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Indigenous Peoples in Canada

In Canada, the term Indigenous peoples (or Aboriginal peoples) refers to First Nations, Métis and Inuit peoples. These are the original inhabitants of the land that is now Canada. In the 2016 census by Statistics Canada, over 1.6 million people in Canada identified as Indigenous, making up 4.9 per cent of the national population. Though severely threatened — and in certain cases extinguished — by colonial forces, Indigenous culture, language and social systems have shaped the development of Canada and continue to grow and thrive despite extreme adversity.

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Métis Settlements

Métis Settlements located across the northern part of Alberta are comprised of the Paddle Prairie, Peavine, Gift Lake, East Prairie, Buffalo Lake, Kikino, Elizabeth and Fishing Lake settlements. These eight settlements form a constitutionally protected Métis land base in Canada.

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Repatriation of Artifacts

Most Indigenous ethnology collections found in Canadian museums today were gathered (and sometimes confiscated) by missionaries, government agents, amateur and professional collectors and anthropologists such as Edward Sapir and Marius Barbeau during the late 1800s and early 1900s. Today, many Indigenous nations are requesting that these items be returned to their true home.

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The Diviners

The Diviners (1974), the fifth and final book-length fiction in Margaret Laurence's celebrated Manawaka series, is the story of Morag Gunn, a Manitoba prairie-born novelist and single mother, whose life and works loosely resemble Margaret Laurence's own.

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Fenians

Fenian was an umbrella-term applied to members of various Irish nationalist organisations during the 19th century.

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Indigenous Services Canada

Indigenous Services Canada (part of the former Indigenous/Indian and Northern Affairs Canada or INAC) was created by the federal government in 2017 to provide and support the delivery of services such as health care, child care, education and infrastructure to First Nations, Métis and Inuit communities. The overarching vision of the department is to support self-determination as a means of providing Indigenous peoples with the power to deliver their own services.

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Dene Nation (organization)

Established in 1969–70 as the Indian Brotherhood of the Northwest Territories, the Dene Nation (renamed in 1978) is the political organization that represents the Dene, or northern Athabaskan-speaking peoples and their descendants, of Denendeh, which includes the Mackenzie River Valley and the Barren Grounds in the Northwest Territories, in the settlement of outstanding land and governance issues with the Government of Canada.

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Kelowna Accord

The Kelowna Accord, announced in November 2005, was the result of an 18-month consultative process that involved the federal government, provincial and territorial governments, and five national Aboriginal organizations.

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Brian Maracle

Brian Maracle, also known as Owennatekha, author, journalist and radio host (born in 1947 in Detroit, Michigan). Brian Maracle is a member of the Mohawk First Nation and a passionate advocate for the preservation of the Kanyen’kehaka (Mohawk) language.

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Francophone

In Canada, a francophone refers to someone for whom French is their first language, the one they typically use most often to speak, read, write and think, and the one they use most often at home. In the 2016 census, about 7.4 million Canadians, or 21.4 per cent of the population, reported French as their mother tongue.

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Fur Trade in Canada (Plain-Language Summary)

The fur trade began in the 1600s in what is now Canada. It continued for more than 250 years. Europeans traded with Indigenous people for beaver pelts. The demand for felt hats in Europe drove this business. The fur trade was one of the main reasons that Europeans explored and colonized Canada. It built relationships between Europeans and Indigenous peoples.

(This article is a plain-language summary of the fur trade. If you are interested in reading about this topic in more depth, please see our full-length entry, Fur Trade in Canada.)

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Residential Schools in Canada

Residential schools were government-sponsored religious schools that were established to assimilate Indigenous children into Euro-Canadian culture. Although the first residential facilities were established in New France, the term usually refers to schools established after 1880. Residential schools were created by Christian churches and the Canadian government as an attempt to both educate and convert Indigenous youth and to assimilate them into Canadian society. However, the schools disrupted lives and communities, causing long-term problems among Indigenous peoples. Since the last residential school closed in 1996, former students have demanded recognition and restitution, resulting in the Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement in 2007 and a formal public apology by Prime Minister Stephen Harper in 2008. In total, an estimated 150,000 First Nation, Inuit, and Métis children attended residential schools. (See also Inuit Experiences at Residential School and Métis Experiences at Residential School.)

This is the full-length entry about residential schools in Canada. For a plain language summary, please see Residential Schools in Canada (Plain Language Summary).

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Treaty 8

Treaty 8 was signed on 21 June 1899 by the Crown and First Nations of the Lesser Slave Lake area. The treaty covers roughly 841,487.137 km2 of what was formerly the North-West Territories and British Columbia, and now includes northern Alberta, northwest Saskatchewan, and portions of the modern Northwest Territories and BC, making it the largest treaty by area in the history of Canada. The terms and implementation of Treaty 8 differ importantly from those of previous Numbered Treaties, with long-lasting consequences for the governance and peoples of that area.

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Rights of Indigenous Peoples in Canada

It is difficult to generalize about definitions of Indigenous rights because of the diversity among First Nations, Métis and Inuit peoples in Canada. Broadly speaking, however, Indigenous rights are inherent, collective rights that flow from the original occupation of the land that is now Canada, and from social orders created before the arrival of Europeans to North America. For many, the concept of Indigenous rights can be summed up as the right to independence through self-determination regarding governance, land, resources and culture.