Happy Canada Day!

Telling the story of Canada in the Faculty of Arts

Donna McKinnon - 26 June 2019

In celebration of Canada's birthday, a selection of stories from the archive, including several from 2017, the year that Canada, as a country, celebrated its 150th birthday. Of course, virtually every story that we share in the Faculty of Arts is either directly or tangentially Canadian, but these 20, broadly speaking, represent the work we do here in the faculty to build a stronger, more inclusive global society. And occasionally, to celebrate all things gopher.

Stuffed gophers in 'world famous' Alberta museum offer insight into prairie culture. The initial appeal is clearly humorous, but according to museum expert Lianne McTavish, this exhibit is far more than a mere joke. The Faculty of Arts professor of art, design and visual culture has seen some of the best museums in the world-and this one is her favourite.

Trailblazing Métis historian put Indigenous people front and centre in Canada's story. Former UAlberta professor Olive Dickason's written account of Indigenous people changed the way people saw Canadian history.

Feasting on words. From Tanzania to Canada, storyteller, actor, writer Tololwa Mollel ('79 MA) brings his unique voice to the world.

"Old Arts" Building Turns 100. For a century, the Arts Building has reflected the ideal of an arts education, and now inspires a new leadership initiative.

"Hold us to account in living up to the greater country I believe we can become". TRC Commissioner Marie Wilson has a message for universities.

Merna Forster wins 2016 Governor General's History Award for Popular Media. The influential historian brings Canadian women's history to life - in particular her long-fought and ultimately successful campaign to see women featured on Canadian currency, which led to the appearance of civil rights icon Viola Desmond on the 10 dollar bill (2018).

Meet the Caulfields: A Family of Creatives. Art and science are often viewed in opposition to one another, but in the Caulfield family, these pursuits co-mingle in extraordinarily creative and collaborative ways.

Canada Day in the Faculty of Arts

Paula Simons - Edmonton's chief chronicler and champion. "The story of this place fascinates me," says the long-time journalist (now Canadian Senator!) and Alumni Honour Award recipient.

Reading from the margins. Interdisciplinary Studies Director Nat Hurley finds new meanings, new audiences in children's literature. "I teach a lot of things like fairy tales, but I also teach from the vantage point of being outside the mainstream," she says. "I like that idea of being from the margins and reading from the margins. With Canadian literature, it's not the Atwoods or the Laurences but writers like Vivek Shraya."

Social justice champion named to Order of Canada. Political scientist Janine Brodie transformed UAlberta's political science department, leading to national recognition of its innovative research and graduate program.

Citizen historian Bashir Mohamed ('17 BA) is determined to expose Edmonton's racist past to reconcile and move forward. Research in city and provincial archives reveals strong KKK presence in Alberta during the '20s and '30s.

From the inner city to the boardroom, entrepreneur and community builder Teresa Spinelli says it's not about food, it's about people. Growing up in a warm but patriarchal Italian immigrant family, the idea of one day taking over the reins of her father's Italian Centre Shop in the heart of the McCauley community in Edmonton was not something Spinelli thought much about, but under her innovative, hands-on approach, that one store with 30 employees has grown to four stores with 509 employees, with sales in excess of $60 million.

A Journey for Justice. Writer, academic and community organizer Nakita Valerio ('09 BA, History; '17 MA, History and Religious Studies) is being honoured with an Alumni Horizon Award for her work to fight racism and build a better society

Malinda S. Smith unearths hidden female figures of Canadian black historyThe political scientist has launched a video "excavation project" to highlight contributions of trailblazing black women. Related: Malinda S. Smith leads the fight for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion. "We are seeing the great social transformation of Canadian society."

Billy-Ray Belcourt wins third literary prize in less than a month. This emerging poet follows his national Griffin Prize win and Indigenous Voices Award with the Robert Kroetsch Award for his poetry collection, This Wound is a World-not to mention a national Trudeau Scholarship.

Ethnomusicologist promotes music and healing around the world. More than a decade of advancing human development through the power of song earns Michael Frishkopf the U of A's 2018 Community Connections Award.

Deb Verhoeven appointed University of Alberta Canada 150 Research Chair. The prominent Australian scholar aims to build a feminist digital archive.

Unplanned but not unprepared. For English and Film Studies professor Pat Demers, a "serendipitous" career is nothing more than hard work meeting opportunity. The first female president of the Royal Society of Canada, and a recent (2016) appointee to the Order of Canada, her life has been one of accomplishment and commitment.

A Canada 150 celebration? Not so fast. A history of settler-colonialism has left many Canadians feeling conflicted about our national celebration.

And finally…

Happy Birthday Canada, now what? Canada 50 years from now may surprise you, if our experts have any say.

Bonus video content: Allen Ball - Artist, Art & Design instructor and Associate Dean, Teaching and Learning, Student Programs, talks about his time with Canadian soldiers in Northern Sinai, and his portrayal of them in his art exhibit, Painting in a State of Exception: Documents of Contemporary War.