Chatham University

Canada, a land of great beauty and tremendous cultural diversity, is the second largest country in the world. It shares the world's largest international border with the United States.

Bordered by the Atlantic, Pacific, and Arctic Oceans, Canada's ever-changing topography ranges from the dizzying heights of the Rocky Mountains to vast boreal forests, endless prairies, desert, and rainforest regions. Added to the extraordinary natural beauty are the vibrant, cosmopolitan cities where most of the population lives.

First Nations

First Nations

Before the arrival of Europeans, First Nations in what is now Canada were able to satisfy all of their material and spiritual needs through the resources of the natural world around them. For the purposes of studying traditional First Nations cultures, historians have therefore tended to group First Nations in Canada according to the six main geographic areas of the country as it exists today:

  • Woodland First Nations, who lived in dense boreal forest in the eastern part of the country.
  • Iroquoian First Nations, who inhabited the southernmost area, a fertile land suitable for planting corn, beans and squash.
  • Plains First Nations, who lived on the grasslands of the Prairies.
  • Plateau First Nations, whose geography ranged from semi-desertic conditions in the south to high mountains and dense forest in the north.
  • Pacific Coast First Nations, who had access to abundant salmon and shellfish and the gigantic red cedar for building huge houses.
  • First Nations of the Mackenzie and Yukon River Basins, whose harsh environment consisted of dark forests, barren lands and the swampy terrain known as muskeg.


Canada excels in the recognition of the cultural heritage and shared potential of all its citizens. In addition to nationally recognized Black History and Asian Heritage months, each year The Paul Yuzyk Award for Multiculturalism is given in commemoration of the late Senator Yuzyk's pioneering legacy in championing multiculturalism as one of the fundamental characteristics of Canadian national identity. As of 2015, 3 separate awards are granted to a youth candidate, an organization, and a qualifying Lifetime Achievement candidate.

Map to illustrate the voyage and Arctic explorations of Capt. Roald Armundsen from surveys by Lieutenant G. Hansen (Royal Danish Navy) 1903 to 1906. From the Geographical Journal, Londan, May 1907

The Northwest Passage

Discovered in 1850 by Robert McClure (Ireland) and first navigated by Roald Amundsen (Norway) in 1903, The Northwest Passage is a sea route which connects the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans by way of the Arctic Ocean and along the polar coast of North America. The area became "fully navigable" in 2009 as a result of global warming and related thawing of the ice cap. The region has become the topic of impassioned international debate with Canada proclaiming that the waters passing through the Canadian Arctic Archipelago are internal waters, which grants them the power to conceivably bar transit while other maritime nations including the United States and the European Union consider the waters an international strait in which foreign vessels have the right of passage in the name of unfettered global commerce.


About Richard Wagamese


Richard WagameseRichard Wagamese from the Wabaseemoong First Nation in Northwestern Ontario became the first Native Canadian to win a National Newspaper Award for Column Writing in 1991. As a published author he was won the George Ryga Award for Social Awareness in Literature for his 2011 memoir One Story, One Song, the Canadian Authors Association Award for Fiction for his third novel Dream Wheels in 2007 and the Alberta Writers Guild Best Novel Award for his debut novel, Keeper'n Me, in 1994.

Richard was the 2012 recipient of the National Aboriginal Achievement Award for Media & Communications and the 2013 recipient of the Canada Council on the Arts Molson Prize.

Upcoming Events

Lecture and Film on Ireland's Great Hunger

Thursday, October 25, 2018
06:00 PM - 08:30 PM

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John O'Conor Piano Recital

Tuesday, November 6, 2018
11:30 AM -
Welker Auditorium in the Founders Room

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Resources & Learning

Indigineous People's Rights

Canada becomes a full supporter of the UN declaration on the rights of indigenous peoples” (May 10, 2016)

“Statement regarding the Government of Canada and survivors of Newfoundland and Labrador Residential Schools class action settlement” (May 10, 2016)

National Inquiry in to Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls – Process of the inquiry well laid out here (modified on March 18, 2016)

“Renewing the relationship: key documents” (modified on January 12, 2016)

The role of Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada mission and mandate (modified on March 8, 2016)

History Flicks

Most recent video about Indigenous Rights - "The story of Chanie "Charlie" Wenjack, whose death sparked the first inquest into the treatment of Indigenous children in Canadian residential schools. The 84th Heritage Minute in Historica Canada's collection."

About Treaty 9 - "The making of Treaty 9 from the perspective of historical witness George Spence, an 18-year-old Cree hunter from Albany, James Bay. The 83rd Heritage Minute in Historica Canada's collection."

Refugee Resettlement

#WelcomeRefugees: Canada resettles Syrian refugees

Key figures

Map of destination communities and service provide organizations

#WelcomeRefugees: The road ahead (includes media materials, and roles and responsibilities of different federal departments)

Climate Leadership

“Leaders’ Statement on a North American Climate, Clean Energy, and Environment Partnership”

“Cosmique of Canada’s First Ministers”

“What is Canada doing to address climate change?”

UNFCCC 2nd Biennial Report

10 Amazing Canadian Women


Canadian Provinces

Map of Canada


British Columbia


New Brunswick

New Foundland and Labrador