The Indigenous peoples that lived on the territory now Canada are known as First Nations. Indigenous individuals who are Métis or Inuit are not considered First Nations.
Aboriginal people are a term that is occasionally used to describe the people of the First Nations. Members are more likely to describe themselves as individual countries or communities. Hence the phrase “First Nations” should only be used broadly.
The phrase “first among equals” connects the First Nations with the French and the British as the founding nations of Canada.
Woodland First Nations, Iroquoian First Nations, Plains First Nations, Plateau First Nations, Pacific Coast First Nations, and Mackenzie and Yukon River Basin First Nations were the six major geographical groupings among the early First Nations.
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Indigenous Peoples History
The First Nations initially experienced European contact, settlement, and commerce.
Before European explorers arrived, the First Nations populated North America for thousands of years. In the 11th century, Norse adventurers travelled from Scandinavia to Iceland, Greenland, and eventually Newfoundland.
During the 1500s, the abundant fishing enticed Europeans to return to North America and build towns. These explorers stayed longer than the previous ones.
The Europeans used colonial tactics and policies to absorb and govern indigenous peoples. The Indian Act of 1876, which consolidated prior legislation to eradicate First Nations culture in favour of integration into Euro-Canadian civilization, is one example of these practises.
Another regulation, known as the pass system, regulated Indigenous people’s mobility by forcing them to leave and return to their reservations with an approved travel permit. Residential schools and reservations were two harsher practises.
These policies and practices, along with segregation, land loss, racism, and dwindling or uneven access to resources & public services, have had a devastating impact on Indigenous people’s well-being.
Hundreds of Indigenous leaders gathered in Ottawa in 1980 to sign the Declaration of First Nations, which was the first time “First Nations” was used. The Assembly of First Nations was established in 1982 to serve as a political representation for Canada’s indigenous people.
People of Today’s First Nations
According to the 2016 census, 977,230 Canadians identify as being of First Nations ancestry, up 39.3% from 2006. The Canadian government recognizes 619 First Nations, who speak over 50 languages as of 2020.
Today’s First Nations people may reside on or off reservations, have or lack legal status under the Indian Act, and be or not be members of a nation and band (bands function as municipalities).
As previously stated, First Nations (and Indigenous people in general) have had their socioeconomic standing and overall well-being badly affected for years, and difficulties exist today.
Dispossession of cultural traditions, discrimination, racism, prejudice, and socioeconomic inequity has contributed to First Nations living in deplorable circumstances.
The socioeconomic divide between Indigenous and non-indigenous peoples is wide, but it is narrowing. In a study released in 2019, the Assembly of First Nations found that over half of Canada’s 254,100 First Nations children live in poverty.
Furthermore, non-Indigenous children are nearly four times as likely as First Nations children to live in poverty.
|Saint Pierre and Miquelon||5.7590|
|Wallis and Futuna||10.9820|
|British Virgin Islands||30.5960|
|Turks and Caicos Islands||39.7410|
|Saint Kitts and Nevis||53.8710|
|Northern Mariana Islands||58.2690|
|Isle of Man||85.7320|
|Antigua and Barbuda||99.5090|
|United States Virgin Islands||103.9710|
|Saint Vincent and the Grenadines||111.5510|
|Sao Tome and Principe||227.6790|
|Trinidad and Tobago||1406.5850|
|Bosnia and Herzegovina||3249.3170|
|Central African Republic||5016.6780|
|Republic of the Congo||5797.8050|
|Papua New Guinea||9292.1690|
|United Arab Emirates||10081.7850|
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