Happy Black History Month! Uncovering Canada’s hidden histories

An item from one of our fellow Canadian organizations in the Bay Area.

Canadian Studies Announcements

In This Issue:

General Updates

  • Happy Black History Month!

Upcoming Events

  • “Come from Away: Newfoundland and Labrador’s Food Security Dilemma”

Program News

  • Mark your calendars: Big Give is one month away!

Canadian News

  • Dr. Debra Thompson uncovers hidden parts of Canada’s Black history on new podcast

External Events

  • Canadian Heritage Night: Habs vs. Sharks

Happy Black History Month!

In both the United States and Canada, February is Black History Month, a time to celebrate the many contributions people of African descent have made to our nations’ histories and culture.

In Canada, the theme of this year’s celebration is “Ours to Tell“. Canadians of all backgrounds are encouraged to listen to the diverse stories Black Canadians have to tell about their communities and histories, and engage in an “open dialogue” about the Black experience in Canada. The CBC project Being Black in Canada, ongoing since 2020, is a good place to start, highlighting a diverse selection of Black Canadian voices.

In his official statement, Prime Minister Trudeau noted that this year marked the 30th anniversary of the election of Jean Augustine, Canada’s first Black female MP. Born in Grenada, Augustine arrived in Canada to work as a nanny. She later became an elementary school teacher, then principal, and worked as an activist in Toronto’s Caribbean community. Elected to Parliament in 1993, in 1995 Augustine spearheaded a successful campaign to officially recognize Black History Month in Canada.

In his statement, the Prime Minister also highlighted the importance of supporting historically disenfranchised Black communities through targeted local investments and working with provinces and municipal governments to combat racism and discrimination by “empowering communities…. and building awareness.”


If you require an accommodation to fully participate in an event, please let us know at least 10 days in advance.

“Come from Away”: Newfoundland and Labrador’s Food Security Dilemma

Wed., Feb. 15 | 12:30 pm PT | 223 Moses | RSVP

This presentation illuminates past and current complexities of Newfoundland and Labrador’s unique food system. Following confederation with Canada in 1949, the province’s once- abundant fisheries fed North America to the point of over-exploitation, creating both cultural and food system disruption. Currently, most food is imported into the province and transported by ferry, including produce from California’s Central Valley. Though hunting is prevalent in rural communities, high priced, pre-packaged, and processed food, rather than fish, are the dietary mainstay. Recent efforts to expand agricultural production within the province would improve local control over the food system. This would ostensibly be more expensive than most imported foods, given the province’s short growing season and relatively small, diffusely located population. Yet financially supporting such endeavors might be justifiable to facilitate a basic human right to access and produce food.

Note: The speaker will also share Newfoundland and Labrador artwork and handicrafts at the in-person presentation.

About the Speaker

Dr. Catherine Keske is a professor of management of complex systems in the School of Engineering at UC Merced. She is an agricultural economist and social scientist who studies sustainable food, energy, and waste systems. Prior to joining UC Merced in 2017, she was associate professor of environmental studies (economics) in the School of Science and the Environment at Memorial University of Newfoundland. Her research on food security and Newfoundland and Labrador includes an edited book, Food Futures: Growing a Sustainable Food System for Newfoundland and Labrador, and “Economic feasibility of biochar and agriculture coproduction from Canadian black spruce forest” published in Food and Energy Security.


Mark your calendars: Big Give is one month away!

It’s that time of year again: on March 9, show your support for Canadian Studies by making a gift to our program during Big Give, Berkeley’s annual day of giving. Canadian Studies is a donor-supported program, and your donation goes directly to support education and research about Canada. Multiply your giving impact by competing in challenges at no extra cost to yourself. Your gift can make a big difference! So make sure to set a reminder, and we’ll see you on March 9!


Dr. Debra Thompson Uncovers Hidden Parts of Canada’s Black History on New Podcast

McGill University professor Debra Thompson is widely regarded as one of the foremost experts on North American racial politics. A fifth-generation Canadian with ancestral links to the United States, Dr. Thompson recently returned to Canada after a decade in the U.S. (an experience she shared at a Canadian Studies Colloquium in 2020.) This long sojourn outside of Canada gives her a unique insight into how Canada’s Black history is – and isn’t – talked about, and how that impacts contemporary Black Canadian life.

Dr. Thompson shares her experiences with veteran Canadian journalist Peter Mansbridge in a new episode of his podcast, The Bridge, titled “What We Should Know About Black History Month”. The two have a frank discussion about Canada’s current racial dynamics, and the often-ignored challenges the country’s Black community continues to face. While Canadians often compare their country’s racial politics favorably to those of the United States, Dr. Thompson argues that often serves to mask real issues in Canada. In exploring a history of structural racism and its continuing effects on the Black community, Dr. Thompson takes aim at the hesitancy of many white Canadians to acknowledge the existence of racism in Canada, and to challenge their complacency.


Canadian Heritage Night: Habs vs. Sharks

Tuesday, Feb. 28 | 5:30 pm | San José, CA | Buy tickets

The Digital Moose Lounge and Consulate General of Canada in San Francisco and Silicon Valley invite you to join them for a special Canadian Heritage Game Night! Get your hockey gear ready as the San Jose Sharks face off against the Montreal Canadiens. Tickets get you VIP access plus seating in a dedicated Canadian zone. Don’t miss this fun, family-friendly event!

Canadian Studies Program
213 Moses Hall #2308
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Canadian Studies Program | Univ. of California, Berkeley213 Moses Hall #2308Berkeley, CA 94720

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