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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What I would like to see is people with traditional knowledge to teach the small, little people how to grow up with pride.
Harriet Nahanee also known as Tseybayotl (December 7, 1935 – February 24, 2007) was an Indigenous rights activist, residential school alumnus, and environmental activist. She was born in British Columbia, Canada. She comes from the Pacheedaht who are part of the Nuu-chah-nulth, Indigenous peoples from the Vancouver Island. As a child, Nahanee attended both Ahousaht Residential School and Alberni Residential School, and would later testify about the horrible treatment she received there. She married into the Squamish (Sḵwxwú7mesh).

Harriet was sentenced to two weeks in a provincial jail in January 2007 for criminal contempt of court for her part in the Sea-to-Sky Highway expansion protest at Eagleridge Bluffs. She was then hospitalized with pneumonia a week after her release from the jail, at which time doctors discovered she had lung cancer. She died of pneumonia and complications at St. Paul’s Hospital in Vancouver on February 24, one month after her original sentencing.


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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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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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Winnipeg Forks - Plains Cree Inscription.jpg
Plains Cree inscription on display at The Forks park in Winnipeg, Manitoba.

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