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Lost Canadians

Don Chapman (center) with Jason Lim, School of Marine and Environmental Affairs, and Nadine Fabbi, Canadian Studies Center. Photo credit: Marion Ferguson.

March 10, 2020

In early February, the Canadian Studies Center and the Center for Human Rights hosted Don Chapman, author of The Lost Canadians: A Struggle for Citizenship Rights, Equality, and Identity (2015). The book provides a detailed account of his efforts at the front of the Canadian citizenship rights movement.

During his talk, Chapman discussed citizenship in Canada and the complicated laws that have contributed to a community of “Lost Canadians.” He focused on the complex Canadian laws that have left many without their rightful citizenship. Chapman described how particular groups—women, Indigenous peoples, Chinese—have been disproportionately affected.

Chapman’s own citizenship was revoked when he was just six years old due to an outdated law that restricted citizenship rights. When Don Chapman’s father became an American citizen, Chapman lost his own Canadian citizenship—even though his mother was Canadian. As a result of his own experience, Chapman took on a battle with the Government of Canada to change Canada’s discriminatory laws. He has spent decades as an activist and advocate for “Lost Canadians”, pushing for updated and revised legislation and helping to restore citizenship to countless Canadian. He has been successful is winning Canadian citizenship for thousands of individuals including Roméo Dallaire, Rachel Maddow and many in our own UW community.