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 Native Canadians or 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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Map of gene flow in and out of Beringia.jpg
The genetic history of indigenous peoples of the Americas primarily focuses on Human Y-chromosome DNA haplogroups and Human mitochondrial DNA haplogroups. Autosomal "atDNA" markers are also used, but differ from mtDNA or Y-DNA in that they overlap significantly. The genetic pattern indicates Indigenous Amerindians experienced two very distinctive genetic episodes; first with the initial peopling of the Americas, and secondly with European colonization of the Americas. The former is the determinant factor for the number of gene lineages, zygosity mutations and founding haplotypes present in today's Indigenous Amerindian populations.

Analyses of genetics among Amerindian and Siberian populations have been used to argue for early isolation of founding populations on Beringia and for later, more rapid migration from Siberia through Beringia into the New World. The microsatellite diversity and distributions of the Y lineage specific to South America indicates that certain Amerindian populations have been isolated since the initial colonization of the region. The Na-Dené, Inuit and Indigenous Alaskan populations exhibit Haplogroup Q-M242; however, they are distinct from other indigenous Amerindians with various mtDNA and atDNA mutations. This suggests that the peoples who first settled the northern extremes of North America and Greenland derived from later migrant populations than those who penetrated farther south in the Americas. Linguists and biologists have reached a similar conclusion based on analysis of Amerindian language groups and ABO blood group system distributions.


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A founder of the province of Manitoba and a leader of the Métis during the Red River Rebellion of 1869 and  North-West Rebellion of 1885.
Louis David Riel (English: /ˈl rˈɛl/, French pronunciation: ​[lwi ʁjɛl]; 22 October 1844 – 16 November 1885) was a Canadian politician, a founder of the province of Manitoba, and a political leader of the Métis people of the Canadian Prairies. He led two rebellions against the government of Canada and its first post-Confederation prime minister, John A. Macdonald. Riel sought to preserve Métis rights and culture as their homelands in the Northwest came progressively under the Canadian sphere of influence. Over the decades, he has been made a folk hero by the Francophones, the Catholic nationalists, the native rights movement, and the New Left student movement. Riel has received more scholarly attention than practically any other figure in Canadian history.

His first resistance was the Red River Rebellion of 1869–1870. The provisional government established by Riel ultimately negotiated the terms under which the modern province of Manitoba entered the Canadian Confederation. Riel ordered the execution of Thomas Scott, and fled to the United States to escape prosecution. Despite this, he is frequently referred to as the "Father of Manitoba". While a fugitive, he was elected three times to the House of Commons of Canada, although he never assumed his seat. During these years, he was frustrated by having to remain in exile despite his growing belief that he was a divinely chosen leader and prophet, a belief which would later resurface and influence his actions. Because of this new religious conviction, Catholic leaders who had supported him before increasingly repudiated him. He married in 1881 while in exile in Montana in the United States; he fathered three children.


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Skwxwu7mesh Siiyamiyn.jpg
Credit: Unknown

Skwxwu7mesh (Squamish) leaders on North Vancouver warf in 1906 to send Joe Capilano for his trip to England. The Sḵwx̱wú7mesh[1] (pronounced [sqʷχʷúʔməʃ] (About this sound listen)), or Squamish, are an indigenous people of southwestern British Columbia, a part of the Salishan-speaking people. They speak the Sḵwx̱wú7mesh language, which is a part of the Coast Salish linguistic grouping. When translated, Sḵwx̱wú7mesh renders into the people of the sacred water, referencing what they believe is the water in their territory and its spiritual healing properties.


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  1. ^ Historical rendering of Sḵwx̱wú7mesh is Sko-ko-mish but this should not be confused with the name of the Skokomish people of Washington state. The Semantics of Determiners: Domain restriction in Skwxwú7mesh

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Between 1996 and 2006, the aboriginal population of Canada grew by 45 percent, compared with 8 percent for the non-aboriginal population.

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Haisla baton (UBC-2010a).jpg
A well preserved Haisla baton at the Museum of Anthropology at UBC

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