In Canada, the term Indigenous peoples (or Aboriginal peoples) refers to First Nations, Métis and Inuit peoples. These are the original inhabitants of the land that is now Canada. In the 2016 census by Statistics Canada, over 1.6 million people in Canada identified as Indigenous, making up 4.9 per cent of the national population. Though severely threatened — and in certain cases extinguished — by colonial forces, Indigenous culture, language and social systems have shaped the development of Canada and continue to grow and thrive despite extreme adversity.
Who are Indigenous Peoples in Canada?
There are three categories of Indigenous peoples in Canada: Inuit, Métis and First Nations. The Inuit primarily inhabit the northern regions of Canada. Their homeland, known as Inuit Nunangat, includes much of the land, water and ice contained in the Arctic region. Métis peoples are of mixed European and Indigenous ancestry, and live mostly in the Prairie provinces and Ontario, but also in other parts of the country. First Nations peoples were the original inhabitants of the land that is now Canada, often occupying territories south of the Arctic.
The Indian Act — the principal statute through which the federal government manages a variety of issues concerning Indigenous affairs — further divides Indigenous peoples into two categories: Status Indians and Non-Status Indians. (See also Indian Status.)Status Indians are individuals who are listed in the Indian Register and are issued identification cards (known as status cards) that contain information about their identity, band and registration number. Non-Status Indians are Indigenous peoples who are not registered with the federal government (See also Indian).
All Indigenous peoples in Canada are protected by section 35 of the Constitution Act, 1982, which enshrines Indigenous rights. The federal government departments responsible for the affairs of Indigenous peoples are Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs and Indigenous Services.
Many Indigenous nations have signed treaties with the Crown. These agreements have allowed for the use of Indigenous lands in exchange for annual payments and/or other benefits. Treaties form the constitutional and moral basis of alliance between Indigenous peoples and Canada.
Indigenous peoples have been in Canada since time immemorial. They formed complex social, political, economic and cultural systems before Europeans came to North America.
With colonization and white settlement, traditional Indigenous ways of life were forever altered. Colonial practices and policies, such as the Indian Act, pass system, reserves and residential schools, sought to control and assimilate Indigenous peoples. These have had historic and ongoing impacts on generations of Indigenous peoples.
Such practices and polices, when combined with racism, acts of segregation, loss of land, and declining or unequal access to food resources and public services, have had devastating consequences on the health and socio-economic well-being of Indigenous peoples. (See also Social Conditions of Indigenous Peoples and Economic Conditions of Indigenous Peoples.)
In the 2016 census, 1,673,785 people in Canada identified as Indigenous, making up 4.9 per cent of the national population.The First Nations population numbered 977,230, the Métis population was 587,545, and the Inuit population reached 65,025.
The Indigenous population in Canada is growing steadily; since 2006, it has grown by 42.5 per cent, more than four times the growth rate of the non-Indigenous population. Statistics Canada has projected that in the next 20 years, the Indigenous population will likely grow to more than 2.5 million people. The changes in population reflect increased life expectancy, high birth rates, and more people identifying as Indigenous in the 2016 census.
The 2016 census showed population growth in First Nations communities both on and off reserve; from 2006 to 2016, the on-reserve population grew 12.8 percent while the off-reserve population grew 49.1 per cent. Statistics Canada also reported that the Métis are the most likely Indigenous group to live in an urban community; nearly two-thirds of the population lived in a city in 2016. For the Inuit, nearly 75 per cent of the population inhabit Inuit Nunangat, a stretch of traditional territory covering the land, water and ice contained in the Arctic.
DID YOU KNOW?
In the 2016 Census, 11,620 people in Canada claimed Cherokee ancestry. The Cherokee Nation is the largest tribal nation in the United States.
Regional and Cultural Diversity
Indigenous peoples, both historical and contemporary, in North America can be divided into 10 cultural areas. Only the first six areas are found within the borders of Canada:
- Northwest Coast
- Eastern Woodlands (sometimes referred to as the Northeast)
- Great Basin
Contemporary political borders in North America do not reflect (and often overlap) traditional lands. For example, the Mohawk Nation at Akwesasne straddles both provincial (Québec and Ontario) and international (New York State) borders, as its existence predates the establishment of the international border in 1783 (See also Indigenous Territory).
These areas are based on linguistic divisions first defined by the ethnologist and linguist Edward Sapir in 1910, while he was head of the Anthropology Division at the Geological Survey of Canada, which later became the Canadian Museum of History(See also Indigenous Languages in Canada). Sapir’s geographical framework was adopted by the Smithsonian Institution’s Handbook of North American Indians, the first volumes of which were published in 1978, and continues to be used widely in scholarship.
The Handbook states that these categories are “used in organizing and referring to information about contiguous groups that are or were similar in culture and history,” but it is important to note that these delineations are not concrete, and neighbouring peoples always share some similarities and some differences. Rather than representing 10 distinct cultures, these areas reflect geographic and cultural groupings that are fluid and often intermixed. In addition, contemporary Indigenous peoples may live far from their ancestral homelands, and indeed may form new communities rooted in urban centres rather than traditional lands.
These cultural areas are massive and generalized; what is true of a part is not always true of the whole. For example, some sources further divide the Eastern Woodlands into the Southeast and Northeast regions, while others combine these regions into simply Woodlands, and as such one must not assume that all peoples in a cultural area shared the same experiences.
Research overviews of the six cultural areas in Canada provide only some specific anthropological information. The peoples included in these areas are in some ways similar and in other ways different. What is true for the Wendat may not have been true for the Mi’kmaq, and indeed there existed variations among bands within a group. When considering contemporary situations, it is impossible to assume that one issue, set of beliefs, or cultural reference can relate to all Indigenous people in Canada, though in contemporary politics, large-scale political movements like Idle No More have gained wide acceptance and mobilization.
The ethnologists, archaeologists and anthropologists who have written about these cultural regions were often not Indigenous themselves. Though much of this research was done through interviews and fieldwork, it inevitably operated within a settler-colonial framework — a worldview that privileges property acquisition, European-style government and economic growth — regardless of the positive intentions of the researcher. Nevertheless, this research remains valuable both as historical and historiographical tools.
List of Indigenous Peoples in Canada
In 2016, more than 1.6 million people identified as Indigenous in Canada. Below is a list of separate entries on various Indigenous nations in Canada. This is not a comprehensive list, but it provides insight into the history, society, culture, politics and contemporary life of various First Nations, Inuit and Métis communities in Canada.
Coronavirus: What's happening in Canada and around the world – CBC.ca
Health authorities in Thailand are racing to set up a large field hospital in a cargo building at one of Bangkok’s airports as the country reports record numbers of coronavirus cases and deaths.
Other field hospitals are already in use in the capital after it ran out of hospital facilities for thousands of infected residents. Workers rushed to finish the 1,800-bed hospital at Don Mueang International Airport, where beds made from cardboard box materials are laid out with mattresses and pillows.
The airport has had little use because almost all domestic flights were cancelled two weeks ago. The field hospital is expected to be ready for patients in two weeks.
The quick spread of the delta variant also led neighbouring Cambodia to seal its border with Thailand on Thursday and order a lockdown and movement restrictions in eight provinces.
-From The Associated Press, last updated at 6:30 a.m. ET
What’s happening in Canada
What’s happening around the world
As of early Thursday morning, more than 196 million cases of COVID-19 had been reported worldwide, according to Johns Hopkins University. More than 4.1 million deaths had been reported.
In the Asia-Pacific region, Tokyo reported 3,865 new cases on Thursday, up from 3,177 on Wednesday and double the number it had a week ago. Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary Katunobu Kato told reporters the new cases are soaring not only in the Tokyo area but also across the country. He said Japan has never experienced an expansion of infections of this magnitude.
The World Health Organization’s Africa director says the continent of 1.3 billion people is entering an “encouraging phase after a bleak June” as supplies of COVID-19 vaccines increase. But Matshidiso Moeti told reporters on Thursday that just 10 per cent of the doses needed to vaccinate 30 per cent of Africa’s population by the end of 2021 have arrived. Some 82 million doses have arrived in Africa so far, while 820 million are needed.
Less than two per cent of Africa’s population has been fully vaccinated, and the more infectious delta variant is driving a deadly resurgence of cases.
“There’s a light at the end of the tunnel on vaccine deliveries to Africa but it must not be snuffed out again,” Moeti said.
In the Americas, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said on Wednesday that 66.6 per cent of U.S. counties had transmission rates of COVID-19 high enough to warrant indoor masking and should immediately resume the policy.
COVID-19 continues to inflict a devastating toll on the Americas, with Argentina, Colombia, Cuba, Ecuador and Paraguay among the countries with the world’s highest weekly death rates, the Pan American Health Organization said.
In the Middle East, Iran on Wednesday reported 33,817 new cases of COVID-19 and 303 additional deaths. The country, which has been hit hard by COVID-19, is experiencing yet another surge in cases.
In Europe, Spain’s prime minister said existing measures to protect the most vulnerable from the pandemic’s economic fallout will be prolonged until the end of October.
Spain, one of the countries that was hardest hit at the beginning of the health emergency, has extended subsidies for the unemployed and furloughs for companies that have gone out of business to try to cushion an economic drop of 11 per cent of its gross domestic product in 2020.
-From The Associated Press, Reuters and CBC News, last updated at 11:15 a.m. ET
Washington's reasons for keeping border closed to Canadians still murky a week later – CBC.ca
A week after the U.S. government surprised many by announcing the land border with Canada would remain closed for the time being, the exact reasons for that decision remain shrouded in secrecy.
Not even American members of Congress have been given a detailed explanation for the decision. New York State Rep. Brian Higgins said the lack of information is leading to confusion among his constituents.
“The silence from this administration about the northern border is maddening,” said Higgins, who has been asking for a meeting with officials in the administration of President Joe Biden to get an explanation. “With the border now closed for 16 months and counting, the people deserve to know what it will take to reopen the U.S. border to Canadians.”
Washington State Rep. Suzan DelBene’s office says she “remains frustrated that we haven’t received a clear answer from the administration on why the closure was extended.”
News that the U.S. land border would remain closed until at least Aug. 21 came just after Ottawa announced that fully vaccinated Americans would be able to enter Canada starting Aug. 9.
Many had expected the U.S. to follow Canada’s lead. The U.S. closure order has been less stringent than Canada’s from the beginning; it allowed air travel into the U.S., for example. The COVID-19 case count is lower in Canada than the U.S., and the vaccination rate is higher.
A week after it issued the notice that the U.S. land border would remain closed, the Department of Homeland Security continues to offer the same vague explanation.
“To decrease the spread of COVID-19, including the Delta variant, the United States is extending restrictions on non-essential travel at our land and ferry crossings with Canada and Mexico through August 21, while ensuring the continued flow of essential trade and travel,” Homeland Security spokesperson Angelo Fernández Hernández said in a media statement.
“DHS is in constant contact with Canadian and Mexican counterparts to identify the conditions under which restrictions may be eased safely and sustainably.”
Fear of the delta variant
On Monday, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki pointed to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), suggesting the decision to maintain border closures and travel restrictions was the result of its guidance.
“I think their decision was made based on the fact that the delta variant is more transmissible and is spreading around the world,” Psaki said, pointing out that it’s also spreading in the U.S. — particularly among unvaccinated Americans.
The CDC has yet to respond to questions from CBC News.
On Tuesday, the CDC stated that even those who are fully vaccinated can spread the COVID-19 delta variant. It now recommends that those fully vaccinated wear masks when they visit indoor public places in areas where there is a high degree of COVID-19 transmission.
One of the few people to offer any hint of what’s gone on behind the scenes is Biden’s chief medical adviser, Dr. Anthony Fauci.
“I can tell you that the border situation and letting Canadians in who are fully vaccinated is an area of active discussion right now in the U.S. government,” he told CBC News Network’s Power & Politics on Friday.
WATCH: Dr. Anthony Fauci says status of Canada/U.S. border the focus of “active discussion” in Washington
Former U.S. ambassador to Canada Bruce Heyman said the U.S. may not be quite ready to follow Canada’s example by opening the border.
“It may very well have been that the U.S. said, ‘We are not prepared and we have not yet decided on the process and procedures of opening our land borders as of yet,'” Heyman said, adding that Canada would not have announced it’s loosening border measures if the U.S. had been uncomfortable with it.
The U.S. has yet to resolve some key questions about the land border, Heyman said — such as whether it’s going to require proof of vaccination or COVID tests from people entering from the Canadian side.
“If we are, what test and what vaccines will qualify and what won’t?” Heyman asked. “I think that’s still unclear, what process the U.S. will impose.”
Mexico is also a factor, he said.
The two-border problem
“Canada only borders the United States but the U.S. borders (Canada) and Mexico. And when making decisions about its border, it’s highly complicated to say, ‘On one of our borders we’re doing x, and on the other border we’re doing y,'” Heyman said. “If at all possible, you’d like to coordinate your entire border policy in one.”
Mexico’s low vaccination rate compared to Canada, and the aggressive spread of the delta variant in the U.S at a time when only half of eligible Americans are double-vaccinated, may also play into Washington’s decision-making, said Heyman.
Ideally, he said, the U.S. government will make a decision on the border it won’t have to quickly reverse.
“I hope that they make the decision as soon as they possibly can, but I hope they make a decision that is lasting,” he said.
Maryscott Greenwood, Washington-based head of the Canadian-American Business Council, said part of the reason for the border remaining closed could be uncertainty about the vaccination status of those entering the country.
“I think part of the reason could be that the U.S. administration said that they’re not going to validate, verify whether or not someone’s vaccinated before they cross,” she said.
Greenwood’s group speaks regularly with U.S. government officials. She said she hopes the U.S. land border will reopen before Aug. 21 and the country doesn’t apply the same rules to both its northern and southern borders.
“Policy makers and business leaders and communities, not just along the border, are all very frustrated with the decision to stay closed for another month,” said Greenwood, adding some businesses might not survive.
“We’re hoping that the administration will take another look at this next week and find a way forward to reopen the border to fully vaccinated Canadians. I know the White House is paying very careful attention to all of these voices and is trying its best to balance the pressures that it is getting.”
Elizabeth Thompson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
England, Scotland exclude Canadians from new exception to quarantine measures – CTV News
Fully vaccinated Canadian travellers have been left out of plans to ease quarantine restrictions for entry to England and Scotland.
The United Kingdom countries announced Wednesday that travellers who were fully vaccinated in the United States or Europe will not have to quarantine upon arrival.
The changes are set to go in place at 4 a.m. on August 2.
The English and Scottish governments did not provide a reason why Canada was not included in the new quarantine exceptions.
The countries involved in the exceptions include European Union member states apart from France, members of the European free trade agreement and the microstate countries of Andorra, Monaco and Vatican City.
That means Canadians landing in England or Scotland must quarantine at home or in the place they are staying for 10 days and take a COVID-19 test after day eight.
The other two countries that make up the U.K. — Wales and Northern Ireland — did not change their rules, meaning Canadians also still must self-isolate upon arrival in these states.
The British High Commission in Canada said in a statement that the U.K. government is taking a “phased approach” to easing COVID-19 travel restrictions.
“Ensuring safe and open travel is a priority and we are engaging with international partners on certification to ensure travel for vaccinated people is unhindered in the future,” the commission said.
English Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said the new measures are meant to help family members visit each other, and to help businesses benefit from increased trade.
“We’ve taken great strides on our journey to reopen international travel and today is another important step forward,” Shapps said in a news release.
“We will of course continue to be guided by the latest scientific data but thanks to our world-leading domestic vaccination programme, we’re able to look to the future and start to rebuild key transatlantic routes with the U.S. while further cementing ties with our European neighbours.”
Michael Matheson, the Scottish transport secretary, said in a statement that the changes have been made possible due to the success of vaccination programs in Scotland, the EU and U.S.
“Fully vaccinated travellers will be able to travel to Scotland under this significant relaxation of international travel measures, providing a boost for the tourism sector and wider economy while ensuring public health is protected,” he said.
The countries said quarantine rules will still apply to arrivals who have been in France over the previous 10 days, with Scotland citing concerns about the prevalence of the Beta COVID-19 variant.
In Vancouver, Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland was asked on Wednesday about the countries’ decisions and she said she respects them.
“I have a great deal of respect for every country’s sovereign right to decide during COVID who can come into the country and on what terms.”
This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 28, 2021.
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