First Nations

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With First Nations ( French Premières Nations , German  First Nations ) all indigenous peoples in Canada are referred to, with the exception of the Métis (descendants of Cree and Europeans) and the Inuit living in the north . If these are also to be included, the terms First Peoples and Premiers Peuples (First Peoples) or Aboriginal Peoples and Peuples aborigènes (Native American peoples) are occasionally used, in recent years one speaks more often of Autochthon Peoplesand Peuples autochtones in both major Canadian languages.

Often, the term First Nations does not refer to an ethnic classification, but rather a political one, which sometimes means that the government of the respective ethnic group is meant. Occasionally it is also used to designate individuals - in the form of First Nations People  - but the term Indian is used here much more often, even if it is controversial.

The term First Nations appeared for the first time in the early 1980s. This created a term that differs significantly from the Indian tribe or band , which is also used in Canada . However, this applies less to everyday use than to the legal and political areas. A nation can invoke international law , which is often referred to as “international law”, while an ethnic group can only invoke the protection of minorities .

Of the approximately 700,000 people who see themselves as Indians, around 565,000 belong to the 617 state-recognized tribes (as of early 2014), of which almost 200 live in British Columbia alone . Only they are legally considered Indians within the meaning of the responsible ministry, the Department of Indigenous and Northern Affairs . About 133,000 do not belong to any tribe, so they belong to the First Nations and yet are not Indians in the legal sense. So the state determines whether a group represents a tribe and whether a member of a First Nation is an Indian. The term First Nations opposes this power of definition to the indigenous peoples' right to determine. In addition, state use outside of the legal sphere is imprecise. In German, the term "Indian" is also not unencumbered (see Indian image in the German-speaking area ), but it should be used here for reasons of understanding.

In recent times the Indians in the USA, who are called American Indians or Native Americans , in Alaska as Alaska Natives , sometimes as Locals , are called First Americans , analogous to First Nations .


The indigenous cultures in Canada can be divided into five cultural areas, which have very different climatic and ecological conditions. This required adaptations that shape cultures to this day. While nomadic groups predominated in the north and in the grasslands of the center for a long time, in the west and east these were sedentary, partly rural or seasonally migrating groups in certain areas, where fishing was of great importance, in some groups also seal hunting. There were also whalers in the west. The dwellings, of which the tipi and wigwam are the best known, were also adapted to these forms of life , but large villages with longhouses also developed on the Great Lakes and in the west. In many cases there were tribal confederations. Shamans were of great importance.

The phase of trade contacts with Europeans, which began around 1500, changed into the colonial phase after 1600 , in which European settlers increasingly claimed land and in which many tribes were wiped out by epidemics . Numerous reservations emerged in the 19th century and Canada attempted to assimilate the Indians by raising them to be farmers. Until the 1970s, almost all children attended boarding-type schools , called residential schools, where they were not allowed to use their language. It was not until 1960 that the Indians in the reservations were also allowed to take part in federal elections for the first time; the last boarding schools were closed in 1996.

Within the First Nations of the north-west coast or the north-east, the traditional system of rule with hereditary chieftainship , which goes back to pre-European roots, often continues, but in competition with the system of elected chiefs and their advisers initiated by Canada. While the First Nations rely on treaties and increasingly demand quasi-state authority in fixed territories, Canada's government views the Indians more as groups of individuals , and some provinces are trying to privatize the land that previously belonged to the respective tribe as a whole.

Some First Nations have achieved a certain level of prosperity, but many suffer from poverty and serious social problems. This is especially true for rural groups whose natural environment is due to raw material exploration (uranium, oil shale, especially in Saskatchewan , Ontario , Québec and Alberta ), military bases ( Cold Lake , Goose Bay ) and logging (especially in British Columbia , but also in the other provinces) has been destroyed. Nonetheless, supra-regional cultural and economic alliances are developing, which meanwhile also include indigenous peoples living far away .

Education and training are of great importance, and higher education has also been available since 2003 at the First Nations University of Canada in Saskatchewan . Many of the small languages ​​are threatened with extinction, but the tribes and some state institutions are working to preserve them. The language with the most speakers is the Cree .

In addition, Indians also suffer from the systemic racism that exists in the Canadian judicial system, the Mounted Police ( RCMP), the courts and prisons. An indication of the systemic racism at the RCMP is the fact that 36% of the fatal shots carried out by "Mounties" hit members of indigenous groups, although Indians and Inuit make up only 4% of the population.


In Canada, First Nations people are often referred to as First Nations People . This term is in competition with the term "Indians" ( Indian ), the public mostly out of focus for all members of the recognized by the state Indian tribes ( bands or tribes ), but is also used for all those who even consider themselves Indians or be assigned to this group by others.

The Indian Act has been legally defining who is an Indian since 1876. In order to be recognized as an Indian by the state, one must belong to one of the recognized Indian tribes . It is not possible to belong to several tribes, even if the parents belonged to different tribes; the decisive factor is the father. Even in regions where the ethnic groups had a completely different understanding and did not know any tribes in the European sense, this concept, which is based on genetic kinship, was forced upon them. The discussion about the cartographic definition of the so-called traditional tribal areas, which is of great importance for compensation payments and contract negotiations, is thus based on ideas of the 19th century. In many regions, however, there were no exclusive rights to a certain tribal area, as the Euro-Canadians often believe, but rather overlapping rights of use, which also often belong to house and residential groups or to families, clans and kinship lines and also to cyclical migrations throughout the year were bound.

Ovide Mercredi , Chief of the Assembly of First Nations from 1991 to 1997, from the National Indian Brotherhood emerged

The state's power of definition is to be countered with its own understanding of the term First Nation . This consists in the fact that each tribe determines for itself who should belong to it, and that recognition as a tribe does not depend on a state authority. Thus there are numerous First Nations that are not officially considered tribes. At the same time, the character of a sovereign nation with all rights and obligations is emphasized more strongly. The assembly of the First Nations functions accordingly as the national representative body . Currently around 20% of the members of recognized First Nations are not recognized as Indians. A number of First Nations, as the Kichesipirini in the province of Quebec is, again, not as a regular ( Tribe recognized).

The term First Nations was first officially used in 1982 when naming the First Nations Assembly. As the self-designation of most ethnic groups, it has largely replaced the term band or Indian band , so that the term is also used in the singular . While the term tribe prevails in the United States , the term band is still used in official parlance in Canada . It is used like a kind of umbrella term that includes First Nations , tribes and bands .

Although the term First Nations is also used by the Canadian authorities, it is not precisely defined in legal terms. Therefore, the responsible authorities prefer the term Indian in legal matters . The Canadian Department of Indian Affairs is Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada . Ministries with similar names exist in the provinces.

In the aforementioned Indian Act , three types of Indians are distinguished:

  1. Status Indians: Members of an Indian tribe who are registered as Indians or who are authorized to register. They are registered by name in the Indian Registry , which is maintained by the Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada .
  2. Non-Status Indians: Members of an Indian tribe who are not entitled to register as Indians.
  3. Treaty Indians: Members of Indian tribes that from 1871 to 1921 with the crown of Great Britain , the eleven "numbered treaties" ( numbered treaties have been completed).

There is also a fourth group, the size of which has grown to around 117,000 people since 1985. They are the descendants of Indian women who have married non-Indians. Since the Indian Act only considers patrilineal ancestry to be decisive - in contrast to the matrilineal Iroquois  , for example - these children could only regain their Indian status on application. But their children again lose this status, unless they marry a status Indian. This regulation ensures that this group known as "Bill C-31 Indians" will largely disappear after two generations. It also contradicts fundamental rights as contained in the 1982 constitution. These include, in this case, in the opinion of the Supreme Court of British Columbia , the equality of all before the law, in particular regardless of the origin and gender. With the death of the last status Indians, the reservation that was only granted to them had to be returned to the government - a process that the Six Nations chief, Bill Montour, described as "the greatest land theft of the century".

All members of the recognized tribes seeking government benefits under the Indian Act must be entered on the Indian Register . This Indian register is kept by the Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada .

A number of rights and claims against the government depend on the concept of Indian status . These relate to land rights, material benefits and protection against expropriations. The status could be lost by simply leaving the reservation, moving to another reservation or marriage. However, this development seems to be slowly reversing, as more and more indigenous people are registering and their birth rate is considerably higher than in the rest of the population. The attitude towards registration has also changed significantly in the cities. For a long time there was fear of racially motivated discrimination or even contempt if the parentage became known.

Population and Reserves

In March 2018, the Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada listed 636 tribes on its website, of which 617 were considered tribes under the Canadian Indian Law at the beginning of 2014 and are recognized by the ministry (see the list of Indian tribes recognized in Canada ). Most tribes own several of the reserves called reserves, so that it is only clear from the context whether the entire tribal area is meant or a part of the area. The reserves are fragmented to different degrees in the provinces and territories .

The 636 listed First Nations were divided into provinces or territories and reservations as follows:

The provinces and territories of Canada
Province or Territory First Nations Relatives Reservations
British Columbia 198 129,580 1702
Ontario 139 158.395 206
Saskatchewan 70 91,400 602
Manitoba 63 100,645 195
Alberta 46 97.275 137
Quebec 39 65,090 44
Northwest Territories 26th 12,640 29
Yukon 18th 6,275 15th
New Brunswick / Nouveau-Brunswick 15th 12,385 26th
Nova Scotia 13 15,240 39
Newfoundland and Labrador 3 7,765 3
Prince Edward Island 2 1,230 4th

Of the almost exactly 3,000 reserves, around 57 percent are in British Columbia, where almost every third tribe lives.

While most of the First Nations can be found in western Canada, the largest lived in the east. The Cree , whose tribes live scattered over a huge area, have the most members. The Iroquois , also known as the Six Nations of the Grand River , had a total of 27,303 registered members in February 2018.

The 24 individual tribes with more than 5000 members (as of November 2016) were:

  1. Qalipu Mi'kmaq First Nation , Newfoundland (24,678)
  2. Akwesasne Mohawk Nation or Mohawks of Akwesasne , Ontario (12,401)
  3. Kainai Nation or Blood, Alberta (12,285)
  4. Kahnawake Mohawk Nation, now Mohawks of Kahnawá: ke, Québec (10,970)
  5. Lac La Ronge , Saskatchewan (10,710)
  6. Peter Ballantyne Cree Nation , Saskatchewan (10,618)
  7. Saddle Lake Cree Nation , Alberta (10,533)
  8. Peguis , Manitoba (10,080)
  9. Mohawks of the Bay of Quinte , Ontario (9682)
  10. Cross Lake Band of Indians , Manitoba (8504)
  11. Samson , Alberta (8431)
  12. Wikwemikong , Ontario (8113)
  13. Norway House Cree Nation , Manitoba (7998)
  14. Bigstone Cree Nation , Alberta (7908)
  15. Fort Alexander , Manitoba (7823)
  16. Siksika Nation, Alberta (7405)
  17. Sandy Bay Manitoba (6645)
  18. Montagnais du Lac St.-Jean , Québec (6612)
  19. Upper Mohawk , Ontario (6380)
  20. Oneida Nation of the Thames , Ontario (6141)
  21. Onion Lake Cree Nation, Saskatchewan (6018)
  22. Opaskwayak Cree Nation, Manitoba (5988)
  23. Little Red River Cree Nation, Alberta (5569)
  24. Nisichawayasihk Cree Nation, Manitoba (5107)

The 2006 census recorded 1,172,790 indigenous people, i.e. 3.8% of the total population; in 1996 this was less than 800,000. In the 2006 census, 698,025 of these indigenous people said they were First Nations. Of the almost 700,000 Indians , however, only 564,870 were registered, while 133,155 were not, which means that the number of those who were not registered grew twice as fast as the number of those registered. Overall, the number of First Nations people grew by 29% from 1996 to 2006. Around 1.3 million Canadians reported having Indian ancestors.

The proportion of Indians outside the reservations, if one follows the survey method of the 2006 census, was 60%, while in 1996 58% did not live in reservations. According to the information from the official Indian register, however, the proportion of reservation Indians was 404,117, and only 335,109 lived outside the reservations. Another 24,329 lived on crown land.

The largest parishes were Winnipeg (25,900), Vancouver (23,515), Edmonton (22,440), and Toronto (17,275). 11,510 Indians lived in Saskatoon , 10,875 in Calgary , 10,790 in Ottawa - Gatineau , 10,130 in Montréal , 9,495 in Regina and 7,420 in Thunder Bay . In Prince Rupert , they make up the highest proportion of the population in any Canadian city, at 32%.

The Indians are on average considerably younger than the rest of the population. 50% of First Nations people are under 23.5 years old, in the rest of Canada this value, referred to as the median , is 39.5 years. 35% of the Indians are even younger than 14, and it is foreseeable that their share of the population will increase sharply. The average age is 25, 15 years below the Canadian average, in Saskatchewan even 20 years.

Languages ​​and scripts

Indian languages ​​in North America. The distribution at the time of first contact with Europeans is shown

Up until the 18th century there was neither an overarching sense of common ground among the First Nations nor among the North American Indians at all, nor a common language. As a result, English is the most widely used general language today, as is French in Québec, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick / Nouveau-Brunswick .

The 50+ languages ​​of the First Nations belong to ten language families . In 1996, 147,000 speakers belonged to the Algonquin language family , whose most widely used language is Cree , 20,000 to Athapaskan , which is spoken in 31 languages ​​in the northwest (19 of them in Canada). Eight language families made up only 7% of the speakers. The three largest languages ​​represented around 93% of the indigenous native speakers.

Until a few generations ago America was characterized by an enormous linguistic diversity (compare indigenous American languages ). The assignment of family relationships, especially in the case of languages ​​that are no longer spoken, pose immense problems for science and are still unsolved. The linguistic diversity is still great today, but many languages ​​are on the verge of extinction or are already dead. In 1993, Ethnologue listed 85 living languages ​​for Canada, 74 of them Indian alone.

In addition to the original languages, there are mixed languages . This is how the language of the Métis , the Michif , emerged from the languages ​​of the Cree, Ojibwa ( Anishinabe ), Assiniboine and French. The bungee language, also called the Red River dialect, is similar to Michif, but is only spoken on the eponymous Red River in Manitoba and is a mixture of Cree and Scottish Gaelic .

Road sign in the province of Quebec, Mistissini

Most of the native languages ​​of Canada are now more endangered than ever. In 1996, in addition to Inuktitut, only the languages ​​of the Cree and Ojibway ( Anishinabe ) were considered to have survived, although there have been numerous efforts since the 1970s to preserve the languages ​​that still exist. In addition to the publication of dictionaries and grammars, these are often based on the work of a few individuals who have gone very different ways. They range from different learning scenarios between school, music, combining rituals in a natural environment with language learning, own characters, but also Internet language courses and university training, to the requirement for the respective language to be included in the official languages, as is practiced in the Northwest Territories. In September 2008, an Anishinabe group in Ontario, the Anishinaabe Language Advisory Group , declared their mother tongue, Anishinaabemowin, to be the first language before English.

Page from Carl Faulmann's Book of Scripture from 1880, on which the Lord's Prayer is depicted in the script and language of the Mi'kmaq

When trying to find one's own language, writing systems were sometimes used, which are more capable of reproducing the sounds of the Indian languages. Such writing systems were developed by missionaries, linguists, but also by the First Nations themselves. Some of them go back to the early colonial phase. In 1657, for example, Father Chrestien Leclerc developed a hieroglyphic script with more than 5,000 characters. The first and only book was printed in Vienna in 1866.

The use of indigenous languages ​​is increasing again significantly. In the 2006 census, 51% of reserve residents stated that they could communicate in their respective indigenous language, but only 12% in the cities. Of the over 75-year-olds in the reservations, 18% only spoke their traditional language and 21% of children under 14 now speak it again, with 39% of children in reservations and only 6% in cities speaking these languages. Of the 15 to 24 year olds, 24% now speak their indigenous language again.

The number of speakers is highest among the Cree (as of 2006) at 87,285, followed by 30,255 at Ojibway, 12,435 at Oji-Cree and 11,080 at Montagnais-Naskapi, 9,250 Dene, 8,540 Mi'kmaq, 6,285 Siouan languages ​​and 5,320 Atikamekw , finally 4,760 at Blackfoot. However, such numbers should be treated with caution, because very different standards are applied when counting. This number grew fastest among the Oji-Cree (20%). The number of speakers among the Haida (−31%), Tlingit (−30%) and Malecite (−30%), on the other hand, has declined sharply in the last ten years. The proportion of those who acquired their inherited language as a second language was over 30% in some tribes.

Historical cultural areas

North American cultural areas according to Alfred Kroeber

The original residential areas of the First Nations cover five out of ten North American cultural areas (according to Alfred Kroeber ):

Due to the different landscapes, the five cultural areas are very different. According to the theory of cultural areas , similar environmental conditions and long-standing relationships have in turn produced similar cultures. These differed, for example, in the social order, in the construction of their dwellings and in the forms of settlement, the degree of sedentariness and animal husbandry, diet and the type of food procurement, clothing or ceremonies. Despite this catchy model, the demarcation between cultures is artificial; in reality they were fluent.


Wigwam of Anishinabe (Ojibwe), 1846

The subarctic comprises areas dominated by boreal coniferous forest from central Alaska to the Saint Lawrence River . Here lived the two language groups of the Northern Athapasques , whose most important tribes were the Chipewyan and Dogrib , and the Northern Algonquin , whose most important representatives were the Anishinabe and Cree . The forest offered them wood caribou , wood bison , deer and elk in fluctuating quantities , the waters fish and seafood. The collection of forest products and their storage provided a steady supply.

Adapted to the needs, the residents lived in pole tents, gable-shaped wooden huts or wigwams . In the extreme expanse, the small groups developed neither tribal associations, nor permanent settlements or overarching hierarchies, but were connected to one another through joint ceremonies and kinship as well as barter and exchange of gifts.

Animal spirits played a role above all with the Algonquians, in addition there was the Manitu or Manitou, who got his name from the Anishinabe , as an inherent force ; This gave the today's province of Manitoba its name. Often he is called the "Creator".

Northwest coast

Village on the Pacific coast of Vancouver Island , 1791
Tla-o-qui-aht Girls from the West Coast of Vancouver Island in Traditional Cotton Clothing ( Edward Curtis 1916)

The settlement chambers in the northwest were very small, and the diet was geared towards the sea. Dense forests, partly temperate rainforests with huge trees, offered completely different building materials. So people lived in wooden houses, mostly plank houses, and also made weapons, containers and even clothes from wood. The coats of arms or totem poles are also inconceivable without these trees.

The societies were divided into three groups: a kind of nobility, then the simple tribal members and finally slaves - mostly prisoners of war and their descendants. This social order became more and more strict from south to north, from the coastal Salish to Kwakwaka'wakw and Nuu-chah-nulth , Haida and Tlingit . Within these groups, local or house groups, clans and kinship systems were in the foreground. The concept of the tribe was of less importance in the south, because here cross-group relationships were of much greater importance. The differences in rank were manifested through public rituals, of which the potlatch is probably the best known. Through the practice of extremely generous gifts, this also served for social compensation.

In the religions of the north-west coast, the raven was regarded as the bringer of fire and as the creator of mankind in elaborate rituals, but wolf, bear, whale and salmon each had their own mythology. Among other things, masks, dances, storytelling, performances of insensitivity to pain and gestures of generosity served as a means of expression. The ritually correct handling within the strict hierarchical order absolutely had to be observed. Therefore, for example among the Nuu-chah-nulth, a kind of master of ceremonies was trained who knew how to observe this background.

Shamans were often called in the form of visions. They made contact with the ancestors or with other powers. Women were shamans too. Often they brought "medicine" with them, which was said to have special healing powers.


In what is now the Canadian part of the cultural area lived tribes of the language families of the inland Salish , the Kutenai and the Sahaptin , of which the Thompson ( Nlaka'pamux ) were the most important .

Numerous rivers and lakes define the landscape, as do high mountains in the west and east of the cultural area.

Fishing, especially salmon , determined large parts of culture and technology. However, roots, berries and game also played an important role. Similar to the coastal inhabitants, the tribes of the plateau engaged in extensive trade. They lived in earth houses and plank houses, but also in tipis .

Like the groups on the west coast, the mostly small associations lived in areas traditionally used by them, in which they visited gathering and hunting locations or spiritually significant places in annual hiking cycles. In contrast to the Indians close to the coast, some of them took over the horse as a riding and transport animal, probably around 1800.

Northeast woodland

Fortified Iroquois village with long houses, around 1615

Extensive deciduous and mixed forests characterize the north-eastern woodland. Numerous groups of the Algonquin lived here. They lived partly from agriculture - in the south even mainly from maize , beans and pumpkins , in the west wild rice was added - and partly from hunting. Extensive tribal federations emerged here, as with the Iroquois, and large villages, especially south of the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence. Enmities spanning centuries with corresponding wars led to the disappearance of numerous tribes.

The settled farmers, like many tribes on the west coast, knew a hereditary chieftainship. With the Iroquois, several nuclear families formed exogamous lineages , which were equated with the longhouses they inhabited, and in which up to 200 people lived. They were led by a clan mother, the kinship system was matrilineal and matrilocal .

The semi-sedentary Algonquians, who lived in dome-shaped wigwams, the construction of which was more complex than the tepees on the prairies, believed in animal spirits. The sedentary peasants, especially the Iroquois, worshiped gods, personifications of forces derived from the Great Creator.

Prairie and plains

Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump in the Province of Alberta
Assiniboin tipi, 1840–1843

Only a few First Nations, like some Blackfoot tribes, live in the northern part of this cultural area, which is located in the lee of the Rocky Mountains is characterized by drought. The most important game in this flat grassy landscape was the American bison, known as the buffalo . Special driven hunting techniques were developed in which parts of herds were thrown down so-called buffalo jumps .

Most of the people lived in tipis , pole tents, which allowed them to move quickly according to the migration of the buffalo. Local groups dominated the picture, clans played no role. War fame and insensitivity to pain ( sun dance ) were considered to be a means of increasing prestige and status. The main tribal groups of the Assiniboine and the Blackfoot were similarly bitter enemies, as in the east the Wyandot and the Iroquois.

The same applies to the southern cultural areas that they were strongly influenced by more southern cultures, such as the Adena culture or the culture of the moundbuilders . In addition, groups migrated northwards again and again, like the Sioux to Alberta.

It was not until the horses , which were probably brought to the southwest of today's USA and Mexico by Spanish troops or settlers, and turned wild there into Mustangs , that a new way of life was made possible from around 1700, but the settlement remained sparse.


Early history

Nomadism without cattle breeding - apart from dogs and horses - plus semi-nomadic, occasionally sedentary land cultivation characterized the cultural areas until the 19th century.

The oldest traces of human life in the north of the continent can be found in Alaska and go back at least 12,000 years. This early Arctic culture spread further south. They are characterized by small to tiny stone blades and tools sharpened on both sides. The extreme north and northeast, including Greenland , was probably only around 2500 BC. Was settled, the north of Ontario probably only around 2000 BC. Chr.

The Plano cultures, whose name is derived from the Plains , encompass the vast area between the interior of British Columbia and the Northwest Territories as far as the Gulf of Mexico . Before 8000 BC With these northern Paleo-Indians, projectile points were no longer clamped into split shafts, but rather sunk into the shaft. A barter with particularly suitable types of stone can be seen in many places.

Caribou herd in the far north

The early (approx. 8000 to 6000 BC) and middle (approx. 6000 to 4000 BC) archaic phase belonged to cultures on the Ohio , around Niagara and in southern Ontario . They emerged when Plano people followed the caribou herds eastwards, always along the icing line.

Eastern cultures focused on the lower St. Lawrence River and the Great Lakes . The oldest monuments are burial mounds that indicate a solid hierarchy within these societies along Lake Erie , Lake Huron , Lake Ontario and St. Lawrence. Machined copper was discovered at southern South Fowl Lake on the Ontario / Minnesota border 6,800 years ago. The use of other metals only emerged with the Europeans.

Between 2000 and 1500 BC Chr. Labrador cooled off. Inuit migrated south and inland hunters also reached the coast. The area north of the St. Lorenz seems to have been abandoned. The culture called Laurentian Archaic was centered around Québec and Ontario. The Ottawa Valley is considered to be a center of copper production, similar to the islands in the Upper Lake.

Iroquois longhouse

The Early Woodland Period replaced the archaic one in the east and extended to the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence (around 1000 BC to 500 AD). Pottery is distinctive here. Some villages were inhabited all year round and housed well over a thousand people. The importance of the pumpkin , which probably dates back to 4000 BC, increased. BC in Maine , more and more, beans and corn were added later. A fish trap technique was also developed that could be used to catch fish in rapids. From the distant Adena culture , she partially took over burial practices, as the Augustine Mound in New Brunswick shows. This is how the Burial Mounds , small to monumental burial mounds, from the Ohio Valley spread out . The Iroquois go back to this culture , but also some Algonquin tribes .

The Canadian shield was not used until 6000 to 2000 BC. Settled. The Cree , Ojibwa , Algonkin , Montagnais and Beothuk go back to this. Around 2000 BC Complex rituals, copper processing and long-distance trading relationships already existed here. The mounds typical of the Adena culture even appear in the western shield culture (Laurel), for example on the Rainy River in southern Ontario. Birch canoes were the main means of transport here. On them, the groups extended their tail areas to the former plain areas west and south-west. Long-distance trade in chalcedony from Oregon and obsidian from Wyoming also depended on river transport. The domestication of wild rice probably resulted in a prominent class of landowners who also culturally set themselves apart from the rest of the population.

Houses and large villages can be found in the plains. Bow and arrow hunting spread very slowly from the north (around 3000 BC) eastwards, then to the west (around BC born). The late Plains culture lived to a large extent on buffalo ( American bison ). No later than 500 BC. The bow replaced the spear thrower . In Montana there were large tented villages (100 hectares) with a useful life of around a thousand years. Long-distance trade in obsidian, flint and other materials reached as far as the Pacific. At least some of the deceased were dried on scaffolding before being buried.

The middle plateau culture developed around 2500 BC. The pit house , which was partially buried in the earth. Today's Salish tribes can be associated with this semi-sedentary culture. Exceptions in this area are the Nicola, Eyak- Athapaskan speakers, and the Kutenai . The late plateau culture collected supplies in holes in the ground, hot stones were used for baking and cooking, and salmon provided most of the nutritional value. Trade with the coastal peoples increased, the villages grew larger.

Camassia quamash, whose onions are edible
Tsimshian totem poles

In the west it was probably used until 10,000 BC. Settlement going back to 4250 BC. Overlaid by the early plateau culture. From 2500 BC BC settlements can be identified in the west on the basis of numerous shell mounds , as well as the first signs of social differentiation and pronounced approaches to a rural economy (before 1600 BC).

The coastal cultures on the west coast can be traced back to at least 8000 BC. Prove. The hunt for marine mammals can be detected very early on. The cultures increasingly differentiated themselves regionally. As in the east, they began to transform the landscape in favor of horticulture and agriculture and to develop a stockpiling not only of salmon, but also of foods that are rarely used today. These include the edible prairie lily , known under the name Camas or Camassia quamash in North America, or Allium canadense (Canadian leek ).

The coastal culture was more strictly hierarchical from south to north. Certain families dominated trade, access to resources, and political and spiritual power. Burial mounds probably appeared here for the first time. The arch did not reach this region until around AD 400.

Today's coastal Salish can be traced back to the Marpole culture. It was already characterized by the same social differentiation, from plank houses in which several families lived, from salmon fishing and conservation, carvings of monumental proportions and complex ceremonies. Between 500 and 1000 AD, funeral customs changed again. The dead were now more and more often given their final resting place in trees, stakes, burial houses and caves. Around 500 to 700 fortified villages appeared, especially in the south. This phase, which was more marked by wars, extended into the time of the first contact with Europeans, which intensified the fighting.

In contrast, the Yukon and Mackenzie, with their huge catchment areas, maintained a culture of long-range hunting with extreme mobility of small groups.

Colonial phase

The colonial phase from the end of the 15th century began on the east coast with fishing, whale hunting and the fur trade , which soon turned into violent conflicts. This resulted in real coalition wars, several times as sidelines of European wars. Ultimately, the conflict between the main adversaries France and Great Britain erupted in the Seven Years' War . A special role is played by the US, the 1812 war with the British and the French and their Indian allies fought - followed by the first demarcation established that cut across the Great Lakes since 1846 along the 49th parallel the continent and as Oregon Treaty known became.

Place Royale in Québec, the oldest square in North America, from 1608

The first settlement was built at the mouth of the St. Croix River in 1604 , and it was relocated to Port Royal a year later . Québec was founded in 1608 . As early as 1607 to 1615 there was the so-called Tarrantiner War between the Penobscot and the Mi'kmaq , which was an expression of their rivalry in the fur trade. Soon rangers were sent out who lived among the Indians, while the trading agents expanded their forts into exchange centers, in the vicinity of which Indian groups often settled. The links between French men and Native American women were so numerous that their descendants formed a nation of their own, the Métis .

Disputes in the fur trade led between 1640 and 1701 to the fact that the Iroquois League destroyed the Wyandot , Tionontati and Erie with arquebuses and started a great migration to the west. A peace treaty was not concluded until 1701. In 1763 the Seven Years' War ended the French era. The French remaining in Canada successfully demanded to be allowed to keep their denomination, with the result that the converted Indians also remained Catholic.

Kainai Rider photographed by Edward Curtis . European and American ideas of equestrian nomadism, which only existed in the grasslands for around 150 years, have shaped the image of the North American Indians as a whole and one-sidedly.

Meanwhile, Spanish horses radically changed the culture of the Plains. They made hunting and hiking in the impassable area easier. Many groups have been weakened by devastating epidemics , particularly smallpox and measles . Many saw the epidemics as a damaging spell for strangers, and at the same time it shook confidence in their own religion. Christianity was viewed as a form of religious healing and was ceremonially enriched.

British policy was characterized more by settlement than trade interests, but in the north and west of Canada the Crown took over administrative control of the indigenous peoples through the Hudson's Bay Company , whose business interests suggested a more peaceful understanding with and between the Indians. It was only the immigration of numerous gold prospectors and the colonial power's fear that the USA might occupy Canada that prompted Great Britain, as a counterweight, to promote its own immigration and to grant Canada greater independence. The decline in the herds of buffalo around 1875 forced the tribes of the prairie to sell their land to the new representatives of the British royal family for a small consideration. For this they were usually given reservations in their ancestral areas, i.e. areas that belonged to the tribe as a whole and could only be used by and with the permission of the respective tribes. In addition, there were minor compensation payments as well as hunting and fishing rights in the ceded areas. In addition, there should be help with the conversion to agriculture.

St. Paul's Indian Industrial School , Middlechurch, Manitoba, one of well over 100 schools the Aboriginal children were admitted to

Once the Indians had become dependent, the conquerors believed they had to push them into areas that were not suitable for settlers or - as is usually the case in Canada - they had to be forced into small reservations and adapted to their own ideas of a decent way of life. The phase of missionary work and instruction in reservations, which lasted until around 1880, was followed by an epoch in which the entire culture was to be wiped out through economic marginalization , bans on central elements of culture and instruction of all children in specially established, boarding-like schools .

The period of passive resistance or small wars, such as the Chilcotin War , ended after 1885. Leading the way, Chief Joseph Capilano traveled to London in 1906 to present the king with a petition . Other forms of resistance were broken by force or starvation. In 1927, Indians were banned from forming any political organization to advance their interests. Early, national attempts at self-organization after the First World War failed, but they were more successful after the Second World War . The first time the Supreme Court succeeded in enforcing land claims in the 1970s, the court declared the provisions of the 1763 Royal Declaration to remain binding. In 1951, the ban on potlatch and sun dance was lifted, and in 1960 Indians were allowed to vote for the first time in national elections. In 1982 a new body was created, better suited to the needs of the numerous groups, the Assembly of the First Nations . It no longer represented the regions so much as the leading political forces of the tribes and their organizations, regardless of how the tribes had designated them.

During this time, the French Canadians obtained special rights for their territory that could hardly be withheld from other nations. The land claims received the same constitutional protection as the treaties that were signed, and Ontario, Manitoba, and New Brunswick supported the claim to self-government. In addition, there was harsh criticism on the part of the UN with a view to the policy towards the indigenous peoples, who demanded the right to have a say in matters affecting them and the right to “remain distinct”.

The extremely high number of suicide attempts, especially among young people - in 2016 the Attawapiskat First Nation in northern Ontario in particular became known in the media - prompted the federal government under Justin Trudeau to approve the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples ( Resolution 61/295 of September 13, 2007), which all members except Canada, the USA, Australia and New Zealand had agreed to incorporate into the constitution. After the previous government had denied its legally binding character, it is now to be brought into legal form.

Consequences of cultural uprooting

Central causes of the obvious problems most First Nations have to deal with are discussed intensively. On the one hand, this includes the system of residential schools and, above all, its consequences. These are boarding-like schools in which many children were exposed to abuse and in which their cultural roots, including language, have been cut. These traumas can be grasped in the form of drug abuse , alcoholism and other symptoms, such as domestic violence . In the meantime, attempts are being made to counteract these symptoms therapeutically. Domestic violence, especially against women, is only statistically comprehensible to a limited extent. All the more so as Statistics Canada continues to process the available information under “racial” aspects, not additionally under sociological or regional aspects.

The average life expectancy of First Nations people is five to seven years less than that of white Canadians.

The Aboriginal Healing Foundation , founded in 1998, was to give $ 350 million to groups and their therapy projects. In addition, ten contact points for healing centers have been expanded across the country . The Catholic and Anglican Churches, which have run the schools, also participate in making amends by funding therapy facilities for survivors of the schools. It was not until 2005 that an agreement was reached on 10,000 CAD for each of the approximately 80,000 former children. Today one tries to counteract depression and violence, often the long-term effects of these processes, through campaigns against drugs and alcohol . A commission presented a report in 2015 in which it stated that between 1883 and 1996 over 150,000 children had to attend boarding schools. "6,000 children died as a result of the tortures there." By 2015, around 32,000 former students had been compensated with a total of 3 billion dollars, 6,000 applications had not yet been processed.

A second, hotly debated factor is how the government and its apparatus deal with the groups known as “Indians”. The provincial governments are more criticized than the federal government. This is especially true for the organizations responsible for Indians, such as the Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development . Under the conditions of long neglect, settling down, resettlement and displacement - such as for the extraction of raw materials - the situation in some reserves came to a head to such an extent that riots broke out, for example during the Oka and Ipperwash crises . Young people in particular react with recurring piles of suicide .

Unemployment is extremely high in many rural reserves, but this would have less serious effects under the conditions of a subsistence economy . However, since access to natural resources , for example fish, is often made more difficult, the dependence on state support is growing. Against this, groups have repeatedly defended themselves. The conflicts, such as with the Mi'kmaq, still persist today.

As a result, numerous tribes are demanding control of their land, at least over part of their traditional territory. The underlying conflict, namely that Canada, with a relatively small population and great resource wealth, is becoming a supplier of raw materials to the USA, but also to other countries, has been worsening for decades. This was confirmed by the Barack Obama's government in August 2009 when it signed a pipeline for the oil from the oil sands from Alberta to Wisconsin , neglecting climate protection and indigenous rights .

In addition, the system of election chiefs and their advisors has often created a new elite that is in contrast to the traditional leadership group. As a result, some tribal groups are politically divided.

Cultural revitalization

Natural resources

The cultures of the First Nations were created through the destruction of their natural foundations - be it the buffalo herds, the forests or the fish stocks - through attempts of more or less compulsory assimilation spanning several generations - be it through forced sedentariness and a rural way of life, through the prohibition of their use Languages ​​and other cultural expressions or by proselytizing - and last but not least by enormous population losses (especially through epidemics).

Totem pole in the Rheinaue, given by Chief Tony Hunt to the then federal capital Bonn

Therefore, the tribes that are recognized as owners of their tribal area try to reclaim their natural resources, such as the Nuu-chah-nulth in their decades-long struggle for their rainforests . In addition, not only cross-tribal political structures, but also cultural initiatives such as the annual gatherings of the coastal Salish connect . In addition, they are increasingly taking the education and training of their children into their own hands or are implementing curricular changes that take their culture into account and revise colonial perspectives (compare residential schools (Canada) ).


Of particular importance is the rediscovery of one's own languages ​​(see section Languages ), many of which are extinct, many are threatened and only a few are secured. They are considered to be the core of the preservation of tradition. From the 1970s onwards, linguists and ethnologists helped develop their own writing systems and initiatives that were intended to encourage people to learn their mother tongue again. To this end, numerous tribes set up summer schools and additional courses, and in some schools the mother tongue was elevated to a second language alongside English. Dictionaries now exist for numerous languages, radio stations offer broadcast times in the local Indian languages ​​and the Internet also allows access to language courses and vocabulary collections. There are also the first television stations, such as the North West Indian News (NWIN) or the Aboriginal Peoples Television Network .


In addition to the main stream of Canadian literature, ethnic literature represents all minorities. This also includes native literature , which, however, is much more rooted in oral traditions, legends, myths and fables. The interest of the Europeans in the stories of the Indians began as early as the 17th century, and so there is a rich fund of records. However, the translations into English and French, Christian moral reservations and numerous misunderstandings have also distorted the tradition. In addition, the storyteller traditionally enjoyed great freedom and adapted his stories to suit the situation. In addition, numerous stories are owned by lineages and may only be told in certain ritual contexts. The vast majority of them are neither known to the public nor translated.

The motifs and protagonists of the stories still exist today and are part of the literary works. Indian authors such as Norval Morrisseau with legends ( Ojibwa Legends of My People , 1965), Dan George and Rita Joe with poetic (My Heart Soars, 1974 and Poems of Rita Joe, 1978), but also political works (Harold Cardinal : The Rebirth of Canada's Indians , 1977). The regaining of cultural autonomy after the prohibitions of central traditions, such as the potlatch (George Clutesi: Potlatch , 1969), as well as the overall increase in attempts to tie in with the remnants of one's own cultures (John Snow: These Mountains Are Our Sacred ) also played an essential role Places 1977 and Beverly Hungry Wolf: The Ways of My Grandmothers , 1980.)

Play autobiographical approaches an important role (Anahareo: Devil in Deerskins 1972 Rita Joe: Song of Rita Joe: Autobiography of a Mi'kmaq Poet ). Since Kent Gooderham published the anthology I Am an Indian in 1969 , Indian literature has found increasing supporters and readers in Euro-Canadian society and also in the USA. The author Lenore Keeshig-Tobias concentrated on bilingual works in the field of books for children and young people ( Bineshiinh dibaajmowin / Bird talk , 1991).

In 2008 Joseph Boyden won Canada's most important literary prize, the Giller Prize, for his work Through Black Spruce . He has Scottish, Irish, and Métis ancestry, but writes exclusively about the First Nations.

Art, craft, ritual

Detail of a totem pole in front of the Native Education College in Vancouver

Not to be underestimated is the role of fine Indian art, which is growing in an expanding art market based on traditional motifs and materials. At the same time, it continues to develop. Works of traditional carving from the west coast, such as totem poles and masks, have long since become collectibles that are painstakingly fetched back, or at least exhibited according to the principles of the underlying culture, but also used and varied in completely different contexts. This renaissance of the art of carving is associated with the name Mungo Martin (1879–1962), a traditional chief of the Kwakiutl .

In the cultural tradition, the so-called West Coast Native Art and the “Woodlands” school of the “Legend Painters” dominate, and since the 1980s there have been internationalist groups. First, the West Coast carvers followed the successful Inuit in the 1960s, who enjoyed a great reputation as early as the 1940s. These were initially members of the Haida, Tsimshian and Kwakiutl, followed by Nuu-chah-nulth and Salish. In the 1970s and 1980s, the Woodland School also gained recognition, above all Norval Morrisseau , an Ojibwa from northwestern Ontario, who was also known as the Copper Thunderbird and who was occasionally called the "Picasso of the North". They nourished themselves from the rich mythological and spiritual fund of their cultures. Finally, independent artists also managed to join the group of leading Canadian artists in the course of the 1980s and 1990s. In 1989, Morrisseau was the only artist to represent Canada in the Museum of Modern Art in Paris .

For the so-called Euro-Canadian market, works of art were created that were initially discredited as souvenirs , but have now found recognition. Initially, this began with products for tourists, such as moccasins , small carvings, baskets or bags, which were offered at central attractions such as the Niagara Falls . This type of contact between indigenous artists and travelers dates back to the 17th century. Even today this art is offered in all quality levels at airports, in souvenir shops, galleries and museums. Often this art is only a mirror of the expectations of the buyer, less an expression of Indian art.

Traditional art thus covers the expectations of art that is brought to it, but also tries to find a compromise between Euro-Canadian and Indian tradition. It often serves a work production that is not perceived as art, but serves exclusively ritual purposes, and thus remains largely hidden from the public. Artists like Haida Tony Hunt , who donated a sculpture to the city of Bonn in 1979 on the occasion of the Federal Garden Show, Robert Davidson (* 1946) and Bill Reid (1920–1998) - despite the ban on public rituals such as the potlatch  - continued the tradition, which were inherited mainly from the Haida Charles Edenshaw (around 1839–1920), Willie Seaweed (1873–1967) and Mungo Martin (1879 / 82–1962) from the Kwakiutl.

Sculpture by Bill Reid: The Haida Creation Story, in which the raven finds people in a shell (Photo: Joe Goldberg)
Spirit of Haida Gwaii, the Black Canoe by Bill Reid

Bill Reid was one of the masters of the great wood sculptures, such as "Raven Discovering Mankind in a Clamshell" from 1983, which is in the Anthropological Museum of the University of British Columbia , but he also worked in bronze ("Killer Whale" from 1984 in the Vancouver Aquarium in Stanley Park ). The best-known work is possibly his "Spirit of Haida-Gwaii" (1991) in the Canadian Embassy in Washington, DC , the processing of which he interrupted in protest against the deforestation of the Queen Charlotte Islands ( Haida Gwaii ).

The works of Norval Morrisseau, who was heavily influenced by his grandfather, a medicine man, and the painters Jackson Beardy (1944–1984), Blake Debassige (* 1956) and Carl Ray stand between these works, which are entirely oriented towards the classical style and Euro-Canadian (1943-1978). The two older founded the Indian Group of Seven together with five other artists in 1973 . In addition to contemporary influences, they processed pictographic traditions of the Algonquin and petroglyphs of the cultures of the Canadian shield .

Artists like Carl Beam (1943–2005), who excels through multimedia work, Bob Boyer (* 1948), Robert Houle (* 1947), who works at the Ontario College of Art and Design , Alex Janvier (* 1935) or Edward and Jane Ash Poitras or Pierre Sioui, on the other hand, see themselves primarily as artists. If you, as an artist, express yourself on First Nations issues, it is more for political reasons. Usually ecological problems, poverty and violence, dehumanized technology and spirituality are in the foreground. They are reluctant to be labeled as "Indian artists". If, for example, Beam develops historical references, it is from all tangible cultures.


The musical traditions can also be spatially divided according to the traditions of the cultural areas. However, systematic collections of Native American music did not begin until the early 20th century. WH Mechling recorded songs by the Malecite and Mi'kmaq in 1911 , and Julien Tiersot published the proceeds of his visits to Kahnawake and Lorette that year . At the same time, Marius Barbeau recorded chants by the Hurons , Algonquin and Iroquois, with the latter attracting the greatest attention. Here was Edward Sapir ultimately the initiator. Also out of anthropological interest, Frank Speck took up his activity near Delaware and Tutelo in the Six Nations Reservation in Ontario and collected musical instruments.

It was only the anthropologist and dancer Gertrude Prokosch Kurath (1903–1992) who succeeded in developing a notation system for the Iroquois dances. Research into ritual dances ( The Iroquois Eagle Dance , 1953) and medical societies ( The False Faces of the Iroquois , Norman, Oklahoma 1987) was carried out with William Fenton .

Buffy Sainte-Marie (Universal Soldier) on the University of Michigan campus in 1967. She was raised on a Cree reservation in Saskatchewan.

Few other strains have been studied. Attention was drawn to the Naskapi in northern Labrador in the 1960s and the Algonquians in the 1970s. Richard Preston studied the Cree music, followed by studies on the music of the Ojibwa. In the prairies there were also the Blackfoot and Sarcee (Jane Richardson Hanks, 1939, and Pliny Goddard), with researchers from the USA making important contributions as early as 1900. Despite the great interest in the sun dance, only a few dealt with the Canadian conditions.

Robert Witmer, on the other hand, examined both traditional and country and western music adapted from the Blood, as well as Christian hymns.

In the West, the documentation is even thinner. James Teit recorded chants of the Sikani , Tahltan , Tlingit, Carrier , Okanagan and Nlaka'pamux in British Columbia, Alden J. Mason collected from the Sikani as far as the Great Slave Lake in 1913 . Further collections followed in the 1970s and 1980s.

The Coast Salish examined Wendy Bross Stuart, the Dogrib June Helm and Nancy Lurie, the Kutenai Norma McLeod.

In contrast, the Northwest enjoyed early interest because of its other art. Henri Tate collected texts from the Tsimshian between 1906 and 1909, Frances W. Galpin described the instruments as early as 1903. This was followed by the dances of the Kwakiutl, the chants of the Haida, those of the tribes on the Nass and the Skeena Rivers , and Edward Sapir collected from the Nuu -chah-nulth (Nootka). Elizabeth Cass studied the music of the Gwich'in 1959, Catherine McClellan visited the southern Yukon area from 1962 to 1968. One of the richest collections was provided by Ida Halpern in 1949 from the chiefs of the Nuu-chah-nulth and the Haida. She dealt with the meaning of syllables without meaning.

It was not until the 1980s that the First Nations began to conduct their own research through tribal gatherings, Elders ' conferences, and cultural centers.

Much more emphasis was placed on the ritual performance and the stabilization of the social context through dance and music, but also the connection to the surrounding musical culture and instrument making.

Now publications have started, also through new media, among them Robert Witmer: The Musical Life of the Blood Indians (1982), Anton Kolstee: Bella Coola Indian Music: A Study of the Interaction between Northwest Coast Indian Structures and their Functional Context ( 1982). There were also labels that were worn by Indians, such as Iroqrafts and Sunshine records , which opened a market for music. The Saskatchewan Indian Cultural Center in Saskatoon and the Ojibwe Cree Cultural Center in Timmins support commercial recordings and companion books. The same applies to the Woodland Indian Cultural Education Center in Brantford .


Large house of Kwakiutl chief Mungo Martin in front of the Royal British Columbia Museum

The religious worldview was fundamentally shaped by animistic ideas (everything is considered to be animated by spirits ). Myths determined the world order. Spiritual expressions of this kind are based on a close relationship with the natural environment. Therefore weather, plants and animals, the earth, the sky and water played important roles. Creation myths and the collective memory of a common ancestor, often from the animal kingdom, as well as the belief in a Great Creator were basic features of the religions. Almost all ethnic groups had religious and spiritual specialists who are now unified as shamans , although only the "Angakoks" of the Inuit are consistently counted as shamanism .

Overall, the indigenous religions were not based on a history of salvation, but on the sanctity of places, rituals or associated objects, of knowledge and stories, dances and music and people. Religions were location and kinship-specific and had no universal claim to validity.

The repertoire of pre-European education included reciting oral tradition, which included family stories, history and genealogy, legends and myths. This task was incumbent on the elders, with shamans this was often done through a kind of mentor, often through spontaneous visions. Even as children, some tribal groups, such as the coastal Salish , selected and taught the "historians" of the families and tribes.

After the tremors of the severe epidemics, Christianity was viewed as a form of religious healing, Indian blessed and saints like Kateri Tekakwitha served as models. Therefore, the more ritual Catholic mission was very successful not only in the French-speaking area, but also in the West. The Jesuits initially played a leading role in the missionary work, and in the 19th century it was more the Oblates . In addition, Methodists and Baptists tried to proselytize. The Christian confessions of the First Nations today form a denominational patchwork quilt, which has its own eclectic forms, such as the Indian Shaker Church .

Numerous features of pre-European spirituality have also been preserved or have been revived and further developed. They are ritualized at joint festivals. Many rituals are still only practiced and passed on within limited groups or by secret societies. The same applies to ritual objects, dances or stories that are only available to certain people and that can only be used by them on certain occasions. Above all, the term “medicine” plays an important role. The Midewiwin or Grand Medicine Society, for example, which is widespread on the east coast and the Great Lakes, does not go back to "medicine" in the European sense, but to a kind of spiritual medicine. The believer ascends in at least four stages of initiation in appropriate rituals. To record complex processes or historical events, these societies used Wiigwaasabak , birch bark, on which spiritually significant knowledge was carved in encrypted form - a tradition that goes back at least to the 16th century.


On the part of the Canadian government, the Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development (also called Indian and Northern Affairs Canada , INAC for short) is responsible for the First Nations. Each province in turn has a ministry that also deals with this issue. The federal institution is now called Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada .

Therefore, the treaty negotiations with First Nations that have existed since 1973 are not only conducted by Ottawa, but also by the provinces. Each province has its own way of doing this. British Columbia, for example, used the BC Treaty Commission in 1993 to negotiate treaties, but very few have been signed - the process may also fail. Since David Vickers, Supreme Court Justice, to whom Xeni Gwet'in, west of Williams Lake, granted around half of their traditional territory of 4,000 square kilometers, the negotiation process has probably come to an end.

The treaty negotiations between Canada and the provinces on the one hand and the First Nations on the other have been stuck since 2007. In British Columbia , the Lheidli T'enneh and the Tsawwassen are only waiting for ratification by parliament, and five small tribes of the Nuu-chah-nulth have also come together and opted for a treaty in 2007, which was ratified in June 2009 was, but others have broken off the negotiations because they see a breach of older contracts or a creeping expropriation.

The question of the possibility of quasi-state sovereignty with corresponding territories stands in stark contrast to the attempt by the provinces to treat the tribes as the sum of individuals. Part of their traditional territory is to be returned to the tribes, but no longer as unsaleable collective property, like the reservations, but as private, alienable property. Given the poverty of mostly rural communities in remote areas, it is foreseeable that this would lead to the sale of large chunks of Indian land, an assimilation strategy such as that practiced in the United States until the 1970s.

On the other hand, there is the Assembly of First Nations as a kind of umbrella organization. She is not only the mouthpiece of all Canadian Indians and leads the complex processes in Canadian courts, but is now active beyond state borders, for example at the United Nations , when it comes to human rights issues. Numerous tribal councils , which sometimes only represent a few, sometimes several dozen tribes and sub-tribes, often keep the archives , conduct the contract negotiations and usually represent the linguistically and culturally related tribes vis-à-vis the government, but also act on the tribes return. The Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council , for example, has significantly promoted the feeling of togetherness among the 14 tribes involved, which so far did not even have their own overarching name.

Chief George of the Squamish (Sḵwx̱wú7mesh) of southwest British Columbia and his daughter, 1908

Below this level, there are two conflicting systems, namely the system of elected chiefs and their advisers prescribed by the government, on the one hand, and the often existing or revived system of traditional chiefs on the other. In many tribes, the electoral chiefs, sponsored from the beginning by the Canadian government, rule the tribal councils, which in turn assign numerous politically and economically important positions. After all, since there are so many Indians living in the cities, it is becoming more and more difficult to politically integrate these people into the existing structures. Changes in voting rights partly take this development into account, but this control from outside also harbors new risks.

The social problems, such as poverty, poor health, alcohol and drug problems, the breakup of family structures and a high suicide rate, only became public through violent riots and commission reports. In addition , the fishing and hunting rights are essential for survival for numerous groups that operate a kind of subsistence economy . These groups are particularly affected by restrictions and ecological problems that often lead to consumption bans or even the disappearance of important species, as well as forced relocation. In 2008 the Supreme Court ruled that special rights for Indians in the use of natural resources were constitutional.

Occupation at Douglas Creek Estates during the Caledonia Land Occupation, October 15, 2006

Other disputes touch on the question of land ownership - the Caledonia Land Dispute in Ontario lasted from 2006 to 2014 - or social issues - in 2005, for example, the drinking water crisis in Kashechewan reached national media interest . In July 2008, the responsible minister promised that it would never happen again that a raw materials company would operate on sacred land or the territory of a first nation without their consent. The corresponding law of 1873 would be amended.

Overall, the policy of donations to the First Nations is controversial. In addition to the INAC, there are 33 organizations that are responsible for the administration of the grants. Total had, it is said in The Canadian , 6199 Contributions to 2,054 recipients (First Nations, provinces, other organizations) have been paid in a total amount of 5,606,665,491 US dollars, but there is no definite information. With these commitments, the provinces tend to stand by and watch the reserves evacuate because it saves them significant costs.

Today there are efforts of economic and cultural recreation. The latter revolves around language and rituals on the one hand, but in some tribes also around the restoration of their own social systems and the demand for self-government. The former endeavors to regain traditional resources and cultural techniques, as well as new sources of income such as casinos and tourism.

Women have only been able to become chiefs since 1951, whereby it must be taken into account that women in Canada were gradually entitled to vote from 1916, but Québec was the last province to follow until 1940. On the other hand, women traditionally played a larger role among the matrilineal tribes, especially the Iroquois in politics. The first female chief was Elsie Marie Knott of the Mississauga of Mud Lake, called Curve Lake since 1964 and living in Ontario. As early as 1953, 21 women were chief or councilor, the Ontario Native Women's Association was established in 1972 , and the Native Women's Association of Canada in 1974 . In 2008 there were 64 female chiefs. The state's inaction in combating violence against women was publicly criticized until 2015, in particular the lack of clarification of several hundred cases in which women disappeared, most of whom were most likely victims of violent crimes. In 2015, an investigation found that nearly 1,200 indigenous women had been murdered over the past three decades, with 225 unresolved cases. The Justin Trudeau government addressed the problem as soon as it took office with a Commission on Disappeared Indigenous Women in Canada , which has extensive powers over federal agencies and has substantial financial resources; the result of their work was available in June 2019 and is online.

The fragmentation and individualization is progressing, however, and a new leadership layer has emerged that dominates the administration. In addition, there are traditional rulers and families who pursue traditional hunting continue to exist. The pressure to act is growing simply because the proportion and number of young adults and children is growing rapidly, but they are not sufficiently represented in either group. The proportion of the urban population is also steadily increasing.

Since the death of a five-year-old Fisher River Cree Nation girl who was murdered in March 2006, some provinces have moved to provide far more social workers than the rest of the population has long been providing. In the province of Manitoba alone, there are around 8,000 children who are considered abused or neglected, many of them living in foster families outside the reservations. Hundreds of social workers are to look after the families in Manitoba alone.

In 2018, Adele Perry and Mary Jane Logan McCallum presented the systemic discrimination in the death of the disabled Brian Sinclair in 2008, who was not treated in an emergency room for 36 hours in Winnipeg, was not even considered and during this time died unnoticed by the medical staff . A security guard discovered the body. The following official investigation up to 2014 accuses the authors of having ignored the social background of "racism" and the deadly ways of thinking of the whites involved.


If one follows the Employment Equity Act , which aims to ensure equal treatment, the indigenous peoples are to be promoted in their employment as well as visible minorities, which mainly include Asians, Latin Americans and Africans, women and the disabled. While the unemployment rate within the reserves fell from 26% to 23% between 2001 and 2006, outside the reserves it fell from over 16% to 12% to 13%. In 1996 the unemployment rate in the reserves was 29%, but the numbers fluctuate extremely strongly from region to region and reach up to 80%. The average annual income rose from 1990 to 2000 by 31.5% (registered Indians in the reservations), while the average salary in the rest of the population rose by 172%. While the annual income was 32,176 CAD (2001), non-indigenous people earned 43,486 CAD.

Self-government and tourism are creating jobs for many reserve residents in the numerous parks that have emerged in the last few decades, which neither destroy natural resources to the extent that they have so far, nor keep them dependent on state welfare. Nevertheless, the discontent of the tribes is growing, in which the young now form a majority and will soon also dominate politically.

Trees killed by pine beetles on Fraser Lake, British Columbia

The fishery is used for livelihoods, but commercial fishing is only possible to a limited extent, especially since the salmon stocks in British Columbia, but also the fish stocks in the east, have declined sharply. The timber industry is also in a serious crisis, as large quantities of excess wood are entering the market due to the catastrophic losses caused by the mountain pine beetle , causing prices to fall. On the other hand, the steep rise in raw material prices from 2006 to 2008 again caused conflicts, and so the pressure increased on the tribes to issue mining permits, as was the case with the Innu in Labrador. High energy prices meanwhile lead to the expansion of hydropower, for which British Columbia has taken appropriate initiatives to build hydro reservoirs under the leadership of BC Hydro , such as the Klahoose .

In addition to the traditional ways of doing business, there are also opportunities to earn income by leasing land to raw material and energy companies. The rural economic base is expanded through logging or sustainable forestry, the generation of hydropower, wind and solar energy, its own extraction of raw materials, tourism, handicrafts and agriculture, the credit base of which has been expanded by its own First Nations Bank of Canada since 1996 . In addition, two areas have grown particularly rapidly in recent years: gambling in connection with entertainment and business contacts with other indigenous peoples.


Resort the Tulalip on the other side of the border
Casino of the Coast Salish peoples counting Skokomish

In Canada, casinos , which are increasingly developing into tourism and entertainment companies, play a much smaller role than in the USA. At 17, the number of large casinos is still very small. The gambling venues have been going back to traveling carnival events since 1925 , whereby it was more about games like darts . In the context of agricultural exhibitions, permits for stationary gambling were issued for the first time from 1969 , as well as from 1975 for charitable purposes. The first permanent facility in Alberta was established in 1980. However, the province of Alberta did not allow casinos in the reservations until 2001, and a moratorium failed in 2002. Since 2005, the number of applications to open such a casino has been increasing steadily. All casinos, not just those run by the Indians, must divert substantial portions of their profits for charitable purposes. 40% of the profits made in reservations go to a fund from which the tribes of Alberta finance their community tasks. However, three quarters are entitled to the operating tribe as hosts. In addition to the gambling venues, there are racecourses, so-called racinos . In September 2010 there were 70 casinos and 28 racinos in Canada, plus so-called Ludoplex facilities in Trois-Rivières and Québec .

Indigenous peoples as an economic factor

The relationships between the ethnic groups are now playing an increasingly important role. This trend has long since crossed national borders. The northernmost tribes can be found in associations of the Arctic peoples, while others establish contacts with indigenous peoples in Asia and Australia . In 2007, King Tuheitia Paki of the New Zealand Māori , more precisely the 127,000- strong Tainui tribal association, met a delegation from the Squamish and Nisga'a in Vancouver . During joint celebrations there, cultural and economic cooperation was agreed. The Māori have invested significant sums in indigenous businesses and want to continue doing so in Canada. This is especially true for the tribes that have raw material deposits. Today, the definition of demarcation against the predominance of the dominant peoples, be it in Asia, Australia or America, is increasingly becoming an economic factor that is fed by the knowledge of centuries of marginalization.


First Nations University, Regina

In a country like Canada that is heavily characterized by services and the raw materials sector, access to the labor market is based on good education and training as well as on accessibility to workplaces. In both respects, the rural indigenous peoples face major problems.

After the boarding system was dissolved in the 1960s to 1980s, various authorities took over some of the schools, but mainly new ones were built. Indian civil rights activists and organizations demanded in 1972 that they should run the schools themselves. In the meantime, the connection to the Internet has become of great importance, especially for the often very rural reserves, which is promoted by SchoolNet . In the area of ​​training, Siemens is investing alongside other corporations .

It is noticeable that the proportion of students who achieve a higher level of education is significantly lower compared to the rest of the Canadian population. According to a government report, only around 27% of 15- to 44-year-olds obtained a so-called post-secondary certificate , diploma or degree , a proportion that is otherwise 46%. At the same time, as the number of boys is growing rapidly, programs, scholarships and the like are trying to increase the number of students, but these funds have since been cut. In addition, the transition to higher education is hindered by bureaucratic hurdles, and in many cases by the great distances to the educational establishment.

One of the reasons why the interest in the technical training of Indians is increasing is the fact that the economy, which is mainly driven by the raw material boom, exploits these raw materials mostly in the vicinity of reservations. The workforce is correspondingly close, the willingness of other employees to move permanently to the climatically unfavorable areas is rather low. Nevertheless, it is becoming apparent that 2,858 First Nations students will be denied funding from 2007 to 2008 alone, a total of around 13,000 since 2001.

A national First Nations university in Regina , in Saskatchewan , has been providing university education since 2003 . However, in August 2010 it had to take drastic austerity measures. In addition, numerous colleges teach various aspects of indigenous cultures, and many work with research institutes, museums, universities and private companies, especially in the archaeological field.

In some provinces, the pressure to provide better education comes from demographic trends. It is expected that around 45% of children in Saskatchewan's kindergartens will be of indigenous descent in 2016. As early as 2008, 13.5% of the population were members of the First Nations or Métis.


  • Yale D. Belanger: Aboriginal Self-Government in Canada: Current Trends and Issues. Purich Publishing Ltd, 3rd ed. Saskatoon 2008, ISBN 978-1-895830-32-3 .
  • James W. Daschuk: Clearing the Plains: Disease, Politics of Starvation and the Loss of Aboriginal Life. ( Canadian Plains studies. 65) University of Regina Press, Regina 2013
  • Bruce Elliott Johansen: The encyclopedia of Native American economic history . Greenwood Press, Westport 1999, ISBN 0-313-30623-0 .
  • Jo-Ann Episkenew: Beyond Catharsis: Truth, Reconciliation, and Healing In and Through Indigenous Literature
    • in German: Beyond the catharsis: Truth, reconciliation and healing in and through indigenous literature . Dissertation, University of Greifswald 2006
  • Daniel Francis: The Imaginary Indian: The Image of the Indian in Canadian Culture , Arsenal Pulp Press, Vancouver 1992
  • Marie-Françoise Guédon: Canadian Indian Ethnomusicology: Selected Bibliography and Discograph , in: Ethnomusicology 16/3 (September 1972) pp. 465–478.
  • Calvin Helin: Dances with Dependency: Out of Poverty through Self-Reliance , Orca Spirit 2007
  • Alfred Hendricks, ed .: Indians of the Northwest Coast. Change and Tradition. (First Nations of the Pacific Northwest. Change and Tradition.) Westfälisches Museum für Naturkunde, Münster 2005 ISBN 3-924590-85-0 (book accompanying a series of exhibitions, bilingual German-English)
  • Wolfgang Lindig, Mark Münzel : The Indians , Volume 1: North America, Deutscher Taschenbuch Verlag, Munich 1978; last 1994 ISBN 3-423-04434-9
  • Maureen K. Lux: Separate Beds: A History of Indian Hospitals in Canada 1920s – 1980s . University of Toronto Press 2016
  • Paul R. Magocsi: Aboriginal Peoples of Canada: a Short Introduction. University of Toronto Press 2002
  • Dennis H McPherson, J. Douglas Rabb: Indian from the Inside. Native American Philosophy and Cultural Renewal . 2011 ISBN 978-0-7864-4348-2
  • Harald Moll: First Nations, First Voices. The legal status of indigenous peoples in Canada taking into account the special conditions in British Columbia ( publications by the Walther Schücking Institute for international law at the University of Kiel ), Duncker & Humblot, Berlin 2006 ISBN 978-3-428-11766-6
  • Lower Saxony State Museum Hanover (Ed.): Indians of Canada. Treasures of the Canadian Museum of Civilization . Hanover 2009 ISBN 978-3-929444-37-7
  • Claudia Notzke: Aboriginal Peoples and Natural Resources in Canada , Captus Press 1994 ISBN 1-895712-03-3
  • E. Palmer Patterson II: The Canadian Indian: A History since 1500 , Collier Mcmillan Canada, Toronto 1972
  • Arthur J. Ray: Indians in the Fur Trade. University of Toronto Press, 2017
  • John A. Roberts, Fredrick C. Sproule, Randy Montgomery: First Nations, Inuit, and Métis peoples: exploring their past, present, and future . Emond Montgomery, Toronto 2006
  • Hugh Shewell: 'Enough to Keep Them Alive'. Indian Welfare in Canada, 1873-1965 . University of Toronto Press, Toronto 2004.
  • William C. Sturtevant: Handbook of North American Indians . Smithsonian Institution (Ed.), Probably 20 vols., Washington (DC) since 1978
  • Wayne Warry: Ending Denial. Understanding Aboriginal Issues . University of Toronto Press 2009
  • Pamela Williamson, John A. Roberts: First Nation Peoples , 2nd ed. Toronto 2004.
  • Larry J. Zimmerman: American Indians: The First Nations. Native North American Life, Myth and Art . Duncan Baird Publ. 2003 ISBN 1-904292-74-7

Web links

Commons : First Nations  - collection of images, videos and audio files


  1. This website of a "Center d'information sur la santé autochthone" tries to define the most important terms, either in English or French, according to the status of 2005. Unfortunately, the other pages in the sitemap lead nowhere.
  2. Lenore Keeshig-Tobias, Ojibwa, said in 1990: “How I loathe the term 'Indian'… 'Indian' is a term used to sell things - souvenirs, cigars, cigarettes, gasoline, cars. ... 'Indian' is a figment of the white man's imagination. " 'Indian' is a fantasy product of the white man. ”). Quoted from The New Zealand Digital Library , German after Phillip Wearne: Die Indianer Amerikas , Göttingen 1996, ISBN 3-88977-455-5 , p. 21.
  3. Finally: Christopher Alcantara: Deal? Or no deal? Explaining Comprehensive Land Claims Negotiation Outcomes in Canada , PhD, University of Toronto 2008.
  4. Cf. Colin Samson: A Way of Life that Does Not Exist: Canada and the Extinguishment of the Innu , London, New York: Verso 2003 ISBN 978-1-85984-525-7 .
  5. Monika Seiller: "Indigenous Lives Matter - Canada's Self-Deception", in Coyote. , quarterly magazine of the action group Indians & Human Rights, 32nd volume - No. 122, ISSN  0939-4362 , p. 11.
  6. Here, the further complications that arise from the fact that there is now a strong Indian community in Canada, whose members are referred to as non-resident Indians from an Indian perspective , are to be discussed. They are politically particularly correctly referred to as Persons of Indian Origin (cf. Non-resident Indian and Person of Indian Origin ).
  7. In Ontario alone, almost 50 groups are not recognized as First Nations.
  8. Apparently it was proposed by Elder Sol Sanderson of the unrecognized Chakastapaysin First Nation in the early 1980s. See Sanderson's speech (PDF; 456 kB) p. 78 ( Memento from April 6, 2008 in the Internet Archive ).
  9. As an example for many: Guide to Aboriginal Organizations and Services in British Columbia for 2005/06 (PDF; 452 kB)
  10. Maps of these treaties and other treaties with the First Nations can be found here: Treasury Board of Canada, Secretariat: Treaty areas ( Memento from June 24, 2008 in the Internet Archive ).
  11. The name "C-31" goes back to the fact that in 1985 the corresponding bill was called "Bill C 31".
  12. ^ Native Women's Assn. of Canada vs. Canada. McIvor Decision . Judgments of the Supreme Court of Canada, October 27, 1994, accessed August 13, 2019 .
  13. 'Status Indians' face threat of extinction , in: Toronto Star, May 10, 2009
  14. See The Indian Register (on the AADNC website), January 2011 .
  15. Some tribes are listed several times, such as the Champagne and Aishihik First Nations , which also appear as "Champagne" or "Aishihik".
  16. In the USA in mid-2002 exactly 562 tribes were recognized (see Federally Recognized Indian Tribes ).
  17. This and the following is according to the information of the Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada according to the page Search by First Nation. Government of Canada - Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada , March 28, 2017, accessed March 26, 2018 . compiled. The Ministry mostly uses the term First Nation analogously to Tribe.
  18. According to Statistics Canada or the results of the 2006 census based on self-designation.
  19. ^ Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development: Registered Indian Population by Sex and Residence 2001 , Ottawa 2002. ISBN 0-662-31134-5 .
  20. In detail the following bands : Bay of Quinte Mohawk: 796, Bearfoot Onondaga: 661, Delaware: 710, Konadaha Seneca: 590, Lower Cayuga: 3799, Lower Mohawk: 4271; Niharondasa Seneca: 395, Oneida: 2133, Onondaga Clear Sky: 845, Tuscarora: 2305, Upper Cayuga: 3801, Upper Mohawk: 6497, Walker Mohawk: 500. The reserves cover around 183 km² (according to Six Nations of the Grand River. Government of Canada - Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada , March 28, 2017. retrieved on March 26, 2018 (English). )
  21. See Table 17: Size and growth of the First Nations population, Canada, provinces and territories, 1996 to 2006, Statistics Canada .
  22. See Figure 7: Percentage of First Nations people living on and off reserve, Canada, 1996 and 2006, Statistics Canada .
  23. ^ Sue Bailey: First Nations assails census results . In: The Star , January 27, 2008
  24. According to Statistics Canada .
  25. Canada's First People,
  26. The Historical Atlas of Canada provides a distribution map of the language families in Canada for the 17th century.
  27. See ( Languages ​​of Canada ). The distribution maps provide an overview .
  28. Languages ​​of First Nations, Métis and Inuit Collections , Homepage of the University of Saskatchewan ( Memento of December 8, 2007 in the Internet Archive )
  29. One of the most extensive sites is FirstVoices .
  30. The efforts go back a long way. In 1862, for example, the Dictionary of Indian Tongues containing most of the Words and Terms used in the Tshimpsean, Hydah & Chinook with their Meaning or Equivalent in the English Language , Victoria 1862
  31. S. Rob Cappricioso: Putting Anishinaabemowin first , in: Indian Country Today 19 September, 2008 .
  32. Carl Faulmann: The Book of Writing Containing the characters and alphabets of all times and of all the peoples of the world. Second increased and improved edition , Vienna 1880.
  33. Cf. O. Jouve: Chrestien Leclercq , in: Catholic Encyclopedia 1910 .
  34. ^ East Cree language web ( Memento June 9, 2008 in the Internet Archive ) (, last version June 9, 2008).
  35. ^ Naskapi Lexicon ( Memento from June 18, 2013 in the Internet Archive )
  36. The information varies considerably. North America's Indigenous Languages quotes from a 2007 letter to the Prime Minister: “Cree-Montagnais-Naskapi (60,000); Ojibwa (40,000); Chipewyan (4,000 to 12,000); Mi'kmaq (3,500 to 5,000); Mohawk (3,800); Assiniboine (3,600); Slave (3,000); Babine, Dogrib, Carrier, Chilcotin and Blackfoot (2,000 each), Gitksan and Malecite (1,000 each); Gwich'in (500 in Canada, 700 in Alaska) and Nisga'a (700-1000). "
  37. According to Statistics Canada .
  38. Architectural History: Early First Nations ( English, French ) In: The Canadian Encyclopedia ., In The Canadian Encyclopedia.
  39. On the importance of slavery on the Pacific coast between Alaska and the Columbia River see Leland Donald: Aboriginal slavery on the Northwest Coast of North America , Berkeley: University of California Press, 1997.
  40. On how the Canadian governments deal with the potlatch, see Christopher Bracken: The Potlatch Papers: a Colonial Case History , University of Chicago Press 1997.
  41. see The Creation Story of the Raven Tu-lu-tau-guk , in Das Märchenbuch. Edited by Claudia Schmölders. Insel TB, 998, Frankfurt 1987. Transfer by Paul Sock, pp. 179–196.- Excerpt , in the transfer. Patrick Rotter.
  42. This section is essentially based on the main article History of the First Nations , which was also mainly written by me and which in turn owes a lot to the contribution by JV Wright: A History of the Native People of Canada .
  43. 61/295. United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples , pp. 16-25.
  44. Canada officially adopts UN declaration on rights of Indigenous Peoples , CBC / Radio-Canada News, May 10, 2016.
  45. As part of a study on prostitution, Melissa Farley and Jacqueline Lynne examined the long-term effects of the link between poverty, violence and racism : Prostitution of Indigenous Women: Sex Inequality and the Colonization of Canada's First Nations Women , 2003 ( Memento of October 20, 2009 on the Internet Archives ). Most women escaped domestic violence, and more than half were under the age of 16 to a way of life in which violence often continues. The number of prostitutes in the big cities is disproportionately high among Indian women.
  46. A striking example of this one-dimensional interpretation is Violence against Aboriginal women
  47. Ontario breaks jurisdictional barriers with vow for First Nations health care , Globe and Mail , February 14, 2018
  48. The Aboriginal Healing Foundation website provides further information on the status of their work .
  49. These are located in Nanaimo and Lantzville in British Columbia, in Yellowknife and Cardston in Alberta, Lebret , Saskatchewan, in Fort Frances , Ottawa and Victoria Harbor in Ontario, in Kahnawake , Québec and in Fredericton in New Brunswick / Nouveau-Brunswick.
  50. The legal situation can be found on the website The residential schools settlement has been approved. The healing continues. .
  51. Jörg Michel: Canada's gloomy past , in: Neue Zürcher Zeitung, June 4, 2015.
  52. Worldwide nomads who have been forced to settle down are more or less affected by the problem of alcoholism and drug consumption and their consequences. The Innu in Labrador, for example, have been subjected to sedentary programs since the 1950s, which, as with most nomadic peoples, had catastrophic results. In Davis Inlet in Labrador alone, where a settlement was built in 1967 to settle the nomads, 47 alcoholic deaths occurred between 1973 and 1992. In 1993, a police officer posted a video about children sniffing gasoline that sparked resettlement. In December 2002, the entire community moved to a $ 200 million newly built village called Natuashish. But the path of the 70 million dollars that have now been invested in social programs could no longer be traced back in 2005 by means of government documents. Only two social workers were overseeing the entire site at the time, domestic violence was not tackled by professional staff, and there is not even a sheltered house to house women and children. See The Innu of Labrador: From Davis Inlet to Natuashish, CBC News, February 14, 2005 ). In February 2008, the tribe voted with a narrow majority (76:74), with less than half voting, for a complete alcohol ban (see Labrador Innu village votes for booze ban, CBC News, February 1, 2008 .
  53. A cinematic overview is provided by Long Train of Abuses , Part 1 and Part 2 .
  54. The construction is to take place through the Chippewa National Forest , and cross the area of ​​the Leech Lake Band without the approval of the tribe . To: Canada's tar sands. Prosperity and misery of the "First Nations" . In: Zeit online , May 6, 2008
  55. The Language Archives celebrating World Indigenous Cultures website is particularly extensive .
  56. ^ For general information on First Nations television stations, see Lorna Roth: Something New in the Air: The Story of First Peoples Television Broadcasting in Canada , McGill Queens University Press, Montreal and Kingston 2005.
  57. the Nwin site ( Memento of 26 September 2008 at the Internet Archive )
  58. ↑ See the Aboriginal Peoples Television Network website .
  59. The influence of the US Indians should not be underestimated. Oliver La Farge's isolated work , the 1929 novella Laughing Boy , was not resumed until the 1960s. N. Scott Momaday (Kiowa) received the Pulitzer Prize for House Made of Dawn in 1969 , while the younger Vine Deloria published Custer Died For Your Sins. To Indian Manifesto . Dee Brown's Bury My Heart At Wounded Knee (1970) went beyond the national framework . Nevertheless, the written tradition goes back to the early 19th century (William Apes: The Experience of William Apes, a Native of the Forest (1831), a Pequot , George Copway , an Anishinabe and Chief Elias Johnson, a Tuscarora are early examples ).
  60. Lived January 29, 1933 - June 15, 2006
  61. Übers. Ute Seßlen: The wise women of the Indians. Keeper of the house, huntress, medicine woman. Scherz Verlag , Bern 1994; again Droemer Knaur TB 1996; first udT the tipi on the edge of the great forests. A black-footed Indian describes the life of the Indians as it really was. Scherz, 1981; TB 1985
  62. On the English-language literature of the indigenous peoples: Daniel David Moses and Terry Goldie: An Anthology of Canadian Native Literature in English , 2nd edition, Toronto: Oxford University Press 1998.
  63. Joseph Boyden: Through Black Spruce , 2008, ISBN 978-0-670-06363-5
  64. ^ Katherine Walker: The aboriginal migration to the city , in: CBC News, December 10, 2008
  65. Morrisseau, 'Picasso of the North,' dead at 75. ctv News, December 4, 2007, accessed August 13, 2019 .
  66. I'm following: Contemporary aboriginal art in canada ( English, French ) In: The Canadian Encyclopedia .
  67. ^ Professional Native Indian Artists Inc., or the “Indian Group of Seven” ( English, French ) In: The Canadian Encyclopedia .
  68. Some exhibits can be found in the Bear Claw Gallery .
  69. Most recently: Tara Browner: Music of the First Nations: Tradition and Innovation in Native North America , University of Illinois 2009.
  70. This and the following from the Encyclopedia of Music in Canada ( January 14, 2009 memento in the Internet Archive ), Sections First Nations Research, 1900-80 and 1980-90.
  71. An example of Mi'kmaq song and language (Chief Francis Marriage Song).
  72. La musique chez les peuples indigènes de l'Amérique du Nord (États-Unis et Canada) , Paris 1911.
  73. An Example of the Music and Singing of the Cree , August 2008.
  74. ^ Wilson Wallis: The Sun Dance of the Canadian Dakota , in: Anthropological papers of the American Museum of Natural History, New York 1921, pp. 317-385 and Lloyd O'Brodovich: Plains Cree sun dance , in: Western Canadian Journal of Anthropology 1 (1968).
  75. ^ Robert Witmer: The Musical Life of the Blood Indians , Ottawa 1982
  76. ^ Alden J. Mason: Notes on the Indians of the Great Slave Lake area , New Haven 1946.
  77. Wendy Bross Stuart: Gambling Music of the Coast Salish Indians , Vancouver 1972. Herman Karl Haeberlin's approach to the Washington Coast Salish was destroyed by his early death (cf. Herman Karl Haeberlin / Helen Roberts: Songs of the Puget Sound Salish , in: Journal of American Folklore 31 (1928) 496-520).
  78. ^ Dogrib Hand Game , Ottawa 1966
  79. ^ The semantic parameter in music: the blanket rite of the lower Kutenai , in: Yearbook for Inter-American Musical Research 7 (1971) 83-101.
  80. ^ Frances W. Galpin: The whistles and reed instruments of the Northwest Coast , in: Proceedings of the Musical Association 29 (1903).
  81. ^ Martha Warren Beckwith: Dance forms of the Moqui and Kwakiutl Indians , in: Proceedings of the 15th International Congress of Americanists 2, 1907.
  82. John Swanton: Haida songs , 1912 .
  83. The ritual amalgamation of cultural elements with religious practice on the occasion of the inauguration of a longhouse of the Gingolx ( Nisga'a ) on the Nass River in 2005 is impressive .
  84. ^ Helen Roberts and Morris Swadesh: Songs of the Nootka Indians of Western Vancouver Island , Philadelphia 1955.
  85. On the interpretation of “meaningless nonsensical syllables” in the music of the Pacific Northwest Indians , in: Ethnomusicology 20/2 (1976).
  86. Wendy Wickwire; Theories of ethnomusicology and the North American Indian: retrospective and critique , in: Canadian University Music Review 6 (1995) 186-221.
  87. Numerous articles opposed their commercialization, such as Lisa Aldred: Plastic Shamans and Astroturf Sun Dances: New Age Commercialization of Native American Spirituality , in: The American Indian Quarterly 24.3 (2000) 329-352.
  88. Kenneth E. Kidd: Birch-Bark Scrolls in Archaeological Contexts , in: American Antiquity 30/4 (1965) 480-483.
  89. See David Carrigg, Huge win for Interior natives. BC land-claims process 'dead,' says grand chief , in: The Province, November 22, 2007 ( Memento of November 3, 2012 in the Internet Archive ).
  90. This is how Sto: lo chief Ken Malloway recognized at the end of 2007 that the destruction of the fish populations by gravel dredgers is threatening the existence of the tribes there: Larry Pinn: Native leader questions bands on gravel extraction program. Grand chief says “when the fish are gone, our aboriginal rights are gone” . ( Memento of November 11, 2012 in the Internet Archive ) In: The Vancouver Sun , December 26, 2007
  91. R. v. Kapp vs. Canada. 2008 SCC 41st Judgments of the Supreme Court of Canada, June 27, 2008, accessed August 13, 2019 .
  92. Kathrin Wessendorf: The Indigenous World 2009. April 2009, p. 65.
  93. ^ After Robert Laboucane: Aboriginal Canadians: Collaboration or Confrontation? , in: The Canadian, 2008 ( Memento from October 20, 2009 in the Internet Archive )
  94. See Cora Jane Voyageur: Firekeepers of the twenty-first century: First Nations women chiefs , McGill-Queen's University Press 2008, p. 46.
  95. Report by Amnesty International : Public inquiry called into Vancouver missing and murdered women ( Memento of April 12, 2012 in the Internet Archive )
  96. Native violence starts at home, RCMP say , Globe and Mail , June 19, 2015
  97. At the end of the 1970s this was still around 15% of the Indians ( Richard C. Powless: Native People and Employment: A National Tragedy . ( Memento of April 30, 2009 in the Internet Archive ) In: Currents 4/2 (1985) 2– 5).
  98. Phoenix's legacy takes shape , in: Winnipeg Free Press, December 21, 2008 and Mapping out Manitoba's CFS system , in: Winnipeg Free Press, December 21, 2008 .
  99. ^ Adele Perry, Mary Jane Logan McCallum: Structures of Indifference: An Indigenous Life and Death in a Canadian City. University of Manitoba Press, 2018. Detailed in English Wikipedia, Death of Brian Sinclair .
  100. Classification for visible minority. Statistics Canada, September 16, 2016, accessed August 13, 2019 .
  101. What is the purpose of the Employment Equity Act (EEA)? Government of Canada, Canadian Human Rights Commission, Frequently Asked Questions, accessed September 15, 2015 .
  102. Statistics Canada
  103. Pamela Williamson, John A. Roberts: First Nations peoples , Toronto: Emond Montgomery Publications Limited, 2nd edition 2004, p. 165.
  104. Pamela Williamson, John A. Roberts: First Nations peoples , Toronto: Emond Montgomery Publications Limited, 2nd edition 2004, pp. 174f.
  105. Pamela Williamson, John A. Roberts: First Nations peoples , Toronto: Emond Montgomery Publications Limited, 2nd edition 2004, p. 167.
  106. On the history of welfare see Hugh Shewell: "Enough to keep them alive": Indian welfare in Canada, 1873-1965 , University of Toronto Press 2004.
  107. Christine Fuchs: Attack of the Beetles , report of the ZDF-Auslandsjournals of September 13, 2007 ( Memento of January 5, 2008 in the Internet Archive )
  108. In Québec, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island there are none, British Columbia one, Alberta two, Manitoba three, Saskatchewan six, Ontario two and New Brunswick three (as of August 2008).
  109. ^ Casino and Racino Facilities in Canada by Province, Alberta Gaming Research Institute, June 2008 ( Memento of May 11, 2009 in the Internet Archive ).
  110. Interview with the spokesman for the tribe, Tuku Morgan
  111. This is based on Marie Ann Battiste, Jean Barman: First Nations Education in Canada: The Circle Unfolds , Vancouver: UBC Press 1995. Battiste is Mi'kmaq and teaches at the Department of Educational Foundations at the University of Saskatchewan. General information on the control of the Canadian school system: Working group international comparative study (ed.): School performance and control of the school system in the federal state: Canada and Germany in comparison, Münster: Waxmann 2007.
  112. Interview with Ontario Lieutenant Governor Bartleman about suicides in Northern Ontario and educational initiatives on YouTube
  113. ↑ In addition: Blair Stonechild: New Buffalo. The Struggle for Aboriginal Post-Secondary Education in Canada , University of Manitoba Press 2006, ISBN 978-0-88755-693-7
  114. That emerged in the parliamentary debate on June 18, 2007 .
  115. Saskatchewan! Education: The Future within us, Government of Saskatchewan ( Memento of December 27, 2009 in the Internet Archive ).
  116. Hunger policy and targeted use of diseases against First Nations
  117. on widespread human experimentation and other serious shortcomings in hospitals for First Nation members that were fundamentally separate from hospitals for whites.
  118. Critical remarks on the work, which is the first to examine this field, are made by Alvin Finkel in his review .
  119. an Ojibwa who was forcibly brought up by whites returns to his family at 25 and struggles to find his way around their traditions.
  120. as a book with more pictures, since 1925: Knopf Canada, 2019. Photographs found in various archives, through research, many of the people depicted were subsequently given their names and tribal affiliation.