The 2006 Aboriginal Children’s Survey examined the prevalence of parent, grandparent, relative and non-relative involvement in raising an Aboriginal child under 6 years of age. The vast majority of mothers—First Nations (93%), Métis (94%) and Inuit (92%)—were involved in raising their children, as were many First Nations (72%), Métis (78%) and Inuit (77%) fathers. The survey also found that 44% of First Nations children under age 6 years were raised in part by their grandparents, as were 41% of Métis children and 46% of Inuit children. Other relatives, which includes siblings and extended family, were involved to a lesser degree among First Nations (28%) and Metis (21%) families, but played a more prominent role in raising young children in Inuit families (47%). Community-based, non-relative caregivers played a role in childrearing for 17% of First Nations and Metis children, and for 19% of Inuit children under the age of 6 years.
“Children hold a special place in Aboriginal cultures. According to tradition, they are gifts from the spirit world… They carry within them the gifts that manifest themselves as they become teachers, mothers, hunters, councillors, artisans and visionaries. They renew the strength of the family, clan and village and make the elders young again with their joyful presence.”
Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples, 1996