Aboriginal Inhabitants

Aboriginals are the original inhabitants of Canada and then are branched into 3 major groups, Inuit, Metis, and First Nations.

First Nations
The First Nations are communities of Aboriginal people who recognize themselves as a distinct cultural groups and are neither Inuit or Metis. Each First nation has their own name for example: Musqueam nation.  First Nation groups are spread out through Canada, but most live in the provinces British Columbia and Ontario. Many First Nations refer themselves by their band or tribe identity like Haida. First Nations have many trade relationships with people around them and are people that valued their property strongly. They have strong bonds with their surroundings and knows how to survive in their environment. Everything from food, housing and clothing to art is from their natural resources. Even though the First Nations are grouped as one, each individual  group is very much different in culture and traditions. They will tell stories to one another reminding each other of the past, shared from generations to generations or to tell stories to teach each other. Oral traditions were very important to them because they did not have a written language. Oral traditions helped them communicate and record history, important events like the Eve of Contact held a great part of the First Nation’s lives.

Inuit
This group of Aboriginals have cultural similarities to the indigenous people inhabiting the Arctic regions of Canada. Inuit means “the people” in the Inuktitut language. The Inuit live in through the Canadian Arctic and the subarctic. They are commonly referred to as Eskimos. The Inuit language is grouped under Eskimo–Aleut languages. For more information about the Inuits,please go to the Arctic section.

Metis
The Metis are Aboriginal people of Canada who trace their ancestors to mixed European and First Nation heritage in early Canada. European heritage is commonly French or Scottish and while thought of as separate groups ,but is not true in the current Metis society. In the 18th and 19th centuries, during the height of the North American  fur trade,  many British and French-Canadian fur traders married First Nations and Inuit women. The children of theirs are the Metis. Metis were exposed to both the Catholic and indigenous belief systems, which created a new distinct group of Aboriginal people in North America. Métis understanding of both societies and customs helped bridge cultural gaps, resulting in better trading relationships. For more information about the history of the Metis, click here.


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