Aboriginal peoples in Canada, or Aboriginal Canadians, (also known as Indigenous peoples in Canada and Indigenous 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 are sometimes considered pejorative.
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 2011 census, Aboriginal peoples in Canada totaled 1,400,685 people, or 4.3% of the national population, spread over 600 recognized First Nations governments or bands with distinctive cultures, languages, art, and music. National Aboriginal 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.
|Canada’s Native people are still referred to officially in three broad categories by government for administrative purposes, and in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms:
In the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, Canada’s First Peoples are referred to as Indians, Inuit, and Metis. The Charter recognizes the special Aboriginal Rights of Inuit, Indians, and Metis.