Sociology Index

CHARTER GROUPS

Charter groups are groups that are usually distinguished by ethnic group and ethnic identity and those that have played a pioneering role in the opening and development of new territories and immigrant society. Categories such as “charter groups,” “Native Indians,” and “Visible Minorities” are socially constructed.

In Canada, “charter groups” refers to the British and the French, the founding members of the Canadian Confederation formed in 1867. From the beginning of the seventeenth century to the beginning of the nineteenth century, the fur trade “charter groups” influenced the development of New France and British North America and shaped the competitive relationships between the British and the French.

For long, French and British immigrants “charter groups” accounted for the largest part in this migration. In 1867, the date of Canadian Confederation, about 90% of the entire population belonged to the so-called charter groups, i.e. descendants from immigrants from France and Great Britain , since then known as the “founding nations”.

In Canadian society three main axes of ethnic differentiation are identifiable: the relationship between natives and non-natives, between English and French and between the colonizing or charter groups and other immigrants and their descendants. These distinctions are relevant not only to the private experiences of individuals but also to public issues, eg, aboriginal rights and land claims; linguistic rights; IMMIGRATION POLICY; PREJUDICE AND DISCRIMINATION; and MULTICULTURALISM."

Theories and findings from the social psychology of language have important implications for second language learning by members of Canada’s two charter groups learning the other official language, as well as for immigrants learning either of the two charter languages.

New Zealand is a nation of migrants built upon the tribal base of its indigenous Maori population. Not only is the Treaty of Waitangi/Te Tiriti o Waitangi (1840) viewed by Maori and Pakeha as the most important event in New Zealand history and as defining relationships between the country’s two charter groups, it is also seen by some as Aotearoa’s first documented immigration policy.

Maori and Pakeha as New Zealand’s charter groups were most likely to agree that the extent of multiculturalism is “about right.” This was also the case for Chinese. However, Samoan, Indian, Korean and British youth (46-72%) were more likely to favour an increase in multiculturalism.