Portal:Indigenous peoples in Canada

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The Indigenous peoples in Canada Portal
This is a sister portal of the Canada Portal

Introduction

A life-sized bronze statue of an Indigenous person and eagle above him; there is a bear to his right and a wolf to his left, they are all looking upwards towards a blue and white sky
The Canadian Aboriginal veterans monument
in Confederation Park, Ottawa.
Noel Lloyd Pinay, 2001.
Photo by Padraic Ryan ca. 2007.

Indigenous peoples in Canada, also known as Aboriginal Canadians, are the indigenous peoples within the boundaries of present-day Canada. They comprise the First Nations, Inuit and Métis. Although "Indian" is a term still commonly used in legal documents, the descriptors "Indian" and "Eskimo" have somewhat fallen into disuse in Canada and some consider them to be pejorative. Similarly, "Aboriginal" as a collective noun is a specific term of art used in some legal documents, including the Constitution Act, 1982, though in some circles that word is also falling into disfavour.

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 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 Canadian Aboriginal culture included permanent settlements, agriculture, civic and ceremonial architecture, complex societal hierarchies and trading networks. The Métis culture of mixed blood originated in the mid-17th century when First Nation and Inuit people married Europeans. The Inuit had more limited interaction with European settlers during that early period. Various laws, treaties, and legislation have been enacted between European immigrants and First Nations across Canada. Aboriginal Right to Self-Government provides opportunity to manage historical, cultural, political, health care and economic control aspects within first people's communities.

As of the 2016 census, Aboriginal peoples in Canada totalled 1,673,785 people, or 4.9% of the national population, with 977,230 First Nations people, 587,545 Métis and 65,025 Inuit. There are over 600 recognized First Nations governments or bands with distinctive cultures, languages, art, and music. National Indigenous Peoples Day recognizes the cultures and contributions of Aboriginal peoples to the history of Canada. First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples of all backgrounds have become prominent figures and have served as role models in the Aboriginal community and help to shape the Canadian cultural identity.

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Treaty 9 - also known as the "James Bay Treaty," since the eastern end of the affected treaty territory was at the shore of James Bay.

The numbered treaties (or Post-Confederation Treaties) are a series of eleven treaties signed between the aboriginal peoples in Canada and the reigning Monarch of Canada (Victoria, Edward VII or George V) from 1871 to 1921. It was the Government of Canada who created the policy, commissioned the Treaty Commissioners and ratified the agreements. These Treaties are agreements with the Government of Canada, administered by Canadian Aboriginal law and overseen by the Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development.

Regions affected by the treaties include portions of what are now Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba, Ontario, Saskatchewan and the Northwest Territories. When the Dominion of Canada was first formed in 1867 as a confederation of several British North American colonies, most of these regions were part of Rupert's Land and the North-Western Territory and were controlled by the Hudson's Bay Company.

The "National Dream" of Sir John A. Macdonald, the first Prime Minister of Canada, was to create a nation from sea to sea, tied together by the Canadian Pacific Railway. In order to make this dream a reality, the Government of Canada needed to settle the southern portions of Rupert's Land (present day Alberta, Manitoba and Saskatchewan).

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Sheila Watt-Cloutier during a lecture at York University
Sheila Watt-Cloutier, OC (born 2 December 1953) is a Canadian Inuit activist. She has been a political representative for Inuit at the regional, national and international levels, most recently as International Chair for Inuit Circumpolar Council (formerly the Inuit Circumpolar Conference). Watt-Cloutier has worked on a range of social and environmental issues affecting Inuit, most recently, persistent organic pollutants and global warming. She has received numerous awards and honors for her work, and has been featured in a number of documentaries and profiled by journalists from all media. Watt-Cloutier sits as an advisor to Canada's Ecofiscal Commission.


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About seven out of 10 First Nations people live off a reserve, with almost a third of those living in large cities. Nearly 30 per cent live on reserves.

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1914 Panoramic View of Iroquois.jpg
"Iroquois." c1914. William Alexander Drennan, copyright claimant, 1914

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