Aboriginal Canadians, Canadian Indians, Indigenous Canadians
Indigenous people in Canada (also known as Aboriginal Canadians or Aboriginal people in Canada) 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 have been considered to be racist or 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
The terms First Peoples and First Nations are both used to refer to indigenous peoples of Canada. The terms First Peoples or Aboriginal peoples in Canada are normally broader terms than First Nations, as they include Inuit, Métis and First Nations. First Nations (most often used in the plural) has come into general use for the indigenous peoples of North America in Canada, and their descendants, who are neither Inuit nor Métis. On reserves, First Nations is being supplanted by members of various nations referring to themselves by their group or ethnical identity. In conversation this would be "I am Haida", or "we are Kwantlens", in recognition of their First Nations ethnicities. In this Act, "Aboriginal peoples of Canada" includes the Indian, Inuit and Métis peoples of Canada.
Indian remains in place as the legal term used in the Canadian Constitution. Its usage outside such situations can be considered offensive. Aboriginal peoples is more commonly used to describe all indigenous peoples of Canada. The term Aboriginal people is beginning to be considered outdated and slowly being replaced by the term Indigenous people.
An Aboriginal community in Northern Ontario
The term Eskimo has pejorative connotations in Canada and Greenland. Indigenous peoples in those areas have replaced the term Eskimo with Inuit. The Yupik of Alaska and Siberia do not consider themselves Inuit, and ethnographers agree they are a distinct people. They prefer the terminology Yupik, Yupiit, or Eskimo. The Yupik languages are linguistically distinct from the Inuit languages. Linguistic groups of Arctic people have no universal replacement term for Eskimo, inclusive of all Inuit and Yupik people across the geographical area inhabited by the Inuit and Yupik peoples