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Issue #104
July, 2018

Aboriginal peoples in Canada: Key results from the 2016 Census

Source: Statistics Canada

Summary: Aboriginal peoples have lived in what is now Canada long before the arrival of the first European settlers. Indeed, the history of Canada would be incomplete without the stories of First Nations people, Métis and Inuit. The same is true of its future.

In 2016, there were 1,673,785 Aboriginal people in Canada, accounting for 4.9% of the total population. This was up from 3.8% in 2006 and 2.8% in 1996.

Past censuses have emphasized two key characteristics of the Aboriginal population: that Aboriginal peoples are both young in age and growing in number. The 2016 Census reaffirmed these trends. New data also reveal both the changing nature and the diversity of the First Nations, Métis and Inuit populations

Since 2006, the Aboriginal population has grown by 42.5% – more than four times the growth rate of the non-Aboriginal population over the same period. According to population projections, the number of Aboriginal people will continue to grow quickly. In the next two decades, the Aboriginal population is likely to exceed 2.5 million persons.

Two main factors have contributed to the growing Aboriginal population: the first is natural growth, which includes increased life expectancy and relatively high fertility rates; the second factor relates to changes in self-reported identification. Put simply, more people are newly identifying as Aboriginal on the census – a continuation of a trend over time.

The First Nations, Métis and Inuit populations continue to be significantly younger than the non-Aboriginal population, with proportionally more children and youth and fewer seniors. However, they too are aging – in 2016, those 65 years of age and older accounted for a larger share of the Aboriginal population than in the past.

The data provides a portrait of the rich diversity of First Nations, Métis and Inuit populations. More than 70 Aboriginal languages were reported in the 2016 Census. Growth was observed in the Aboriginal population in urban areas, as well as First Nations people living on reserve and Inuit in Inuit Nunangat. Aboriginal children were more likely to live in a variety of family settings, such as multi-generational homes, where both parents and grandparents are present.

It’s Our Time: Assembly of First Nations Toolkit

Source: Assembly of First Nations (AFN)

Summary: The Assembly of First Nations has developed the It’s Our Time First Nations Tool Kit as the basis of a comprehensive strategy to reach out to First Nations students, teachers, schools, communities and the Canadian public at large. The resource is designed to bring together First Nations and non-First Nations people and foster a spirit of cooperation, understanding, and action.


Reviving Your Language through Education

Source: FNESC/FNSA, by Dr. Onowa McIvor (2015)

Summary: Available as a free pdf.
This workbook is designed to assist First Nations language advocates, educators and communities to develop a clear vision for language education, fully understand their current language situation and resources, and exit with a comprehensive plan for achieving their vision.

Topics include background information for language planning, understanding how new language speakers are created, language education planning steps, engaging parents, teacher training and education, curriculum building, funding and more.

PRIDE – Exploring Aboriginal Identity through Art

Source: Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation

Focus: Secondary Students

Summary: Students are provided with an opportunity to discover why Aboriginal peoples identify and are concerned with certain social and political issues. They are also given the opportunity to research an assigned topic, express themselves creatively, work in a group setting, discuss salient issues, and present to their peers. The project also fosters a sense of classroom unity via large group collaboration.

In this unit … students create a collaborative art piece that expresses Aboriginal identity in a variety of areas.  The collaborative art piece consists of many individual pieces of art that come together to form the word “pride.”  Each letter has a group assigned to it, and each letter is assigned a theme/idea (i.e., clanship, land claims, traditional teachings, community activities, etc.) that is researched and then expressed in the artwork of each letter and presented to the class.

Early motherhood among off-reserve First Nations, Métis and Inuit women

Source: Statistics Canada

Summary: This study uses data from the 2012 Aboriginal Peoples Survey (APS) to examine the prevalence of early motherhood (i.e., having become a mother before the age of 20) among First Nations women living off reserve, Métis women and Inuit women aged 20 to 44. Data from the 2011 General Social Survey (GSS) are used for non-Aboriginal women. The study also examines whether early motherhood is associated with different outcomes in terms of education and employment.

  • Among Aboriginal women aged 20 to 44, 45% of Inuit women, 28% of First Nations women living off reserve and 20% of Métis women became mothers before the age of 20. This compared with 6% of non-Aboriginal women in the same age group.
  • Among First Nations women living off reserve, women aged 20 to 24 years were less likely to have been early mothers (18%) than women aged 40 to 44 years (30%). The difference was not statistically significant for Métis and Inuit women.
  • Aboriginal women who were early mothers were less likely to have a high school diploma. For example, among Inuit women, 40% of those who became mothers in their teenage years had a high school diploma, compared with 59% of Inuit women who had children later in life.
  • Among those who had at least a high school diploma, Aboriginal women who experienced motherhood in their teenage years were as likely to be employed as those who experienced motherhood later. This finding is true for all the Aboriginal groups studied.

Learning Circle: Five Voices of Aboriginal Youth in Canada – A Learning Resource for Ages 14-16

Source: Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada (INAC)

Focus: Secondary students

Summary: Five Voices of Aboriginal Youth in Canada is the product of a series of 15 interviews from five different Aboriginal communities across Canada — three youth in each community. The interviews, conducted by a team from McGill University, were tape recorded and then synthesized to produce five narratives, each drawing accurately from the three youth responses to the interview questions in that community. Following this, an educational team created a selection of education activities to complement the narratives, and a number of Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal experts in education and in First Nations and Inuit culture reviewed the document. Before finalizing this written resource, it was also reviewed by panels of Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal youth and by Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal educators to gauge the effectiveness of the material in terms of cultural accuracy, youth engagement, readability and potential for acquired awareness. The suggestions and comments gathered from these panel reviews were then incorporated into the original document to generate the final publication.

For Teachers: Consequences of Relocation

Source: CBC Digital Archives

Focus: Intermediate students, History, Social Studies, Language Arts

Summary: The Innu, whose name means “human being,” and their ancestors have lived in the eastern portion of the Quebec-Labrador peninsula for over 2000 years. More than 16,000 Innu live in 11 communities in Quebec and in the communities of Sheshatshiu and Natuashish in Labrador. The Natuashish Innu were relocated from Davis Inlet in 2002. In this introductory activity, students will examine the effects of relocation on the Innu of Davis Inlet.

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