Sample Culture Essay Paper on Survival as an Element of Canadian Culture


            Multiculturalism is one of the most common identifiers of the Canadian nation.  Unlike other nations such as Europe, Canada has established effective cultural values and identities which encourage cohesion and unity among diverse cultural formations. Other nations have adopted negative perceptions of multiculturalism entailing cultural sabotage and polarization, which were not initially evident in the Canadian context (Banting and Kymlicka 46). However, the idea of multiculturalism is constantly being built on isolationist as well as stereotypical assumptions about each of the ethnic groups in the country. The evidence of the same is taken to imply that Canada is moving in the footsteps of Europe.  Due to the assumption of the direction of Canada’s movement relative to Europe, the country is under constant scrutiny to determine whether the same segregation, prejudice and polarization activities experienced in Europe have started being experienced in Canada. The outcome of such scrutiny is that most of the cultures of the country are constantly under the pressure to survive amidst a dynamic cultural background (Banting and Kymlicka 46). The concept of multiculturalism and the associated polarization brings about the need for segregation in the same measure as experienced in Europe. On the contrary, it has resulted in the realization of the inherent need for survival and can be cited as the driver of the survival theme in Canadian culture.

Survival in Canadian Culture

            Understanding the concept of survival in explaining the Canadian culture can be a difficult challenge. This is because the survival is considered one of the thematic guides in Canadian literatures in regards to cultural exploration. Individuals in the country identify themselves collectively with their different ethnic cultures while positioning themselves within the triangulations of culture and collective identities. According to Violini (5), the Canadian landscape itself, in its diversity, mirrors the diversity of the people in the country. The citizens are enclosed within the concepts of diverse mythological cultures. The assortment of cultures to be chosen from, the intertwined cultural differences and the massive immigrant populations make it difficult to establish a single thematic perception that can effectively describe all Canadians. With the variety of cultures demanding individual attention, Canadians resort to the identifying themselves with close knit cultural relations. Each cultural group works towards ensuring it is not assimilated by others. Survival thus becomes the most reasonable thematic descriptor of Canada, which gives the country the intended unity.

            Survival is seen as a theme not only in Canadian literature but also in the conduct of various cultural groups. In the theme of survival, the cultural truth is continuously seen to be prevalent in the contemporary Canadian culture. The theme of survival not only describes the inherent desire of each cultural group to be recognized but also acts as a bridge between the different cultural groups in the country. The aboriginals have different survival stories and techniques from the White Canadians as well as from other cultural and ethnic factions in the country. While each understands the differences between their cultures, they all struggle to stand against the concept of acculturation, particularly with respect to the impacts of the colonial era. Canada has established itself under the survival theme in terms of describing conditions experienced by different cultural groups in the country. Presently, the development of the modernized nation- state following colonization has led to the distinction of small, potential communities for assimilation and larger communities which can assimilate others.

The Aboriginal Canadians form the best example in the exploration of the survival theme in Canada. The community, initially recognized by the distinctive practices with regards to self defense and economic activity, has continued to be associated with distinctive clothing, language and physical features. Such external factors characterize their consideration by others, a factor which has to be rectified in most cases to achieve individual identity. While the collective people have a shared history of genocide, poverty, disenfranchisement and collective trauma among many past experiences, they still have individual identities separate from the collective perception (Frideres 321). The perception of the community as a small cultural groups results in the loss of individual identity and the assumption of potential assimilation by larger cultural entities. In such a case, the theme of survival emerges not only in the preservation of the collective identity but also in the preservation of individual identities. The community and the members thereof have to develop a distinctive identity separate from the description accorded to them by others. In most cases, maintaining an independent description proves to be challenging as the community members respond more to external characterizations.

At the same time, the Aboriginals have made massive efforts towards ensuring cultural survival not only through perseveration of their cultural practices in their indigenous settings but also exposing the culture to large urban settings. The community recognizes the need for interconnection among all things and all people, particularly through communal practices of spirituality and religion (Frideres 323). The community has to maintain variants of its cultural practices yet maintain a world view of the culture and the elements in it. Because of such need for a world view, the community is under constant strain, struggling with the pressure towards assimilation by larger communities versus the community forces and the cultural traditions of the aboriginal identity (Frideres 324).

In other communities, the theme of survival is viewed not only as a unifying element of Canadian literature but also of the diverse cultural identities in Canada. Each of the ethnic groups in the country had different struggles and different challenges (Alter 159). At the core of Canadian culture, the theme of survival exemplifies the efforts made different native and non-native communities in ensuring positive progress. For the early settlers, the theme of survival was majorly developed in the early years where the communities had to stand against a plethora of hostile natives and natural elements. On the other hand, the French Canada had to survival the unexpected increase of the English Canada to be able to ensure cultural sustainability is achieved. Their numbers notwithstanding, the English Canada also has to constantly remain strong against and populous and similarly strong neighbor, the United States (Alter 159). The implications of such interactions are that each of these groups is constantly striving to maintain its unadulterated cultural practices. To a large extent, this has not been possible, partially due to the acculturation that resulted from colonial powers and also due to the modernization effects in Canada and beyond.

The experiences of different Canadian communities and cultures provide a good example of how survival is part of culture. Not only do different communities strive to stand amidst other conflicting cultures, but they also share in their national efforts to sustain the Canadian culture. The implication is a general unification in the theme of survival.

Works Cited

 Alter, Grit. Inter and trans-cultural learning in the context of Canadian young adult fiction. LIT Verlag Munster, 2015. Retrieved from

Banting, Keith and Kymlicka, Will. Canadian multiculturalism: Global anxieties and local debates. British Journal of Canadian Studies, vol. 23, 1(2010): 43- 72. Retrieved from

Frideres, James. Aboriginal identity in the Canadian context. The Canadian Journal of Native Studies, vol. XXVIII, 2 (2008): 313- 342. Retrieved from

Violini, Cara. Hundreds and thousands: Diversifying themes in Canadian literature through Emily Carr’s mythographies. Master’s Thesis – Athabasca University. 2011. Retrieved from