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Portal:Indigenous peoples of Canada

The Indigenous peoples of Canada Portal
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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 (French: Canadiens Autochtones) or by the initialism FNIM (First Nations, Inuit, Métis), are the indigenous peoples within the boundaries of 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. 7.7% of the population under the age of 14 are of Aboriginal descent. 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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Chief Crowfoot ca. 1885

Crowfoot (c. 1830 – 25 April 1890) or Isapo-Muxika (Blackfoot Issapóómahksika, "Crow-big-foot") was a chief of the Siksika First Nation. His parents, Istowun-eh'pata (Packs a Knife) and Axkahp-say-pi (Attacked Towards Home), were Kainai. His brother Iron Shield became Chief Bull. He was only five when Istowun-eh'pata was killed during a raid on the Crow tribe, and a year later, his mother remarried to Akay-nehka-simi (Many Names) of the Siksika people. The young boy was adopted by the Siksika, who gave him the name Kyi-i-staah (Bear Ghost), until he could receive his father’s name, Istowun-eh’pata.

Though he was well respected for his bravery, Crowfoot refused to join the North-West Rebellion of 1885, believing it to be a lost cause. In 1886, Prime Minister Sir John A. Macdonald invited Crowfoot to Ottawa. Crowfoot went, as did Three Bulls and Red Crow, but soon fell ill and had to return from Ottawa. Because of his brave performance and injury during the battle, he was final given his adult name, Isapo-muxika, taken from a deceased relative.

Crowfoot was a warrior who fought in as many as 19 battles and sustained many injuries. Despite this, he tried to obtain peace instead of tribal warfare. When the Canadian Pacific Railway sought to build their mainline through Blackfoot territory, negotiations with Albert Lacombe convinced Crowfoot that it should be allowed.

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First Nations CEF soldiers A041366.jpg
Elders with soldiers in the uniform of the Canadian Expeditionary Force. ca. 1916..... More than 7,000 Canadian First Nations, Inuit and Métis served with British forces during First World War and Second World War. When Canada declared war on Germany on September 10, 1939, the Aboriginal community quickly responded to volunteer. Four years later, in May 1943, the government declared that, as British subjects, all able Indian men of military age could be called up for training and service in Canada or overseas.

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In 2006, the provinces with the largest aboriginal populations were Ontario, British Columbia and Alberta. However half of Canada's Inuit population lives in Nunavut, comprising 85 per cent of the territories total inhabitants.

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Micmac-confirmation.jpg
Text of the Rite of Confirmation in Mi'kmaq hieroglyphs.
The text reads "Koqoey nakla msɨt telikaqumila’laji?" – literally 'Why / those / all / after he did that to them?', or "Why are all these different steps necessary?"

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