Canada First Nations:Celebrate 1 Million Mark
Barry Artiste, Now Public Contributor
Certainly a bittersweet celebration of a Proud Peoples whose population 500 years ago in North America was estimated to be 10 million aboriginals, with a possible Canadian population of 3 million First Nations.
European Settlement decimated the First Nations population through attrition, disease, (deadly diseases in which Europeans over a millenia were resistant to) and wars reducing the First Nations to the present day population of 1 million in Canada. One saving grace in a way were many European settlers and explorers intermarrying into First Nations communities and culture may have quelled the genocide somewhat, providing future First Nations generations with disease resistant antibodies in which Pure First Nations communities did not have a fighting chance.
Certainly if Canada can provide Quebec City close to a half billion dollars for their 400 year celebrations an equal amount should be given to First Nations to celebrate their Ancestry and longevity, that despite the present day odds based on the last 500 years will take a 1,000 years before First Nations reach their original pre 1500's (year) population of 3 million peoples. Let us hope it will be a Millenium party like no other.
My Final Thought
Canadians Embracing other Cultures and Customs, always seemingly in vogue amongst the Trendy Set should give thought and thanks to First Nations and perhaps embrace some First Nations Cultures, visiting First Nations Museums, visiting First Nations communities and businesses, attending PowWows and other First Nations Celebrations where all are welcome will go a long way in understanding First Nations peoples, (much to their demise) who in part if it were not for their First Nations forefathers/mothers, your european ancestors who came here may not have stood a chance of survival in the Wilds of Canada if First Nations communities had not first open their arms in assisting your forefathers to establish their own european communities here in the first place, thus you as a Canadian may not even have existed to read this story.
Something to think about.
Canada's aboriginal population has topped the million mark for the first time, according to the latest census, an increase of 45 per cent from a decade earlier.
Statistics Canada, which released new data Tuesday from the 2006 census on Canada's aboriginal population, counted 1,172,790 Indian, Métis and Inuit people.
Part of the reason for the increase is higher birth rates among aboriginals compared to the non-aboriginal population, according to Statistics Canada.
But it's also because more people than before are identifying themselves as aboriginal.
In the past, many more First Nations, Métis or Inuit people would refuse to participate in the government's enumeration surveys.
Fewer than 800,000 people called themselves aboriginal in the 1996 census.
As well, about 1.7 million Canadians reported having at least some aboriginal ancestry. Statistics Canada defines "aboriginal ancestry" as the ethnic or cultural origin of a person's ancestors, usually more distant than a grandparent.
The census also found that more than half the country's 1.2 million aboriginal people are living off reserve. More than half of those who identify as aboriginal — 54 per cent — now call urban areas home, up from 50 per cent in 1996.
Among other highlights:
* The reported Métis population — those of mixed Indian and European ancestry — has almost doubled since the 1996 census.
* About four per cent of Canada's total population is aboriginal. That's the second highest total in the world, second only to New Zealand, where the Maori make up 15 per cent of that country's population.
* Fifty-one per cent of the status Indian population lives off reserve, up from 50 per cent in 1996.
* Some of Canada's largest cities have significant aboriginal populations, including Winnipeg (10 per cent), Regina and Saskatoon (both nine per cent).
* The aboriginal population in Canada is considerably younger than the non-native citizenry, with a median age of 27 compared to 40. Almost half (48 per cent) of the aboriginal population is under the age of 25.
Additional information on First Nations people and Settlers