List of First Nations peoples

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The following is a partial list of First Nations peoples of Canada, organized by linguistic-cultural area. It only includes First Nations people, which by definition excludes Metis and Canadian Inuit groups. The areas used here are in accordance to those developed by the ethnologist and linguist Edward Sapir, and used by the Canadian Museum of Civilization.[1]

Northwest Coast[edit]

These people traditionally eat fish, primarily salmon and eulachon from the ocean, as well as fish from lakes and rivers, and roots and berries. Recently discovered clam gardens suggest that they were not limited only to hunting and gathering. They made use of the forests of the Pacific to build dug-out canoes, and houses made of evenly split planks of wood. They used tools made of stone and wood. The native peoples of the Pacific coast also make totem poles, a trait attributed to other tribes as well. In 2000 a land claim was settled between the Nisga'a people of British Columbia and the provincial government, resulting in the return of over 2,000 square kilometres of land to the Nisga'a. Major ethnicities include the:

British Columbia Interior[edit]


These people traditionally used tipis covered with skins as their homes. Their main sustenance was the bison, which they used as food, as well as for all their garments. The leaders of some Plains tribes wore large headdresses made of feathers, something which is wrongfully attributed by some to all First Nations peoples. Major ethnicities include the:


Western subarctic[edit]

These peoples live in the boreal forest in what are now Canada's western provinces and territories. They were originally hunter-gatherers dependent on caribou, moose and the fur trade. Most spoke Athapaskan languages except the Crees and Inland Tlingit. Major ethnicities in the Yukon, Northwest Territories and the northern parts of the western provinces (British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba) include the following:

Woodlands and eastern subarctic[edit]

Major ethnicities include the:

Atlantic coastal region[edit]

St. Lawrence River Valley[edit]

The largest First Nations group near the St. Lawrence waterway are the Iroquois. This area also includes the Wyandot (formerly referred to as the Huron) peoples of central Ontario, and the League of Five Nations who had lived in the United States, south of Lake Ontario. Major ethnicities include the:

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Canadian Museum of Civilization: Gateway to Aboriginal Heritage". Retrieved 2019-01-29.