Canada as a Cultural Mosaic

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In my opinion, the heart of the Canadian matrix lies in the nationalist view that Canada is a ‘Cultural Mosaic’. The term Cultural Mosaic stems from the idea that Canada, as a country is made stronger with each immigrant. This is due to the fact that they generate a culturally diverse society that which Canadians can learn from. As a country we have coined this term because we feel as though we are so ‘different’ from the United States in the sense that we do not instill a “melting pot” environment— where immigrants, no matter their past, are American and should believe in said American values (i.e. The American Dream) once they get here. This leitmotif of our Canadian matrix is used as a tool to enable the legitimacy of “Othering” the vast varieties of cultures in Canada today. This view of a Cultural Mosaic on Canadian society was Prime Minister Trudeau’s main motivation for creating multiculturalist policies such as the Official Multiculturalism Act established in 1971. It is extremely questionable that as a society we could call ourselves that with such confidence, that Canada was (and is) against assimilation, that as a country we embrace all cultures, races, religions, etc. This is due to the fact that the last residential school (that we know of) did not close until 1996. Residential schooling was created in order to assimilate the Aboriginal peoples in Canada, in these schools the students would be taken out of their reserve and stripped of their culture; we created an ‘other’ on purpose. What I mean by that is we allowed the government to stipulate a social phenomena of ‘Othering’ creating the opportunity to define in this case the Aboriginal people in Canada as different. This further justified the attempts made (such a... ... middle of paper ... ... speak English. I have heard many more stories like this. Having said that, this story probably resonates with many immigrants in Canada; they have it hard too. So why is it that these immigrants are what make up the Canadian identity of the “Mosaic” and the Aboriginal people in Canada do not consider themselves apart of that? By immigrating to Canada, these people are deciding to lose hold of their roots and sacrifice a little bit of their identity in order to have a better life, they let the government take control. Aboriginal people in Canada have tried their best to keep hold of their roots and identity and have refused to subdue to the Canadian Mosaic. Perhaps, though Aboriginal people in Canada and Immigrants are extremely similar in regards to their quality of life, maybe Aboriginal people are not considered a part of the Mosaic because they refuse to be.

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