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Deaf heritage in Canada: A distinctive, diverse, and enduring culture

Deaf heritage in Canada: A distinctive, diverse, and enduring culture

"As a deaf child, author Dr. Clifton F. Carbin knew almost nothing of the existence of deaf teachers, heroes, community leaders, artists' literacy societies, or businesses that make up the rich fabric of deaf culture in Canada. As an undergraduate at Gallaudet University in Washington, D.C., he dreamed of some day writing a book about his deaf countrymen and women that would fill this blank slate that all deaf Canadian children seem to face about their own history. Later he joined forces with the late Forrest C. Nickerson, founder of the Canadian Cultural Society of the Deaf, who was following a similar dream.

From these dreams, Deaf Heritage in Canada was born.
The research for Deaf Heritage in Canada has taken Dr. Carbin into every province and territory in Canada, into dusty attics and musty basements, stomping through soggy cemeteries and sifting through years of newspaper clippings and boxes of faded photographs. But what he has unearthed, after more than a decade of work, is a cultural treasure for both deaf and hearing Canadians.

The story of the Canadian Deaf experience is the story of men and women, both hearing and deaf. Some have achieved recognition for their feats of bravery, for their pioneering spirit, for their courage in the face of adversity, for their determination to succeed regardless of the situation in which they found themselves. Others have added colour and texture to the Canadian tapestry through accomplishments in education, the arts, religion, science, writing and publishing, business and sports. The pages of Deaf Heritage in Canada bring to life the stories of these people.

Dr. Carbin describes Deaf Heritage in Canada as "a window through which we can catch a glimpse of deaf Canadians as they go about their everyday lives, responding to events around them and making a difference in the future of their local Deaf communities." As such, it provides all Canadians with a fascinating and unique insight into the lives of deaf Canadians. It also provides, for deaf and hearing Canadians alike, an appreciation and understanding of the valuable contribution deaf Canadians have made and are continuing to make to the Canadian cultural mosaic."