People have been living in the country that we now call Canada for thousands of years. Sometimes this fact is forgotten, so it is important to remember that Canadian history does not begin with the arrival of European explorers over 500 years ago.
For centuries before Europeans began to settle in North America, explorers who came here found thriving First Nations and Inuit societies with their own beliefs, ways of life and rich histories. It was these original inhabitants of this land who taught the early European visitors how to survive in this new and unfamiliar place.
When we look at a map of Canada today, we can see that many of the names of our provinces, territories and cities have Aboriginal origins. In fact, many people believe that the name "Canada" comes from the Huron word for "village", kanata. Toronto comes from the Mohawk word tkaronto, which means "where the trees stand in the water". Kamloops in British Columbia was known by the Shushwap as kahm-o-loops, the "meeting of waters". This proud tradition continues to this day. The name of Canada's newest territory, Nunavut, means "our land" in Inuktitut.
Today, over one million Aboriginal people continue to help make this country strong, building upon a long and proud history that began so many years ago.