Native people worldwide often prefer the broader term "aboriginal." This avoids the distinction between "natives" and "non-natives," important from the point of view of the Métis. The term Aboriginal is also used in section 35 of the Constitution Act of 1982 (see CONSTITUTION ACT, 1982: DOCUMENT), and refers to the Indian, Inuit and Métis peoples of Canada.
Aboriginal people may also consider themselves minority indigenous peoples and, in Canada until the 1980s, as peoples of the "Fourth World." The Dene Declaration of 1975 included the phrase "We the Dene are part of the Fourth World" (see DENE NATION). Among the Fourth World peoples, for example, are the Aborigines of Australia, the Maori of New Zealand, the Ainu of Japan, the Saami of Scandinavian countries and the Indian peoples of Central and South America. Fourth World indigenous minorities define themselves as powerless, exploited and often colonized populations living within First, Second and Third World countries; that is, the industrialized, capitalist, democratic, socialist and communist, developing and emerging nation-states of the world.
In 1980-81, the Joint Council of the NATIONAL INDIAN BROTHERHOOD and the ASSEMBLY OF FIRST NATIONS used the term "First Nations" for the first time in their Declaration of the First Nations. First Nations often refers only to Indian peoples. Symbolically, the term attempts to elevate Aboriginal peoples to a status of "first among equals" in their quest for self-determination and SELF-GOVERNMENT alongside the English and French founding nations in Canada. The term is not used by Aboriginal peoples outside Canada.
Author RENÉ R. GADACZ
Links to Other Sites
Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada
The official website of Canada's Department of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada, which is responsible for meeting the Government of Canada's obligations and commitments to First Nations, Inuit and Métis.
Canadian Aboriginal Writing and Arts Challenge
The website for the Canadian Aboriginal Writing and Arts Challenge, which features Canada's largest essay writing competition for Aboriginal youth (ages 14-29) and a companion program for those who prefer to work through painting, drawing and photography. See their guidelines, teacher resources, profiles of winners, and more. From the Historica-Dominion Institute.
Prince of Wales Northern Heritage Centre
Explore the history, culture, and ecology of Canada's North at the website for the Prince of Wales Northern Heritage Centre. Check out "Inuvialuit Place Names" for interactive maps and interesting historical details about numerous sites throughout this vast region.
Aboriginal Art, Culture, and Other Traditions of the Aboriginal People
A teachers' guide on the themes of Aboriginal traditions, culture, and art. From the Virtual Museum of Canada.
Bone Snow Knives and Tin Oil Lamps
View a collection of traditional tools and household articles representing various First Nation's cultures at this Virtual Museum website.
The Making of Treaty 8 in Canada's Northwest
This site, which features poignant oral histories and archival material, commemorates the signing of Treaty 8 in the 19th Century and considers the complex issues relating to past, present, and future First Nations treaty negotiations in Canada. From the Virtual Museum of Canada.
Living Traditions: Museums Honour the North American Indigenous Games
This extensive multimedia Virtual Museum website showcases the fascinating array of athletic competitions and cultural events staged at the North American Indigenous Games.
From Time Immemorial: Tsimshian Prehistory
Learn how archeologists interpret the cultural significance of ancient Tsimshian artifacts uncovered in the North Coast Prehistory Project in British Columbia. From the Canadian Museum of Civilization.
The First Nations of the New France Era
This Canadian Museum of Civilization provides an overview of the First Nations peoples that lived in New France territory that extended, at its peak, from Hudson’s Bay to Louisiana. Good historical maps of that region.
A History of the Native People of Canada
A detailed reference source about archaeology-based Aboriginal history (prior to European colonization.) A Canadian Museum of Civilization website.
Emergence from the Shadow: First Peoples' Photographic Perspectives
This exhibition features a number of historical photographs, as well as contemporary photographic-based works. From the Canadian Museum of Civilization.
National Aboriginal Day
Check out the many National Aboriginal Day events taking place across Canada. From the Department of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development.
Canadian Canoe Museum
The Canadian Canoe Museum is a unique national heritage centre that explores the canoe's enduring significance to the peoples of Canada. Take a virtual tour of the Museum's collection and exhibits to learn about Canada's canoeing heritage.
Encyclopedia of Canada's Peoples
The website for the "Encyclopedia of Canada's Peoples." Click on the links for feature articles about Canada's many multicultural communities, access to their extensive digital archives collection, learning modules, and much more. From "Multicultural Canada."
The website for the Galafilm documentary series "CHIEFS," which is devoted to the life stories of First Nations leaders, including Sitting Bull, Pontiac, Joseph Brant, Black Hawk, and Poundmaker.
Joseph Brant Museum
A brief profile of Joseph Brant from the Joseph Brant Museum in Burlington, Ontario.
Map of Amerindian and Inuit communities
A detailed interactive map of Amerindian and Inuit communities in Québec. From the Secrétariat Aux Affaires Autochtones du Québec.
Languages of Canada
A comprehensive online database of languages currently in use in Canada. Also provides details about extinct languages. Check out the "language maps" for more information. Based on "Ethnologue: Languages of the World, Fifteenth edition." From SIL International, a US website.
FirstVoices Language Archive
A website devoted to Canada's indigenous languages. Features program information, multimedia dictionaries, and related resources. Produced by The First Peoples' Cultural Foundation.
Alberta Archaeology Timeline
A multimedia timeline of 18,000 years of Alberta’s archaeological history in this innovative University of Calgary website. Features numerous images of artifacts, notes about ancient cultures, and climate information.
Information on Canada’s history and geography, famous Canadians, the evolution of the Canadian government, what to do when visiting or touring Canada and much more. From the Government of Canada.
Historicity In Historical Fiction: Burning Water and the Temptations of Big Bear
This article offers a critical assessment of the “narrativization” of history. From “Studies in Canadian Literature.”
Michael I. Asch
Scroll down the page for a brief biography of prominent anthropologist Michael I. Asch. This site is also a useful resource about legal issues related to First Nations cultural heritage in Canada.
First Nations University of Canada
The First Nations University of Canada offers undergraduate and graduate degrees within an environment of Indian culture and history combining First Nation-oriented and standard areas of study in all programs.
The Native Drums web project traces the history and mythological significance of the drum in Canada’s aboriginal societies. Their very extensive website focuses on aboriginal drums, drumming, singing and dancing. Features stories, interviews, downloadable learning resources, multimedia (click on “Mediabase”) and the Canadian Aboriginal Research Database. Produced by Carleton University, the Sumner Group Inc., and other partners.
Four Directions Teachings
Elders and traditional teachers representing the Blackfoot, Cree, Ojibwe, Mohawk, and Mi’kmaq share teachings about their history and culture. Animated graphics visualize each of the oral teachings. This website also provides biographies of participants, transcripts, and an extensive array of learning resources for students and their teachers. In English with French subtitles.
This series is the saga of five great First Nations chiefs -- Sitting Bull, Pontiac, Joseph Brant, Black Hawk and Poundmaker. Their stories form a central drama of the history of the North American continent. Features still photos and video clips. A National Film Board website.
Knowledge of non-official languages
This appendix presents the non-official language classifications used for the 2006, 2001 and 1996 Censuses. The classification, with the exception of English, French and non-verbal languages, is the same as the one used in establishing mother tongue, home language and language of work. From Statistics Canada.
Congress of Aboriginal Peoples
The Congress of Aboriginal Peoples represents off-reserve Indian, Inuit, and Métis people, and acts as an advocate for the rights of all Aboriginal peoples. Their website offers background notes, reports, and articles about current programs and issues.
Virtual Vault: The Four Indian Kings
The four Indian kings first travelled to London in 1710 to meet Queen Anne as delegates of the Iroquoian Confederacy in an effort to cement an alliance with the British. Queen Anne was so impressed by her visitors that she commissioned their portraits by court painter John Verelst. The portraits are believed to be some of the earliest surviving oil portraits of Aboriginal peoples taken from life. From Library and Archives Canada.
Aboriginal Healing Foundation
The Aboriginal Healing Foundation’s mission is to encourage and support Aboriginal people in building and reinforcing sustainable healing processes that address the legacy of physical abuse and sexual abuse in the residential school system, including intergenerational impacts.
Glossary: Aboriginal Studies
This glossary is adapted from Alberta's Aboriginal Studies 10–20–30 program. The terms and definitions, while not prescriptive, take into consideration Aboriginal diversity and also relate to the overall generic understandings of Aboriginal historical chronology. A Government of Alberta website.
Susan Aglukark - Hina Na Ho
Award-winning Canadian singer Susan Aglukark performs the song Hina Na Ho at the opening ceremonies of the 2002 North American Indigenous Games. From YouTube.
Canada’s First Nations
This extensive multimedia website profiles the history, culture, and language of Canada's First Nations peoples. Also examines the impact of European contact on First Nations communities. A joint project of the University of Calgary and Red Deer College.
The Aboriginal Voice
View a selection of National Film Board productions that explore the rich culture and legacy of Aboriginal people in Canada.
Actor sees a way to break out of his people's drama
Adam Beach explains how he attained confidence and self-respect by avoiding life's pitfalls, especially those issues of concern to many First Nations communities. From the Yahoo.com website.
In Their Own Words -- Aboriginal Leaders and the War of 1812
See excerpts from key speeches delivered by Tecumseh and Black Hawk to First Nations followers and British military officers during the War of 1812. From the War of 1812 Magazine.
Gun Shot Treaty of "1791"
An academic paper about the ill-defined history of the "Gun Shot Treaty of 1791" at the Bay of Quinte. From brandonu.ca.
A Concise History of Canada's First Nations, Second Edition
See a synopsis of the reference book that covers the history of more than fifty First Nations in Canadian territory. Click on "Student Resources" to access a detailed guide to related topics.
An Ancient Bond with the Land
A nicely illustrated exhibit that explores the role of whaling, fishing, communal hunting, farming and trading in sustaining Aboriginal communities across the northern regions of North America. From the Canadian Museum of Civilization.
First Nations Peoples of British Columbia
A basic guide to names and locations of First Nations Peoples of British Columbia. A Government of British Columbia website.
Reviews of Books: Indians Abroad
An overview of how First Nations peoples were protrayed in 19th Century literature. From the "William and Mary Quarterly."