Why Hide Cree Ancestry?
I knew a Winnipeger who served as a railway station master during the1940’s era. A well respected man with exceptionally strong grip into old age, of British heritage. He never talked about his family background, so we joked there might have been a horse thief in his family!
Some years following his demise, it was pleasantly discovered that one of his ancestors was a First Nations Cree lady. Why did he, same as many others have, conceal heritage going back thousands of years in the Americas?
I suggest the stark answer is that the Canadian Governments of John A. Macdonald and Wilfred Laurier enacted policies to in effect kidnap the children of First Nations and Métis families, for the express purpose of extinguishing their indigenous culture. Many pure European ancestry persons also openly discriminated against "Indians" and "Half Breeds". The best protection for their children was to always conceal ancestry.
The first constitution in Manitoba included basic principles of human rights. Then followed the dispossession of Métis of their lands, and the hanging of Louis Riel, so Métis parents advised their children to conceal their heritage or they too might get hanged.
I suggest the 150 year anniversary in 2017 of the governance arrangement we call "Canada", is however worthy of celebration for its unique achievement in the bringing together of two old warring European cultures, the French and the British, into a peaceable country, designed with decentralized democratic power via federalism, modeled significantly on the federal governance arrangements existing among the United States which were modeled on federations originally existing among indigenous First Nations.
For the first half century Canada denied its women citizens of democratic rights, and for the first nine decades Canada denied many of its indigenous citizens of democratic rights.
Canada can continue to evolve and mature.