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CANADA AND ITS ABORIGINAL PEOPLE

                                        INUIT

Look closely at the map of Northern Canada. Yes it is Canada as you are aware, but without certain people and I refer of course to the Inuit, I think the land  in the North might have been taken away from us. To retain title, citizens have to live there. They lived there, as forbidding as it seems for us, and Canada retained title to the land. In the middle of the 19th century the area was not as valuable but with warming, and make no mistake there is warming,  that part of our nation could become very strategic for our nation. An Inuit person is known as an Inuk. The Inuit homeland is known as Inuit Nunangat. This refers to the land, water and ice contained in the Arctic region. In 2011  using data from the National Household Survey, Statistics of Canada estimated that nearly 60,000 people, in Canada , about 4.2% of the Aboriginal population identified as Inuit. They live in Northern Territories and Yukon, Northern Quebec, and the Northern coast of Labrador. There are eight main ethnic groups and five main dialects. Amongst Aboriginal people the Inuit have the highest proportion reporting an ability to speak their original language 63.7%. Despite gains made in self-government and fields such as business, teaching, transportation ,medicine and broadcasting, they live in some of the most crowded conditions in Canada. They lack good access to health care and Inuit youth are greater candidates for suicide.

Indigenous people is a collective name for the original peoples of North America and their descendants, but Aboriginal peoples is also used. The Canadian constitution recognizes three groups of  Aboriginals peoples: Indians more commonly referred to as First Nations, Inuit or Metis. These are three distinct peoples with unique histories, languages, cultural practices and spiritual beliefs. More than 1.67 million people in Canada identify as Aboriginal persons according to a census in 2016 . They are the fastest growing population in Canada and also the youngest. They grew by 42.5% between 2006 and 2016 and 44% of their population were under the age of 25 in 2016

                                             METIS

Metis are people of mixed European and Indigenous ancestry, and one of the three recognized Aboriginal peoples in Canada . The term Metis use is contentious. There are two groups who represent the Metis. The Metis National Council (MNC). The MNC defines the Metis homeland as the three Prairie province and parts of Ontario, the Northwest Territories and the northern U.S.A. and feels the Metis are distinct from other Aboriginal people. The Congress of Aboriginal Peoples (CAP) has been critical of the definition of Metis as stated by MNC because they state it excludes many people of legitimate claims to Metis identity. However the Federal government and the provinces accept the MNC position. In 2016 the Supreme Court of Canada ruled that the Canadian government has jurisdiction of the Metis people.

                                   FIRST NATIONS

The First Nations are the predominate indigenous peoples in Canada south of the Arctic Circle. There are 634 recognized First Nation governments or bands with nearly half in the provinces of Ontario and British Colombia. Under the Employment Equity Act, First nations are a designated group along with women, visible minorities, and people with mental or physical disabilities. They have cultures spanning thousands of years. European accounts by trappers, traders, explorers and missionaries attest to this.  The First nations, Metis and Inuit were less combative compared to the violence between colonists and native people in the U.S. Combined with economic development and a non-combative nature the First Nations in Canada have preserved their culture, maintained, their identity, and have had a great influence on Canadian national culture. In the northwest were the Athapaskan-speaking people, Slavey, Ticho, Tuchone-speaking peoples and Tlingit. Along the pacific coast were the Haida, Salish, Kwakiutl, Nuu-chah-nulth, Nisga`a and Gitxsan. In the Plains were the Blackfoot, Kainai, Sarcee and Northern Peigan. In the Northern Woodlands were the Cree and Chipewyan. Around the Great Lakes were the Anishinaabe, Algonquin, Iroquois and Wyandot. Along the Atlantic coast were the Beothuk, Maliseet, Innu, Abenaki and Micmac. These peoples fought with each other, killed each other, conquered each other, intermarried and if the continent had not been taken over by European settlers would over the centuries, in my opinion, formed nations as happened in Europe. They are Canadian citizens who fought for Canada in both world wars, fought against the Americans in the war of 1812 and their numbers diminished drastically with European contact due to infectious diseases such as influenza measles and small-pox for which they had not developed immunity. They also fought for and against the French and the British when they were fighting to control Canada. Their living conditions  are not great but they have dramatically increased in numbers and are now the fastest growing Canadians . The policies of the recent Canadian governments have been to accept them as they are and not to take their children away and change their culture as was done with the Parochial schools.

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Name of author

Name: Murray Rubin

Short Bio: I was born in Toronto in 1931 to a wonderful mother who divorced shortly before my birth. I owe a great deal of my success to her. I am Jewish but not at all religious, yet my culture plays an important part of my personality. I attended Harbord Collegiate and U. of T. Faculty of Pharmacy. A unique mail-order pharmacy was the first of my endeavours in the profession, followed by many stores throughout Ontario. I have a loving wife, 3 children and grand-children and I am now retired from pharmacy. But what do I write about? Everything! My topics are funny, serious, whimsical, timely, outrageous, inspiring, and inventive. I promise that if you take the time to read any one of these topics – you will not be sorry.

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