Aboriginal Peoples

… a core concept in Governance and Institutions and Atlas100

Concept description

Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada (INAC, reference below) defines Aboriginal peoples as a collective name for the original peoples of North America and their descendants.

INAC notes:

“The Canadian constitution recognizes three groups of Aboriginal peoples: Indians (commonly referred to as First Nations), Métis and Inuit. These are three distinct peoples with unique histories, languages, cultural practices and spiritual beliefs. More than 1.4 million people in Canada identify themselves as an Aboriginal person, according to the 2011 National Household Survey.

“Aboriginal communities are located in urban, rural and remote locations across Canada. They include:

Highlights from the 2011 National Household Survey (reference below)

“Aboriginal people – Diverse groups living across the country

  • New data from the National Household Survey (NHS) show that 1,400,685 people had an Aboriginal identity in 2011, representing 4.3% of the total Canadian population. Aboriginal people accounted for 3.8% of the population enumerated in the 2006 Census, 3.3% in the 2001 Census and 2.8% in the 1996 Census.
  • The Aboriginal population increased by 232,385 people, or 20.1% between 2006 and 2011, compared with 5.2% for the non-Aboriginal population.
  • The largest numbers of Aboriginal people lived in Ontario and the western provinces (Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta, and British Columbia). Aboriginal people made up the largest shares of the population of Nunavut and the Northwest Territories.

“First Nations people

  • In 2011, 851,560 people identified as a First Nations person, representing 60.8% of the total Aboriginal population and 2.6% of the total Canadian population.
  • Many First Nations people lived in Ontario and the western provinces, but they made up the largest shares of the total population of the Northwest Territories, Yukon, Manitoba and Saskatchewan.
  • In 2011, 637,660 First Nations people reported being Registered Indians, representing 74.9% of all First Nations people, 45.5% of the total Aboriginal population and 1.9% of the total Canadian population.
  • One-quarter of First Nations people (213,900) were not Registered Indians, representing 15.3% of the total Aboriginal population and less than 1% of the total Canadian population.

“Métis

  • In 2011, 451,795 people identified as Métis. They represented 32.3% of the total Aboriginal population and 1.4% of the total Canadian population.
  • Métis represented 8.0% of the total population of the Northwest Territories, 6.7% of Manitoba’s population, and 5.2% of Saskatchewan’s population.
  • Among census metropolitan areas, Winnipeg had the highest population of Métis, 46,325 people, or 6.5% of its total population. It was followed by Edmonton with 31,780, Vancouver (18,485) and Calgary (17,040). In addition, 11,520 Métis lived in Saskatoon and 9,980 in Toronto.

“Inuit

  • In 2011, 59,445 people identified as Inuit. They represented 4.2% of the total Aboriginal population and 0.2% of the total Canadian population.
  • Almost three-quarters of Inuit in Canada lived in Inuit Nunangat. Inuit Nunangat stretches from Labrador to the Northwest Territories and comprises four regions: Nunatsiavut, Nunavik, Nunavut and the Inuvialuit region.

“The Aboriginal population is young

  • Aboriginal children aged 14 and under made up 28.0% of the total Aboriginal population and 7.0% of all children in Canada. Non-Aboriginal children aged 14 and under represented 16.5% of the total non-Aboriginal population.
  • Aboriginal youth aged 15 to 24 represented 18.2% of the total Aboriginal population, and 5.9% of all youth in Canada. Non-Aboriginal youth accounted for 12.9% of the total non-Aboriginal population.
  • About 6% of the total Aboriginal population were seniors aged 65 and over, less than half of the proportion of seniors in the non-Aboriginal population (14.2%).
  • Inuit had a median age of 23, the youngest of the three Aboriginal groups. The median age of First Nations people was 26, followed by Métis at 31.

“Living arrangements of Aboriginal children

  • Aboriginal children aged 14 and under in Canada lived in a variety of arrangements, primarily in families with either both of their parents or with lone-parents. Other Aboriginal children in that age group were stepchildren, grandchildren living with grandparents with no parent present, foster children or children living with other relatives.
  • One-half of Aboriginal children aged 14 and under (49.6%) were living in a family with both their parents, either biological or adoptive, compared with three-quarters (76.0%) of non-Aboriginal children. About one-third of Aboriginal children (34.4%) lived in a lone-parent family compared with 17.4% of non-Aboriginal children.
  • Almost half (48.1%) of all children aged 14 and under in foster care were Aboriginal children. Nearly 4% of Aboriginal children were foster children compared to 0.3% of non-Aboriginal children.”
Resources

INAC (2012), Terminology, at http://www.aadnc-aandc.gc.ca/eng/1100100014642/1100100014643, accessed 30 September 2016.

INAC (2013), First Nations in Canada, at http://www.aadnc-aandc.gc.ca/eng/1307460755710/1307460872523, accessed 30 September 2016.

INAC (2015), First Nations Profiles, at http://fnp-ppn.aandc-aadnc.gc.ca/fnp/Main/index.aspx?lang=eng, accessed 30 September 2016.

INAC (2016), Map Room, at http://www.aadnc-aandc.gc.ca/eng/1290453474688/1290453673970, accessed 30 September 2016.

INAC (2015), Governance, at http://www.aadnc-aandc.gc.ca/eng/1100100013803/1100100013807, accessed 30 September 2016.

Source

Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada, Aboriginal peoples and communities, at http://www.aadnc-aandc.gc.ca/eng/1100100013785/1304467449155, accessed 30 September 2016.

Statistics Canada, Aboriginal Peoples in Canada: First Nations People, Métis and Inuit, at http://www12.statcan.gc.ca/nhs-enm/2011/as-sa/99-011-x/99-011-x2011001-eng.cfm, accessed 30 September 2016.)

Topic, subject and Atlas course

Indigenous Governance in Governance and Institutions and Atlas100.

Page created by: Ian Clark, last modified on 30 September 2016.

Image: National Aboriginal History Month, UNE-SEN, at https://www.une-sen.org/press/?p=2403, 10 December 2015.