Aboriginal Peoples and Communities

"Aboriginal peoples" is a collective name for the original peoples of North America and their descendants. The Canadian constitution recognizes three groups of Aboriginal people: Indians (commonly referred to as First Nations), Métis and Inuit. These are three distinct peoples with unique histories, languages, cultural practices and spiritual beliefs. About 1.4 million people in Canada identify themselves as an Aboriginal person, according to the 2011 National Household Survey.

Aboriginal communities are located in urban, rural and remote locations across Canada. They include:

  • First Nations or Indian Bands, generally located on lands called reserves;
  • Inuit communities located in Nunavut, NWT, Northern Quebec (Nunavik) and Labrador;
  • Métis communities; and
  • communities of Aboriginal people (including Métis, non-status Indians, Inuit and First Nation individuals) in cities or towns which are not part of reserves or traditional territories (for example, the Aboriginal community in Winnipeg).

Role of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada (AANDC)

AANDC's role is to support Aboriginal people (First Nations, Inuit and Métis) and Northerners in their efforts to:

  • improve social well-being and economic prosperity;
  • develop healthier, more sustainable communities; and
  • participate more fully in Canada's political, social and economic development – for the benefit of all Canadians.

AANDC is one of the federal government departments responsible for meeting the Government of Canada's obligations and commitments to First Nations, Inuit and Métis. Through these responsibilities, AANDC helps to maintain and strengthen the relationship between the Government of Canada and Aboriginal people.

What Information is Available?

Find information on Aboriginal people and communities, Aboriginal governance and international activities involving Canada's Aboriginal and Northern peoples.

Royal Commission Report on Aboriginal Peoples

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