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Indigenous peoples in Canada

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

In Canada, Indigenous groups comprise the First Nations,[2] Inuit,[3] and Métis.[4] Although Indian is a term still commonly used in legal documents, the descriptors Indian and Eskimo have fallen into disuse in Canada, and most consider them to be pejorative.[5][6][7] Aboriginal peoples as a collective noun[8] is a specific term of art used in some legal documents, including the Constitution Act, 1982, though in most Indigenous circles Aboriginal has also fallen into disfavour.[9][10]

Quick facts: Total population, Regions with significant po...
Indigenous peoples in Canada
Peuples autochtones du Canada
Indigenous peoples in Canada and the U.S., percent of population by area
Total population
5.0% of the Canadian population (2021)
Regions with significant populations
Ontario406,585 (2.9%)
British Columbia290,210 (5.9%)
Alberta284,470 (6.8%)
Manitoba237,185 (18.1%)
Quebec205,010 (2.5%)
Saskatchewan187,885 (17.0%)
Nova Scotia52,430 (5.5%)
Newfoundland and Labrador46,545 (9.3%)
New Brunswick33,295 (4.4%)
Nunavut31,390 (85.8%)
Northwest Territories20,035 (49.6%)
Yukon8,810 (22.3%)
Prince Edward Island3,385 (2.2%)
Related ethnic groups

Old Crow Flats and Bluefish Caves are some of the earliest known sites of human habitation in Canada. The Paleo-Indian Clovis, Plano, and Pre-Dorset cultures pre-date the current Indigenous peoples of the Americas. Projectile point tools, spears, pottery, bangles, chisels, and scrapers mark archaeological sites, thus distinguishing cultural periods, traditions, and lithic reduction styles.

The characteristics of Indigenous[nb 1] culture in Canada includes a long history of permanent settlements,[12] agriculture,[13] civic and ceremonial architecture,[14] complex societal hierarchies, and trading networks.[15] Métis of mixed ancestry originated in the mid-17th century when First Nations and Inuit married European fur traders, primarily the French.[16] The Inuit had more limited interaction with European settlers during that early period.[17] Various laws, treaties, and legislation have been enacted between European immigrants and First Nations across Canada. Today, it is a common perception that Aboriginal peoples in Canada have the right to self-government to provide an opportunity to manage historical, cultural, political, health care and economic control aspects within First Nation's communities. However, some Canadian legislation may contradict this, for example the Indian act states 35 (3),[8] "the Governor in Council may, in lieu of the province, authority or corporation taking or using the lands without the consent of the owner, authorize a transfer or grant of the lands to the province, authority or corporation, subject to any terms that may be prescribed by the Governor in Council."

As of the 2021 census, Indigenous peoples in Canada totaled 1,807,250 people, or 5.0% of the national population, with 1,048,405 First Nations people, 624,220 Métis, and 70,540 Inuit.[1] 7.7% of the population under the age of 14 are of Indigenous descent.[18] There are over 600 recognized First Nations governments or bands with distinctive cultures, languages, art, and music.[19][20] National Indigenous Peoples Day recognizes the cultures and contributions of Indigenous peoples to the history of Canada.[21] First Nations, Inuit, and Métis peoples of all backgrounds have become prominent figures and have served as role models in the Indigenous community and help to shape the Canadian cultural identity.[22]