Here are some resources to learn about Indigenous-Italian-Canadian Connections. They include an interactive map of the location of major Italian enclaves and the territories they are positioned on as well as some written resources on the relationship between settlers, migrants, and Indigenous Nations.
Map of Treaties and Italian Enclaves in Canada, 2021.
This interactive map shows historic treaties (pre-1975), modern treaties (post-1975) and Italian enclaves across Canada. You can click on the treaties and the Italian enclaves to find more information.
Data Sources: Government of Canada; Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada; Geomatics Services. Post-1975 Treaties (Modern Treaties). Feature Layer. 2016.
Government of Canada; Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada; Geomatics Services. Pre-1975 Treaties (Historic Treaties). Feature Layer. 2016.
Heather Sdao. Italian Enclaves in Canada. Feature Layer. July 2021.
Map Created by Heather Sdao, August 16, 2021.
This section contains resources for learning more about Indigenous-Italian-Canadian Connections, as well as about Italian immigration in Canada, and the relationship between settlers, migrants, and Indigenous Nations.
Lasagna: The Man Behind the Mask
by Hélène Sévigny and Ronald Cross
Ronald Cross was a Mohawk man whose Italian heritage led to his being nick-named “Lasagna.” He was active in the Oka crisis and this book documents his story.
As a Proud Italian-Canadian, I Won’t Stand By My Community’s Racism
by Davide Mastracci
“We were once discriminated against, but we've ignored the lessons from our past by attacking newcomers instead of supporting them.”
In this article, Davide Mastracci reflects on his own Italian-Canadian identity, the history of Italian immigration in Canada. He connects that history to the struggles faced today by newcomers, calling for the Italian-Canadian community to move towards anti-racism and solidarity in their positioning towards immigration today.
Perin, R., & Sturino, F. (2007). Arrangiarsi: The Italian immigration experience in Canada. Toronto: Guernica.
This collection of essays aims to look at the treatment of the Italian presence in Canada and to capture the experience of the Italian immigrant. Particular chapters of interest include: “Beyond the frozen wastes: Italian sojourners and settlers in British Columbia” by Gabriele Scardellato, and “Caboto and Other Parentela: The Uses of the Italian-Canadian Past” by Robert Harney.
Bohaker, Heidi & Franca Iacovetta. “Making Aboriginal People ‘Immigrants Too’: A Comparison of Citizenship Programs for Newcomers and Indigenous Peoples in Postwar Canada, 1940s–1960s.” The Canadian Historical Review, vol. 90, no. 3, 2009, pp. 427–62, doi:10.3138/chr.90.3.427.
This article reveals how ‘Canadianization’ programs targeted both Indigenous peoples and newly arrived European refugees and immigrants. While experienced differently, the authors show how both Indigenous peoples and newcomers “were constructed as outsiders who needed to adopt dominant middle-class Canadian social and moral codes and pro-capitalist values” (p. 427).
Denis, Jeffrey S. “Contact Theory in a Small-Town Settler-Colonial Context: The Reproduction of Laissez-Faire Racism in Indigenous-White Canadian Relations.” American Sociological Review, vol. 80, no. 1, 2015, pp. 218–42, doi:10.1177/0003122414564998.
In this article, the author looks at settler-colonialism and small-town dynamics. The research involved conducting 160 interviews and surveys with First Nations, Métis, and non-Indigenous residents in Northwestern Ontario. Through the results that emerged, the author discusses the ways in which “laissez-faire racism” is perpetuated by white individuals, even those who have close Indigenous friends or spouses.
Organizations & Community Examples
This section highlights organizations engaged in similar work, and community examples of cross-cultural connection making and solidarity work.
Women of Italian and Syracuse Heritage (WISH)
WISH is a group of women from Central New York, joined in: commitment to promote historical truth-telling, community healing, education and outreach; sharing the joy of Italian heritage; and valuing the diversity of communities in the CNY area.
The Indigenous Ukrainian Relationship Building Initiative
The Indigenous Ukrainian Relationship Building Initiative is a joint initiative between the Ukrainian Resource and Development Centre at MacEwan University and the Kule Folklore Centre at the University of Alberta. Their goal is to advance knowledge about, explore, and reflect on our Ukrainian Canadian history and our shared Indigenous-Ukrainian pasts, in order to build a better future together for the well-being of all.
Canadian Roots Exchange (CRE)
CRE builds bridges between Indigenous and non-Indigenous youth in Canada by facilitating dialogue and strengthening relationships through leadership programs.
Righting Relations Canada (RR) is a heart-centred, national network of adult educators, community organizers and Indigenous Peoples of the world working for radical social change through decolonization and popular education.
Video from CBC Indigenous
This video, from CBC Indigenous, features Mandy Nahanee and Babette Santos and gives an example of solidarity between Indigenous and Filipino-Canadians.
The Henceforward Podcast
The Henceforward is a podcast that considers relationships between Indigenous Peoples and Black Peoples on Turtle Island
All Our Father’s Relations
All Our Father’s Relations (祖根父脈) tells the story of the Grant siblings who journey from Vancouver to China in an attempt to rediscover their father’s roots and better understand his fractured relationship with their Musqueam mother. Raised primarily in the traditions of the Musqueam people, the Grant family and their story reveals the shared struggles of migrants and Aboriginal peoples today and in the past.