WHO ARE THE FIRST NA­TIONS?

Canada's History - - CURRENTS -

The First Na­tions of Canada are made up of 634 in­di­vid­ual na­tions in all prov­inces and ter­ri­to­ries, based on fifty tribal group­ings such as Cree, Kanien’kehá:ka (Mo­hawk), and Huron. First Na­tions in­hab­i­tants are peo­ple of In­dige­nous de­scent who are nei­ther Métis nor Inuit.

In the 2011 cen­sus, 851,560 peo­ple iden­ti­fied as First Na­tions. Most (697,505) held reg­is­tered or treaty sta­tus, and about half lived in First Na­tions communities, for­merly known as re­serves. More than sixty In­dige­nous lan­guages were re­ported to be in use in Canada.

Many First Na­tions are in the process of devel­op­ing self-government agree­ments with Canada, and all are ac­count­able to the Cana­dian government for pub­lic fund­ing.

The fed­eral government has al­lo­cated $8.4 bil­lion for the pe­riod from 2016 to 2021, with the goal of bring­ing about what it de­scribes as “trans­for­ma­tional change.” In Au­gust 2017, Prime Min­is­ter Justin Trudeau an­nounced plans for the cre­ation of two new de­part­ments: In­dige­nous Ser­vices Canada and Crown-In­dige­nous Re­la­tions and North­ern Af­fairs Canada.

The other In­dige­nous group­ings in Canada are the Métis and Inuit. Métis peo­ple num­bered 451,795 in 2011 and were spread across Canada. The Inuit pop­u­la­tion of 59,446 lives pri­mar­ily in Nu­navut.

Mo­hawks from Kah­nawake, Que­bec, celebrate National Abo­rig­i­nal Day in Mon­treal on June 21, 2016.

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