This looks like an important and interesting documentary in the making
"A Past, Denied: The Invisible History of Slavery in Canada" is a feature-length documentary by independent filmmaker Mike Barber. The film, which is currently in production, explores how a false sense of history—both taught in the classroom and repeated throughout our national historical narrative—impinges on the present. It examines how 200 years of institutional slavery during Canada’s formation has been kept out of Canadian classrooms, textbooks and social consciousness.
The Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade effectively started in 1444 when Portuguese pirates, operating under the auspices of Prince Henrique, kidnapped 235 Africans from a village near the mouth of the Senegal River and brought them back to Portugal where they were sold as slaves. From that point forward, over 15,000,000 Africans would be forcibly removed from their homeland and sold into slavery in Europe and the Americas; over 30,000,000 others would die in slave wars, work camps, or during transit aboard slave ships until the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade ended in the 1860s.
Today in North America, the use of African and Indigenous slave labour is seen as a uniquely American institution. Canada is reputed as being the promised land to the North to where slaves could escape and live as free men and women. The Underground Railroad is our claim to fame, and we toot that horn proudly. Our history textbooks—and much less, our national historical narrative—rarely, if ever mention the two centuries of institutionalized slavery and its role in the founding of Canada.
The version of history taught in Canadian schools tends to serve the interests of nationalist pride rather than education. Figures such as René Bourassa, Colin McNabb, Joseph Papineau and Peter Russell have been made into historical icons, honoured in our texts and on our landscape. All were slave owners and some were rabid advocates of slavery, though today one would never know it. Among the multitude of authoritative biographies on such founding ﬁgures, these facts have a tendency to escape any mention, either because the authors chose not to include these facts or because they simply were not aware. Whether this act of censorship is intentional or not the error is compounded, the cycle of ignorance is perpetuated.