A Guide to Women in Canadian History

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Canadian Illustrated News, Aug.7, 1880
.Time Travel
.This Month in
This Month in Canadian Herstory: June
Indigenous History Month

  • E. Pauline Johnson
    E. Pauline Johnson, ca. 1895 (Cochran/Library and Archives Canada/C-085125, copyright expired)
    June is Indigenous History Month in Canada, an opportunity to celebrate the contributions of Indigenous peoples. Here are a few examples:

    Susan Aglukark. Talented singer and songwriter from the Canadian Arctic.
    See her biography on heroines.ca.

    Anna Mae Aquash. Canadian activist, born on a Mi'kmaq reserve in Nova Scotia, who dedicated her life to helping Native people.*

    Pitseolak Ashoona. A talented Inuit artist from the Canadian Arctic.*

    Molly Brant. An influential Mohawk diplomat.*

    Amelia Douglas. A pioneer in the fur trade. See her biography on heroines.ca.

    Pauline Johnson. Mohawk poet and performer who increased awareness of Aboriginal culture.*
    See Pauline Johnson Performs in Winnipeg, 1897.

    Mikak. Inuk leader who worked to develop peaceful relationships with Europeans in Labrador.*

    Nahnebahwequay. Heroic pioneer in the battle for Native rights.*

    Alanis Obomsawin. Distinguished filmmaker from the Abenaki Nation.

    Buffy Sainte-Marie. Talented musician and activist, born to Cree parents in Saskatchewan. See her biography on heroines.ca.

    Shaaw Tlaa (Kate Carmack). The woman in the party that found gold in the Klondike, and possibly the true discoverer.*
    See Discovering Gold in the Klondike, 1896.

    Shanawdithit. Courageous woman who was the last of the Beothuks in Newfoundland.*

    Tookoolito. An important guide and interpreter in the Arctic.*

    Kateri Tekakwitha. Mohawk woman who maintained her religious beliefs even when persecuted.*

    Thanadelthur. A Chipewyan Dene woman, influential in the fur trade.*

    Sally Ainse. Oneida trader, diplomatic courier, and landowner.**

    Demasduit, 1819 (Library and Archives Canada/1977-14-1)
    Demasduit. A heroic Beothuk woman.**

    Mary Two-Axe Early. An activist from the Kahnawake Reserve in Quebec.**

    Elsie Knott. The first female Indian chief in Canada under Indian Act.**

    Marguerite Vincent Lawinonkie. A talented Huron woman who helped save the Huron-Wendat.**

    Kirkina Mucko. An inspirational midwife and nurse from Labrador.**

    Angela Sidney. A woman dedicated to preserving her Tagish and Tlingit heritage.**

    Charlotte Small. The woman who helped David Thompson map a nation.**

    * This woman is featured in the book 100 Canadian Heroines: Famous and Forgotten Faces.

    ** This woman if included in the book 100 More Canadian Heroines: Famous and Forgotten Faces.

  • St. Louis World's FairJune 1904
    During the month of June a group of 16 female journalists formed the Canadian Women's Press Club. The women were travelling home from the St. Louis World's Fair - in a CPR pullman car - when they decided to form the organization. Kit Coleman of the Toronto Mail and Empire was elected as the first president.

    The women who founded the CWPC were:

    Margaret (Miggsy) Graham � Ottawa Free Press.

    Kate Simpson Hayes (pen name Mary Markwell) � Manitoba Free Press.

    Robertine Barry � On the staff of La Patrie before starting her own paper, Le Journal de Fran�oise. Featured in the book 100 More Canadian Heroines: Famous and Forgotten Faces.

    A. Madelaine Gleason - La Patrie.

    Marie Beaupre (pen name Helen Dumont) � La Presse.

    Alice Asselin - Le Nationalist.

    Mary Adelaide Dawson - Toronto Telegram.

    Grace E. Denison � Saturday Night magazine.

    Kathleen �Kit� Blake Coleman � Mail and Empire. Featured in the book 100 Canadian Heroines: Famous and Forgotten Faces.

    Gertrude Balmer Watt (pen name Peggy) � Woodstock Sentinel-Review.

    Katherine Hughes � Edmonton Journal.

    A. Plouffe � Le Journal.

    Antoinette Gerin Lajoie.

    Cecile Laberge � Wrote about the St. Louis World Fair for Le Soleil.

    L�onise Valois � Poet, eventually wrote for la Terre de chez nous and other publications.

    Irene Currie Love � London Advertiser. Later, when she was Mrs. Elfred Archibald of Montreal, she wrote for the Montreal Star under the name Margaret Currie.

    Info courtesy of Mrs. June Coxon, President, Media Club of Ottawa (current name of the former CWPC).

  • June 1, 2017
    The Canada 150 commemorative bank note celebrates four Canadians on the front, including Agnes Macphail. She was the first woman in Canadian history to be elected as a federal Member of Parliament (1921).

    Canada 150 note

  • June 1, 1984
    Betty Hughes was appointed Chair of the Canadian National Railways, becoming the first Canadian woman to head a crown corporation.

  • June 7, 1917
    Louise McKinney and Roberta MacAdams became the first women in Canada elected to a provincial legislature, in Alberta.

  • June 10, 1925
    Canadian artist Fran�oise Sullivan was born in Montreal. She gained renown as a sculptor and painter, becoming a member of the Automatiste group.

  • Emily Stowe Dr. Emily Stowe(NAC/C-009480)
    June 12-13, 1890
    The first Dominion Women's Enfranchisement Association Convention was held in Toronto, where Dr. Emily Stowe as re-elected as president of the organization. Guests included American suffragists such as Susan B. Anthony, Dr. Anna Howard Shaw and Dr. Hannah Kimball - Emily Stowe's sister.

  • June 14, 1921
    Jennie Dill and her husband Frank completed a walk across Canada. The couple left Halifax on February 1 and completed the trek in Vancouver. Dubbed the pluckiest woman in Canada, Jennie noted that "The hike taught me a great lesson - what men have done women can more than do."

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