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 (French: Canadiens Autochtones), 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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North-West Rebellion
Battle of Fish Creek.jpg

The North-West Rebellion (or North-West Resistance or the Saskatchewan Rebellion) of 1885 was a brief and unsuccessful uprising by the Métis people of the District of Saskatchewan under Louis Riel against the Dominion of Canada, which they believed had failed to address their concerns for the survival of their people. Despite some early victories at Duck Lake, Fish Creek and Cut Knife, the rebellion resulted in the destruction of numerous Métis and allied Aboriginal forces, and Louis Riel was hanged. Tensions between French Canada and English Canada increased for some time. Due to the role that the Canadian Pacific Railway played in transporting troops, political support increased and the legislature authorized funds to complete the nation's first transcontinental railway. After the Red River Rebellion of 1869-1870, many of the Métis moved from Manitoba to Saskatchewan, then part of the Northwest Territories, where they founded a settlement at Batoche on the South Saskatchewan River. However, as in Manitoba, settlers from Ontario began to arrive. They pushed for land to be allotted in the square concession system of English Canada, rather than the seigneurial system of strips reaching back from a river which the Métis were familiar with in their French-Canadian culture.

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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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From 1981 to 2001, the percentage of Aboriginal people who obtained college diplomas increased from 15.0 per cent to 22.0 per cent, while the percentage that obtained university degrees increased from 4.0 per cent to 6.0 per cent. This compares with increases of 20.0 per cent to 25.0 per cent for non-Aboriginal people obtaining college diplomas.

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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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