The Wig-Maker

Posted in Autobiography, Books, Canada, Media Archive, Poetry on 2021-07-21 00:47Z by Steven

The Wig-Maker

New Star Books
128 pages
6×9 inches
Paperback ISBN: 9781554201716

Janet Gallant and Sharon Thesen

A powerful tale of violence, grief, resilience, and transformation, told in the voice of Janet Gallant, transcribed and lineated as a long poem by Sharon Thesen, The Wig-Maker gathers and weaves together themes and incidents that accumulate toward “the moan” of racism, sexual abuse, maternal abandonment, suicide, mental illness, and addiction.

Though the subject-matter ranges from a lengthy first-person account of sufferings both personal and cultural, historic and current, the pulse of the telling ultimately led to healing and reconciliation. Almost by magic — certainly with the assistance of the uncanny — the 18-month long process of Gallant’s telling/Thesen’s listening-writing resulted in Gallant’s discovery of her true genetic, and social, identity. In the early part of her story Janet longs to know the reasons that her mother abandoned the family when Gallant was three years old, leaving four young children with their abusive father. She also wants to know what turned her father into “the monster” he had become. Her mother, Valerie Johnson, is Black and grew up in the Black community of Wildwood, Alberta; her Canadian serviceman father, Tom McCrate, grew up in Irish-Catholic poverty in Nova Scotia. As a biracial child, Janet was unaware until she was eleven years old that her mother was Black; nor did she know until very recently that Tom McCrate was not her biological father.

The twists and turns of the narrative gather a range of topics and incidents; the human hair industry, Black immigration to Alberta and Saskatchewan in the early 1900’s, maternal abandonment, the stresses of military life, adoption search websites, the suicide of Gallant’s teenage brother, the sudden death of her young husband, the stress-disorder of alopecia, and the loneliness of surviving all this but never finding answers. But some important answers have been given and received as a result of Gallant’s research being inspired by the mysteriously healing process of the telling itself.

“The Wig-Maker” is Janet Gallant’s song; her story comes to life in Sharon Thesen’s poem.

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Breaking the Ocean: A Memoir of Race, Rebellion, and Reconciliation

Posted in Autobiography, Biography, Books, Canada, Media Archive, Monographs, Social Justice on 2019-08-20 18:17Z by Steven

Breaking the Ocean: A Memoir of Race, Rebellion, and Reconciliation

House of Anansi Press
280 pages
8.5 in × 5.5 in
Paperback ISBN: 9781487006471
Ebook ISBN: 9781487006488

Annahid Dashtgard

Cover of Breaking the Ocean

Annahid Dashtgard was born into a supportive mixed-race family in 1970s Iran. Then came the 1979 Islamic Revolution, which ushered in a powerful and orthodox religious regime. Her family was forced to flee their homeland, immigrating to a small town in Alberta, Canada. As a young girl, Dashtgard was bullied, shunned, and ostracized by both her peers at school and adults in the community. Home offered little respite as her parents were embroiled in their own struggles, exposing the sharp contrasts between her British mother and Persian father.

Determined to break free from her past, Dashtgard created a new identity for herself as a driven young woman who found strength through political activism, eventually becoming a leader in the anti–corporate globalization movement of the late 1990s. But her unhealed trauma was re-activated following the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Suffering burnout, Dashtgard checked out of her life and took the first steps towards personal healing, a journey that continues to this day.

Breaking the Ocean introduces a unique perspective on how racism and systemic discrimination result in emotional scarring and ongoing PTSD. It is a wake-up call to acknowledge our differences, offering new possibilities for healing and understanding through the revolutionary power of resilience. Dashtgard answers the universal questions of what it means to belong, what it takes to become whole, and ultimately what is required to create change in ourselves and in society.

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Edmonton Police Under Fire For Calling Teenage Girl ‘Mulatto’ In Amber Alert

Posted in Articles, Canada, Media Archive on 2018-10-14 00:49Z by Steven

Edmonton Police Under Fire For Calling Teenage Girl ‘Mulatto’ In Amber Alert

The Huffington Post Canada

Sima Shakeri, Associate Editor

Alberta Emergency Alert
The Amber Alert sent out on Friday, with information about the alleged victim censored for her protection.

People who received the alert were shocked by the word choice.

Edmonton police issued an Amber Alert on Friday afternoon for a missing 14-year-old girl, who had allegedly been forcibly abducted.

The girl was found safe shortly after the call was sent out, and a suspect has been charged with several offences including kidnapping with a firearm, but what caught many people’s attention was the word choice in describing the teen.

The alert said the alleged victim was “mulatto,” an outdated term for a child with one white and one black parent…

Read the enter article here.

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‘A dirty deed’: Fort McMurray Métis demand apology after historic eviction of an Indigenous settlement

Posted in Articles, Canada, Media Archive, Native Americans/First Nation, Politics/Public Policy, Videos on 2018-05-02 15:29Z by Steven

‘A dirty deed’: Fort McMurray Métis demand apology after historic eviction of an Indigenous settlement

CBC News
Canadian Broadcasting Corporation

David Thurton, Mobile Journalist
Fort McMurray, Alberta, Canada

Moccasin Flats is the unresolved story of how at least 12 Indigenous families were evicted or relocated from a Fort McMurray riverside community in the late 1970s to make way for a city expanding feverishly to accommodate oilsands growth.

That history still pains Fort McMurray Métis president Gail Gallupe.

“It was really a dirty deed,” Gallupe said. “To be ignored and to be treated so shabbily in those days. There was so much discrimination and so much racism.”

On Monday, the Fort McMurray Métis local announced it will commission an academic study that aims to clarify details of the contentious removal of the predominantly Métis settlement for oilsands development…

Read the story here.

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“No Rainbow Families” and the Problem with Race-Based Reproduction Policies

Posted in Articles, Canada, Family/Parenting, Health/Medicine/Genetics, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy on 2014-09-08 21:14Z by Steven

“No Rainbow Families” and the Problem with Race-Based Reproduction Policies

Impact Ethics: Making a Difference in Bioethics

Catherine Clune-Taylor, Doctoral Candidate
Department of Philosophy
University of Alberta, Canada

Catherine Clune-Taylor suggests that we should target institutional and interpersonal racism rather than restrict individual reproductive choice

A July 2014 Calgary Herald article revealed that Calgary’s lone fertility clinic, Regional Fertility Program, restricts patients’ use of sperm donors to those of the same race. This “no rainbow families” policy received both national and international coverage. The media attention prompted the clinic to release a statement on its website, claiming that the policy was discarded a year ago (though the clinic had failed to update its website to that effect). Furthermore, the clinic maintained that the views represented in the article were solely those of the physician interviewed, Dr. Cal Greene, who apparently was unaware of the clinic’s change in practice. This is a dubious claim, given Dr. Greene’s position as the clinic’s administrative director and the full transcripts of his interviews with the article’s author, Jessica Barrett.

This news highlights the need for improved oversight of, and regulation for, fertility clinics. In addition, news of this clinic’s policy has given rise to complex, sometimes heated discussions among many about race, racism and good parenting.

As someone who is mixed-race, I was surprised to hear support for Dr. Greene’s arguments in social media from non-white and mixed-race persons. They sympathized with Dr. Greene’s arguments that parents and children should have an ethnic or cultural connection (presumably secured via shared race). They specifically cited the many experiences of interpersonal and institutional racism they had experienced growing up as non-white or mixed-race. They reasoned that a same-race parent would be better able to prepare their children for, and support them through, such experiences, and that it was better to not bring a mixed-race child into a racist society if it could be avoided…

Read the entire article here.

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No ‘rainbow families’: Ethnic donor stipulation at fertility centre ‘floors’ local woman

Posted in Articles, Canada, Health/Medicine/Genetics, Media Archive on 2014-07-28 22:23Z by Steven

No ‘rainbow families’: Ethnic donor stipulation at fertility centre ‘floors’ local woman

Calgary Herald
Calgary, Alberta, Canada

Jessica Barrett

A Calgary woman says she was shocked to learn of a policy at the city’s only fertility treatment centre that restricts patients from using sperm, eggs or embryos from donors who do not match their ethnic background.

Catherine, who asked to use only her first name, said she sought invitro fertilization at the Regional Fertility Program last March as a single woman. During routine consultations with her doctor she was told she could only use sperm from donors who were white, like her.

“That’s when everything went downhill,” she told the Herald. “I was absolutely floored.”

Dr. Calvin Greene, the clinic’s administrative director, confirmed the private facility will not treat couples or singles who insist on using donors of a different ethnicity. The policy has been in place since the clinic opened in the 1980s.

“I’m not sure that we should be creating rainbow families just because some single woman decides that that’s what she wants,” he said. “That’s her prerogative, but that’s not her prerogative in our clinic.”

A statement on the clinic’s website reads: “it is the practice of the Regional Fertility Program not to permit the use of a sperm donor that would result in a future child appearing racially different than the recipient or the recipient’s partner.”

Greene said doctors at the clinic feel “a child of an ethnic background should have the ability to be able to identify with their ethnic roots.” He added patients should have a “cultural connection” to their donors.

The Alberta Human Rights Commission upheld the policy after a white couple brought a complaint against the clinic about five years ago, Greene said…

Read the entire article here.

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Are Mixed Race Couples and Families Still Fighting for Acceptance in Alberta?

Posted in Canada, Census/Demographics, Identity Development/Psychology, Interviews, Media Archive, Social Science, Videos on 2013-06-15 16:21Z by Steven

Are Mixed Race Couples and Families Still Fighting for Acceptance in Alberta?

Alberta Primetime
Edmonton, Alberta

Jennifer Martin, Host

Monica Das, Registered Psychologist

Yvonne Breckenridge
University of Alberta

Alberta Primetime is a daily current affairs show airing weeknights from 7pm MST to 8pm MST. Airing across Alberta on CTV Two Alberta, Alberta Primetime drills through the surface of current issues to explore the ideas and concerns of Alberta’s real energy sector – its people.

The face of Alberta families is changing, but are Albertans still struggling to catch up?

We talk to Monica Das, registered psychologist and Yvonne Breckenridge, from the University of Alberta.

Watch the video here.

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Far Corner Of The Strange Empire Central Alberta On The Eve Of Homestead Settlement

Posted in Articles, Canada, History, Media Archive, Native Americans/First Nation on 2012-08-06 01:14Z by Steven

Far Corner Of The Strange Empire Central Alberta On The Eve Of Homestead Settlement

Great Plains Quarterly
Volume 3, Number 2, Spring 1983
pages 92-108

William C. Wonders
University of Alberta

In the latter part of the nineteenth century, what is now central Alberta was a region in transition. For centuries the area had been inhabited by native Indian peoples, but with the advance of homestead settlement, it became a marginal part of what Joseph Howard has called the “strange empire,” a portion of the northern Great Plains that was marked by unrest at the end of one era and the beginning of another. The changes that affected the Red River Valley and later the Saskatchewan Valley had significant local repercussions in this far corner of the “empire,” the valley of the upper Battle River immediately south and east of Edmonton.

The fur trade provided the initial and dominant economic base for the European presence in the Canadian Northwest. It also contributed to the appearance of the mixed-blood people variously known as the métis, half-breeds, or country-born who played such an important role in it. Though they were soon submerged by the flood of incoming settlers, for a few decades in the late nineteenth century the metis made a distinctive but short-lived impact on the northern Great Plains. The focus here is on this transitional period between fur trade and homestead settlement in central Alberta, an area that is also transitional in its geographic character.

Read the entire article here.

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Research Project on Mixed Race Identity

Posted in Canada, Identity Development/Psychology, New Media, Social Science, Wanted/Research Requests/Call for Papers on 2010-07-08 17:26Z by Steven

Research Project on Mixed Race Identity

Are you of a mixed racial background? Do you identify as ‘mixed’ or ‘mixed race’? Do you identify with a mixed racial identity?

This project is being conducted for a Master’s thesis in the Department of Sociology at the University of Alberta.

The purpose of the project is to explore a whole range of perspectives and experiences, and the multiple ways that ‘mixed race’ can be understood.

Male and female participants between 20-30 years of age, who are of ‘mixed racial’ parentage and who grew up in Canada, and who live or have lived in the Edmonton, Alberta area are being recruited.

Interviews will be conducted with participants, and will take approximately one hour.

If you would like to be part of this study, please contact Jillian Paragg at or if you know of someone who may be interested in participating, please pass this message on to them.

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