cities such as present-day Chicago and Detroit. Canada is often referred to as the “Great White North,” which may have been thought to describe the nature of its population rather than the country’s closeness to the Arctic frontier. The reality is that Canada is a culturally and racially diverse country and has been so even prior to its formation in 1867.

Early African Arrivals

The first African arrived in the area now called Canada in 1604. Mathieu Da ...

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