Stories. We love telling stories. We love listening to stories. We build our individual identities by collecting stories about ourselves, things we've done, places we've been, people we've known. As a nation, we also tell ourselves stories that build our national identity.

But, when we begin to unravel the story of Canada's multicultural patchwork and examine the individual stories hidden within the single threads we reveal many narratives of power and privilege (exploitation, dispossession, exclusion, colonization, assimilation, racism, othering, settling, misunderstandings, patronization, inequality, and stereotypes).

Turtle Island - a traditional name for North America -- was peopled with sophisticated nations each with their own cultures and histories. When newcomers came to the continent they also brought with them vibrant traditions, habits, and cultural mores. The longstanding practice of Treaty making continued as nation to nation negotiated ways of being, working and living together within the Peace and Friendship Treaties (and later the numbered Treaties). As the colonies grew, expansionist kings in France and Britain fought for control and dominance. This conflict eventually culminated in a need for First Nations, French and English peoples to coexist peacefully in the formation of a new nation.

From the very beginning, Canadians have had to make their differences work. Over time, the celebration of our diverse multicultural patchwork has evolved into a mark of national pride - we are seen as a beacon of peace, friendship, and acceptance in the world and we have continued to attract more newcomers into the fold.

However, the idea of this multi-cultural patchwork has become mythologized. While it encourages us to imagine Canada as a liberal-minded, anti-racist nation of different but equal pieces, it fails to recognize how the organization of our society privileges certain people with disproportionate political, social and economic power.

By examining Canada's stories of inequality we unravel our Canadian mythology. "One Story at a Time" is a dynamic and living project that aims to explore the inequities of the past and present through the lenses of power and privilege and then take that new understanding and knowledge and create something original. ‍‍

"One Story at a Time" is about acknowledging past mistakes, honouring the strength of Canada's people, and recognizing how individual stories have and continue to shape Canada. These individual stories are symbols of Canada’s dynamic and diverse identity; as we continue to unravel our mythology we may try on what some scholars describe as "decolonizing", "indigenizing" and "unsettling".

"One Story at a Time" is rethinking, reframing, and reimagining Canadian identity.


"Our stories are so much more than adventure tales.
They are cries for truth, justice and freedom.

Even tales of loss and hardship give us courage and open up the doors of love.

It is a miracle that I should live long enough to
carry on my work as a djeli, so that my own stories can outlive me."

- “Aminata Diallo” from Episode 6 of The Book of Negroes