2.1.1 Indigenous People of Canada: First Nations

“First Nations” are one of three distinct groups recognized as “Aboriginal” in the Constitution Act of 1982. The other two “Aboriginal” groups are the Métis and the Inuit.1

There are 634 First Nation communities (also known as reserves) in Canada, that are managed by First Nation governments. The language and culture of First Nations communities caries across Canada with over 50 distinct nations and language groups spread from coast to coast.1

The relationship between the Crown and First Nations is grounded in First Nations’ inherent and Indigenous rights and title, Treaties and negotiated agreements with a view toward peaceful coexistence, mutual respect, recognition and the equitable sharing of lands and resources.1

Many treaties were entered into between First Nations and the British Crown (the Government of Canada after Confederation) between 1701 and 1923.1

Treaty promises and agreements included non-interference, protection of hunting and fishing rights, sharing of lands and resources, health and education benefits, economic tools and benefits for the duration of the Treaty relationship.1

Click here to view a map of First Nations communities throughout Canada.

1Assembly of First Nations Website – accessed March 3, 2017.