On January 30, Under the Black Flag reported on an interview with an Islamic State fighter who has more than one name, something often seen in that part of the world. Nurat Nazarov, or Abu Kholidi Kulobi, told the radio station that he is fighting to spread Islamic law around the world. The entire world population, he asserted, will be subjugated to the caliphate the Islamic Republic claims to have reestablished.
He then plunged into a digression about American Indians for no particular reason that was apparent from the blog post. Without being asked anything about Indians, he delivered himself of this:
Even the [Native Americans] will have to live under Shari’a. We will take them tubeteikas [Central Asian caps, worn in Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, and Kazakhstan], we will build mosques for them, and we will live with them according to the laws of Allah.
Indians have gotten an increasing amount of attention from Islam of late. Just this last November, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan of Turkey was ridiculed in these pages and elsewhere for claiming the Taino people in the Caribbean discovered a Muslim before they discovered Columbus.
Faced with ridicule at home and abroad, Erdoğan doubled down on his revision of history.
A quick check of the Internet for evidence that Islam is following Christianity into Indian country turned up several notices of a man who introduces himself as follows:
I am a Cherokee Blackfoot American Indian who is Muslim. I am known as Eagle Sun Walker. I serve as a Pipe Carrier Warrior for the Northeastern Band of Cherokee Indians in New York City.
We’ve made the decision not to call him by his other name, but that name is neither Cherokee nor Siksika. “Pipe Carrier Warrior” is not an office in the Cherokee Nation nor did that office exist before the Cherokee Constitution declared a republic.
The Pipe Carrier Warrior claims that “Tallahassee” is an “Islamic” word that means, “Allah will deliver you.” The ignorant people who live there believe “Islamic” is not a language and “Tallahassee” comes from a Creek dialect.
It’s either an honor or an embarrassment that American Indians would be suddenly getting so much attention from Islam, but the attention Mr. Nazarov or Kulobi describes is a bit different from just rewriting history. It sounds like aggression, conversation by force.
Somebody should tell him that American Indians have been there, had that done to them, and have forced conversion t-shirt collections second to none in the world. It’s not likely that Indians would go quietly into a situation where RFE/RL are forced to broadcast in the indigenous languages of the Americas.
Read more at
An Islamic community near the North Pole has inaugurated a new mosque in Iqaluit, in the region of Nunavut, Canada, becoming the second mosque built at the North Pole after a Saudi journalist arranged for the construction of a mosque in the Canadian town of Inuvik in 2010.
The new mosque, inaugurated on Friday, will reportedly serve as a place of prayer and a community center in Iqaluit, where about 100 Muslims reside, as well as offering a place to learn about Islam. There are also plans to operate a food bank at the site.
Native Inuit Eskimo Muslim From Canada
As a young Inuit woman, Maatalii Okalik-Syed is exceptional in many ways.From a very early age, the 21-year-old native of Pangnirtung, Nunavut committed herself to helping others. She’s worked with several grassroots Aboriginal and Inuit organizations, all the way up to the Government of Nunavut. And now she’s set to graduate from Carleton University with a Human Rights and Political Science degree, minoring in Aboriginal Studies.But an impressive resume is not the only thing that sets Maatalii apart. Maatalii is a Muslim, one of a small but growing number of Indigenous women in Canada converting to a religion most associate with the Middle East.It’s not known exactly how many have converted, but some Indigenous Muslims report seeing more and more people like them praying at Ottawa-Gatineau mosques. People like Linda Soliman. A Cree woman originally from Fort Albany in northern Ontario, she credits Islam with strengthening her parenting skills and improving the relationship with her parents.
With that, there has been a flow of Muslims into Nunavut. Many of them find jobs in mining and extraction and absorb the high costs of living with high salaries. However, they face a number of challenges. Beyond the lack of infrastructure and the costs of living, the Muslim community remains small, and hasn’t got a mosque. The town of Inuvik in the neighbouring Northwest Territories got its first mosque in 2010. Muslims in Iqaluit are expecting their first mosque to open later this year.
Muslims in Nunavut have found that they have a lot in common with Inuit (Eskimo) people
The Zubaidah Tallab Foundation, based in the province of Manitoba, is building the new mosque in Iqaluit. The foundation previously helped to build the first mosque in Inuvik, also in the Northwest Territories. In an interview, the foundation’s manager Dr Hussain Guisti told me that although there are currently fewer than 100 Muslims in Iqaluit, the foundation foresees an increase in the next few years due to professional opportunities. According to him, some Muslims have been deterred from moving up north because of the lack of mosques. “Mosques are the first thing Muslims ask about,” he said. “Mosques are epicentres for Muslims.”
Before speaking to Dr Hussain, I was concerned about integration efforts in Nunavut. Opening a mosque in the area is not like it would be in any other part of Canada, because the population is primarily indigenous and most people speak Inuit languages rather than English or French. Similarly, in my own experience, some immigrants to Canada – including Muslims – tend to be rather insensitive to indigenous issues. For some, it is difficult to understand the effects of colonisation and the impact that Canadian immigration policies have had on indigenous communities. All in all, very few immigrants understand that much of Canada is still considered colonial land or recognise that they are living on “stolen” land or in unceded territories.
However, Dr Hussain says that Muslims in Nunavut have found that they have a lot in common with Inuit people. Their respect for elders, love for family and welcoming attitude have made the Muslim community feel at home. Thus, he sees a future in establishing a strong and lasting relationship with Inuit communities in Nunavut.
No to DAPL (Dakota Access Pipeline)
No to DAPL (Dakota Access Pipeline)
In the United States, Native Americans (also known as American Indians, Amerindians, Indigenous Americans or simply Indians; see §Terminology differences) are people descended from the Pre-Columbian indigenous population of the land within the country’s modern boundaries. These peoples were composed of numerous distinct tribes, bands, and ethnic groups, and many of these groups survive intact today as partially sovereign nations.
|American Indian and Alaska Native (2010 Census Bureau)
One race: 2,932,248 are registered
In combination with one or more of the other races listed: 2,288,331
|Regions with significant populations|
|Predominantly in the Western United States; small but significant communities also exist in the Eastern United States|
|Native American languages (including Navajo, Central Alaskan Yup’ik, Dakota, Western Apache, Keres, Cherokee, Zuni, Ojibwe, O’odham), English, Spanish, French, Russian|
Since the end of the 15th century, the migration of Europeans to the Americas has led to centuries of population, cultural, and agricultural transfer and adjustment between Old and New World societies, a process known as the Columbian exchange. Most Native American groups had historically preserved their histories by oral traditions and artwork, which has resulted in the first written sources on the conflict being authored by Europeans.
At the time of first contact, the indigenous cultures were quite different from those of the proto-industrial and mostly Christian immigrants. Some of the Northeastern and Southwestern cultures in particular were matrilineal and operated on a more collective basis than the Europeans were familiar with. The majority of Indigenous American tribes maintained their hunting grounds and agricultural lands for use of the entire tribe. Europeans at that time had patriarchal cultures and had developed concepts of individual property rights with respect to land that were extremely different. The differences in cultures between the established Native Americans and immigrant Europeans, as well as shifting alliances among different nations in times of war, caused extensive political tension, ethnic violence, and social disruption. Even before the European settlement of what is now the United States, Native Americans suffered high fatalities from contact with European diseases spread throughout the Americas by the Spanish to which they had yet not acquired immunity. Smallpox epidemics are thought to have caused the greatest loss of life for indigenous populations, although estimates of the pre-Columbian population of what today constitutes the U.S. vary significantly, from one million to eighteen million.
After the thirteen colonies revolted against Great Britain and established the United States, President George Washington and Henry Knox conceived of the idea of “civilizing” Native Americans in preparation for assimilation as U.S. citizens. Assimilation (whether voluntary, as with the Choctaw, or forced) became a consistent policy through American administrations. During the 19th century, the ideology of manifest destiny became integral to the American nationalist movement. Expansion of European-American populations to the west after the American Revolution resulted in increasing pressure on Native American lands, warfare between the groups, and rising tensions. In 1830, the U.S. Congress passed the Indian Removal Act, authorizing the government to relocate Native Americans from their homelands within established states to lands west of the Mississippi River, accommodating European-American expansion. This resulted in the ethnic cleansing of many tribes, with the brutal, forced marches coming to be known as The Trail of Tears.
As American expansion reached into the West, settler and miner migrants came into increasing conflict with the Great Basin, Great Plains, and other Western tribes. These were complex nomadic cultures based on (introduced) horse culture and seasonal bison hunting. They carried out resistance against United States incursion in the decades after the completion of the Civil War and the Transcontinental Railroad in a series of Indian Wars, which were frequent up until the 1890s but continued into the 20th century. Over time, the United States forced a series of treaties and land cessions by the tribes and established reservations for them in many western states. U.S. agents encouraged Native Americans to adopt European-style farming and similar pursuits, but European-American agricultural technology of the time was inadequate for often dry reservation lands, leading to mass starvation. In 1924, Native Americans who were not already U.S. citizens were granted citizenship by Congress.
2010 Census Data
Do you know which American Indian tribes are near you? The Navajo tribe is the most populous, with 308,013 people identifying with the group. The Cherokee tribe is the second most common, with 285,476 Americans identifying with that group.
Contemporary Native Americans have a unique relationship with the United States because they may be members of nations, tribes, or bands with sovereignty and treaty rights. Cultural activism since the late 1960s has increased political participation and led to an expansion of efforts to teach and preserve indigenous languages for younger generations and to establish a greater cultural infrastructure: Native Americans have founded independent newspapers and online media, recently including First Nations Experience, the first Native American television channel; established Native American studies programs, tribal schools and universities, and museums and language programs; and have increasingly been published as authors.
The terms used to refer to Native Americans have at times been controversial. The ways Native Americans refer to themselves vary by region and generation, with many older Native Americans self-identifying as “Indians” or “American Indians”, while younger Native Americans often identify as “Indigenous” or “Aboriginal”. The term “Native American” has been adopted by major newspapers and some academic groups, but has not traditionally included Native Hawaiians or certain Alaskan Natives, such as Aleut, Yup’ik, or Inuit peoples. By comparison, the indigenous peoples of Canada are generally known as First Nations.
Population and distribution
The 2010 census permitted respondents to self-identify as being of one or more races. Self-identification dates from the census of 1960; prior to that the race of the respondent was determined by opinion of the census taker. The option to select more than one race was introduced in 2000. If American Indian or Alaska Native was selected, the form requested the individual provide the name of the “enrolled or principal tribe”. The 2010 Census showed that the U.S. population on April 1, 2010, was 308.7 million.
Out of the total U.S. population, 2.9 million people, or 0.9 percent, reported American Indian or Alaska Native alone. In addition, 2.3 million people, or another 0.7 percent, reported American Indian or Alaska Native in combination with one or more other races. Together, these two groups totaled 5.2 million people. Thus, 1.7 percent of all people in the United States identified as American Indian or Alaska Native, either alone or in combination with one or more other races.
The definition of American Indian or Alaska Native used in the 2010 census:
According to Office of Management and Budget, “American Indian or Alaska Native” refers to a person having origins in any of the original peoples of North and South America (including Central America) and who maintains tribal affiliation or community attachment.
78% of Native Americans live outside a reservation. Full-blood individuals are more likely to live on a reservation than mixed-blood individuals. The Navajo, with 286,000 full-blood individuals, is the largest tribe if only full-blood individuals are counted; the Navajo are the tribe with the highest proportion of full-blood individuals, 86.3%. The Cherokee have a different history; it is the largest tribe with 819,000 individuals, and it has 284,000 full-blood individuals.
As of 2012, 70% of American Indians live in urban areas, up from 45% in 1970 and 8% in 1940. Urban areas with significant Native American populations include Minneapolis, Denver, Phoenix, Tucson, Chicago, Oklahoma City, Houston, New York City, Los Angeles, and Rapid City. Many live in poverty. Racism, unemployment, drugs and gangs are common problems which Indian social service organizations such as the Little Earth housing complex in Minneapolis attempt to address.
Distribution by U.S. state
According to 2003 United States Census Bureau estimates, a little over one third of the 2,786,652 Native Americans in the United States live in three states: California at 413,382, Arizona at 294,137 and Oklahoma at 279,559.
In 2010, the U.S. Census Bureau estimated that about 0.8% of the U.S. population was of American Indian or Alaska Native descent. This population is unevenly distributed across the country. Below, all fifty states, as well as the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, are listed by the proportion of residents citing American Indian or Alaska Native ancestry, based on the 2010 U.S. Census.
- Alaska – 14.8% 104,871
- New Mexico – 9.4% 193,222
- South Dakota – 8.8% 71,817
- Oklahoma – 8.6% 321,687
- Montana – 6.3% 62,555
- North Dakota – 5.4% 36,591
- Arizona – 4.6% 296,529
- Wyoming – 2.4% 13,336
- Washington – 1.5% 103,869
- Oregon – 1.4% 53,203
- Idaho – 1.4% 21,441
- North Carolina – 1.3% 122,110
- Utah – 1.2% 32,927
- Nevada – 1.2% 32,062
- Nebraska – 1.2% 18,427
- Minnesota – 1.1% 60,916
- Colorado – 1.1% 56,010
- California – 1.0% 362,801
- Wisconsin – 1.0% 54,526
- Kansas – 1.0% 28,150
- Arkansas – 0.8% 22,248
- Texas – 0.7% 170,972
- Louisiana – 0.7% 30,579
- New York – 0.6% 106,906
- Michigan – 0.6% 62,007
- Alabama – 0.6% 28,218
- Maine – 0.6% 8,568
- Rhode Island – 0.6% 6,058
- Missouri – 0.5% 27,376
- Puerto Rico – 0.5% 19,839
- Mississippi – 0.5% 15,030
- Delaware – 0.5% 4,181
- Florida – 0.4% 71,458
- Virginia – 0.4% 29,225
- Maryland – 0.4% 20,420
- South Carolina – 0.4% 19,524
- Iowa – 0.4% 11,084
- Vermont – 0.4% 2,207
- Illinois – 0.3% 43,963
- Georgia – 0.3% 32,151
- New Jersey – 0.3% 29,026
- Tennessee – 0.3% 19,994
- Massachusetts – 0.3% 18,850
- Indiana – 0.3% 18,462
- Connecticut – 0.3% 11,256
- Hawaii – 0.3% 4,164
- District of Columbia – 0.3% 2,079
- Pennsylvania – 0.2% 26,843
- Ohio – 0.2% 25,292
- Kentucky – 0.2% 10,120
- West Virginia – 0.2% 3,787
- New Hampshire – 0.2% 3,150
In 2006, the U.S. Census Bureau estimated that about less than 1.0% of the U.S. population was of Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander descent. This population is unevenly distributed across twenty-six states. Below, are the twenty-six states that had at least 0.1%. They are listed by the proportion of residents citing Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander ancestry, based on 2006 estimates:
- Hawaii – 8.7
- Utah – 0.7
- Alaska – 0.6
- California – 0.4
- Nevada – 0.4
- Washington – 0.4
- Arizona – 0.2
- Oregon – 0.2
- Alabama – 0.1
- Arkansas – 0.1
- Colorado – 0.1
- Florida – 0.1
- Idaho – 0.1
- Kentucky – 0.1
- Maryland – 0.1
- Massachusetts – 0.1
- Missouri – 0.1
- Montana – 0.1
- New Mexico – 0.1
- North Carolina – 0.1
- Oklahoma – 0.1
- South Carolina – 0.1
- Texas – 0.1
- Virginia – 0.1
- West Virginia – 0.1
- Wyoming – 0.1
Population by tribal grouping
Below are numbers for U.S. citizens self-identifying to selected tribal grouping, according to the 2000 U.S. census.
|Tribal grouping||American Indian and Alaska Native alone||American Indian and Alaska Native in combination with one or more races||American Indian and Alaska Native tribal grouping alone or in any combination|
|One tribal grouping reported||More than one tribal grouping reported||One tribal grouping reported||More than one tribal grouping reported|
|Latin American Indian||104,354||1,850||73,042||1,694||180,940|
|Puget Sound Salish||11,034||226||3,212||159||14,631|
|Other specified American Indian tribes||240,521||9,468||100,346||7,323||357,658|
|American Indian tribe, not specified||109,644||57||86,173||28||195,902|
|Other specified Alaska Native tribes||2,552||435||841||145||3,973|
|Alaska Native tribe, not specified||6,161||370||2,053||118||8,702|
|American Indian or Alaska Native tribes, not specified||511,960||(X)||544,497||(X)||1,056,457|
Aboriginal peoples in Canada, (also known as Indigenous peoples in Canada) are the indigenous peoples within the boundaries of present-day Canada. They comprise the First Nations, Inuit and Métis. Although “Indian” is a term still commonly used in legal documents, the descriptors “Indian” and “Eskimo” have somewhat fallen into disuse in Canada and are pejorative.
Old Crow Flats and Bluefish Caves are some of the earliest known sites of human habitation in Canada. The Paleo-Indian Clovis, Plano and Pre-Dorset cultures pre-date current indigenous peoples of the Americas. Projectile point tools, spears, pottery, bangles, chisels and scrapers mark archaeological sites, thus distinguishing cultural periods, traditions and lithic reduction styles.
|Indigenous languages, Canadian English and Canadian French|
|Christianity (mainly Roman Catholicism and Anglican), Traditional Indigenous beliefs|
|Related ethnic groups|
|Native Americans in the United States, Greenlandic Inuit, Indigenous peoples of the Americas|
The characteristics of Canadian Aboriginal culture included permanent settlements, agriculture, civic and ceremonial architecture, complex societal hierarchies and trading networks. The Métis culture of mixed blood originated in the mid-17th century when First Nation and Inuit people married Europeans. The Inuit had more limited interaction with European settlers during that early period. Various laws, treaties, and legislation have been enacted between European immigrants and First Nations across Canada. Aboriginal Right to Self-Government provides opportunity to manage historical, cultural, political, health care and economic control aspects within first people’s communities.
As of the 2011 census, Aboriginal peoples in Canada totaled 1,400,685 people, or 4.3% of the national population, spread over 600 recognized First Nations governments or bands with distinctive cultures, languages, art, and music. National Aboriginal Day recognizes the cultures and contributions of Aboriginal peoples to the history of Canada. First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples of all backgrounds have become prominent figures and have served as role models in the Aboriginal community and help to shape the Canadian cultural identity.
First Nations peoples had settled and established trade routes across what is now Canada by 500 BCE–1,000 CE. Communities developed each with its own culture, customs, and character. In the northwest were the Athapaskan, Slavey, Dogrib, Tutchone, and Tlingit. Along the Pacific coast were the Tsimshian; Haida; Salish; Kwakiutl; Heiltsuk; Nootka; Nisga’a; Senakw and Gitxsan. In the plains were the Blackfoot; Káínawa; Sarcee and Peigan. In the northern woodlands were the Cree and Chipewyan. Around the Great Lakes were the Anishinaabe; Algonquin; Iroquois and Huron. Along the Atlantic coast were the Beothuk, Maliseet, Innu, Abenaki and Mi’kmaq.
Many Aboriginal civilizations established characteristics and hallmarks that included permanent urban settlements or cities, agriculture, civic and monumental architecture, and complex societal hierarchies. These cultures had evolved and changed by the time of the first permanent European arrivals (c. late 15th–early 16th centuries), and have been brought forward through archaeological investigations.
There are indications of contact made before Christopher Columbus between the first peoples and those from other continents. Aboriginal people in Canada interacted with Europeans around 1000 CE, but prolonged contact came after Europeans established permanent settlements in the 17th and 18th centuries. In Columbus’ time there was speculation that other Europeans had made the trip in ancient or contemporary times; Gonzalo Fernández de Oviedo y Valdés records this in his General y natural historia de las Indias of 1526, which includes biographical information on Columbus. European written accounts generally recorded friendliness of the First Nations, who profited in trade with Europeans. Such trade generally strengthened the more organized political entities such as the Iroquois Confederation. Throughout the 16th century, European fleets made almost annual visits to the eastern shores of Canada to cultivate the fishing opportunities. A sideline industry emerged in the un-organized traffic of furs overseen by the Indian Department.
Prominent First Nations people include Joe Capilano, who met with King of the United Kingdom, Edward VII, to speak of the need to settle land claims and Ovide Mercredi, a leader at both the Meech Lake Accord constitutional reform discussions and Oka Crisis.
The Inuit are the descendants of what anthropologists call the Thule culture, which emerged from western Alaska around 1,000 CE and spread eastward across the Arctic, displacing the Dorset culture (in Inuktitut, the Tuniit). Inuit historically referred to the Tuniit as “giants”, or “dwarfs”, who were taller and stronger than the Inuit. Researchers hypothesize that the Dorset culture lacked dogs, larger weapons and other technologies used by the expanding Inuit society. By 1300, the Inuit had settled in west Greenland, and finally moved into east Greenland over the following century. The Inuit had trade routes with more southern cultures. Boundary disputes were common and led to aggressive actions.
Warfare was common among Inuit groups with sufficient population density. Inuit, such as the Nunatamiut (Uummarmiut) who inhabited the Mackenzie River delta area, often engaged in common warfare. The Central Arctic Inuit lacked the population density to engage in warfare. In the 13th century, the Thule culture began arriving in Greenland from what is now Canada. Norse accounts are scant. Norse-made items from Inuit campsites in Greenland were obtained by either trade or plunder. One account, Ívar Bárðarson, speaks of “small people” with whom the Norsemen fought. 14th-century accounts that a western settlement, one of the two Norse settlements, was taken over by the Skræling.
After the disappearance of the Norse colonies in Greenland, the Inuit had no contact with Europeans for at least a century. By the mid-16th century, Basque fishers were already working the Labrador coast and had established whaling stations on land, such as been excavated at Red Bay. The Inuit appear not to have interfered with their operations, but they did raid the stations in winter for tools, and particularly worked iron, which they adapted to native needs.
Notable among the Inuit are Abraham Ulrikab and family who became a zoo exhibit in Hamburg, Germany, and Tanya Tagaq, a traditional throat singer. Abe Okpik was instrumental in helping Inuit obtain surnames rather than disc numbers and Kiviaq (David Ward) won the legal right to use his single-word Inuktituk name.
The Métis are people descended from marriages between Europeans (mainly French) and Cree, Ojibway, Algonquin, Saulteaux, Menominee, Mi’kmaq, Maliseet, and other First Nations. Their history dates to the mid-17th century. When Europeans first arrived to Canada they relied on Aboriginal peoples for fur trading skills and survival. To ensure alliances, relationships between European fur traders and Aboriginal women were often consolidated through marriage. The Métis homeland consists of the Canadian provinces of British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Quebec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and Ontario, as well as the Northwest Territories (NWT).
Amongst notable Métis people are television actor Tom Jackson, Commissioner of the Northwest Territories Tony Whitford, and Louis Riel who led two resistance movements: the Red River Rebellion of 1869–1870 and the North-West Rebellion of 1885, which ended in his trial.
The languages inherently Métis are either Métis French or a mixed language called Michif. Michif, Mechif or Métchif is a phonetic spelling of Métif, a variant of Métis. The Métis today predominantly speak English, with French a strong second language, as well as numerous Aboriginal tongues. A 19th-century community of the Métis people, the Anglo-Métis, were referred to as Countryborn. They were children of Rupert’s Land fur trade typically of Orcadian, Scottish, or English paternal descent and Aboriginal maternal descent. Their first languages would have been Aboriginal (Cree, Saulteaux, Assiniboine, etc.) and English. Their fathers spoke Gaelic, thus leading to the development of an English dialect referred to as “Bungee“.
S.35 of the Constitution Act, 1982 mentions the Métis yet there has long been debate over legally defining the term Métis, but on September 23, 2003, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled that Métis are a distinct people with significant rights (Powley ruling).
Unlike First Nations people and Inuit, there has been no distinction between status and non-status, and the Métis, their heritage and Aboriginal ancestry have often been absorbed and assimilated into their surrounding populations.
The Métis in Canada (/meɪˈtiː/; Canadian French: [meˈt͡sɪs]; Standard French: [meˈtis]; Michif: [mɪˈtʃɪf]) are a group of peoples in Canada who trace their descent to First Nations peoples and European settlers. They represent the majority of those identifying as Métis, though smaller communities also exist in the United States. They are recognized as one of Canada’s aboriginal peoples under the Constitution Act of 1982, along with First Nations and Inuit peoples. They number over 451,795 as of 2011.
1.4% of the Canadian population)
|Regions with significant populations|
While the Métis initially developed as the mixed-race descendants of early unions between First Nations people and colonial-era European settlers (usually indigenous women and settler men), within generations (particularly in central and western Canada, but also in the Eastern parts of Canada), a distinct Métis culture developed. The early mothers were usually Mi’kmaq, Algonquin, Saulteaux, Cree, Ojibwe, Menominee, or Maliseet, or of mixed descent from these peoples. Their unions with European men were often of the type known as Marriage à la façon du pays.
After New France was ceded to Great Britain’s control, there was an important distinction between French Métis born of francophone voyageur fathers, and the Anglo-Métis (known as “countryborn”‘) descended from English or Scottish fathers. Today these two cultures have essentially coalesced into one Métis tradition, which does not preclude a range of other Métis cultural expressions across Canada. Such mixed-race people were historically referred to by other terms, many of which are now considered to be offensive, such as Mixed-bloods, Half-breeds, Bois-Brûlés, Bungi, Black Scots, and Jackatars. However, the contemporary Métis are a specific indigenous people and culture; the term does not apply to every person of “mixed” heritage or ancestry.
While people of Métis culture or heritage are found across Canada, in the more restrictive sense, the traditional Métis “homeland” includes much of the Canadian Prairies centering on southern and central parts of Manitoba. Closely related are the Métis in the United States, primarily those in border areas like northern Michigan, the Red River Valley, and eastern Montana. These were areas in which there was considerable Aboriginal and European mixing due to the 19th-century fur trade
Inuit (pronounced /ˈɪnu.ɪt/ or /ˈɪnju.ɪt/; Inuktitut: ᐃᓄᐃᑦ, “the people”) are a group of culturally similar indigenous peoples inhabiting the Arctic regions of Greenland, Canada and Alaska. Inuit is a plural noun; the singular is Inuk. The Inuit languages are part of the Eskimo-Aleut family. Inuit Sign Language is a critically endangered language isolate spoken in Nunavut.
Traditional qamutik (sled), Cape Dorset, Nunavut
|Regions with significant populations|
United States: 16,581
Denmark (mainland): 15,815
|Greenlandic, Inuktitut, and other Inuit languages, Danish, English, French, Inuiuuk and various others|
In the United States and Canada, the term “Eskimo” was commonly used to describe the Inuit and Alaska’s Yupik and Iñupiat peoples. However, “Inuit” is not accepted as a term for the Yupik, and “Eskimo” is the only term that includes Yupik, Iñupiat and Inuit. However, aboriginal peoples in Canada and Greenlandic Inuit view “Eskimo” as pejorative, and “Inuit” is more commonly used in self-reference for these groups. In Canada, sections 25 and 35 of the Constitution Act of 1982 classified the “Inuit” as a distinctive group of Aboriginal Canadians who are not included under either the First Nations or the Métis.
The Inuit live throughout most of Northern Canada in the territory of Nunavut, Nunavik in the northern third of Quebec, Nunatsiavut and NunatuKavut in Labrador, and in various parts of the Northwest Territories, particularly around the Arctic Ocean. These areas are known in Inuktitut as the “Inuit Nunangat”.
In the United States, the Iñupiat live primarily on the Alaska North Slope and on Little Diomede Island. The Greenlandic Inuit are descendants of indigenous migrations from Canada. In the 21st century they are citizens of Denmark, although not of the European Union.
The First Nations (French: Premières Nations) are the predominant Aboriginal peoples of Canada south of the Arctic. Those in the Arctic area are distinct and known as Inuit. The Métis, another distinct ethnicity, developed after European contact and relations primarily between First Nations people and Europeans. There are currently 634 recognized First Nations governments or bands spread across Canada, roughly half of which are in the provinces of Ontario and British Columbia.
Under the Employment Equity Act, First Nations are a “designated group”, along with women, visible minorities, and people with physical or mental disabilities. First Nations are not defined as a visible minority under the Act or by the criteria of Statistics Canada.
Within Canada, “First Nations” (most often used in the plural) has come into general use—replacing the deprecated term “Indians”—for the indigenous peoples of the Americas. Individuals using the term outside Canada include supporters of the Cascadian independence movement, as well as U.S. tribes within the Pacific Northwest. The singular, commonly used on culturally politicized reserves, is the term First Nations person (when gender-specific, First Nations man or First Nations woman). A more recent trend is for members of various nations to refer to themselves by their tribal or national identity only, e.g., “I’m Haida“, or “We’re Kwantlens“, in recognition of the distinctiveness of First Nations ethnicities.
North American indigenous peoples have cultures spanning thousands of years. Some of their oral traditions accurately describe historical events, such as the Cascadia earthquake of 1700 and the 18th century Tseax Cone eruption. Written records began with the arrival of European explorers and colonists during the Age of Discovery, beginning in the late 15th century. European accounts by trappers, traders, explorers, and missionaries give important evidence of early contact culture. In addition, archeological and anthropological research, as well as linguistics, have helped scholars piece together understanding of ancient cultures and historic peoples.
Although not without conflict or slavery, Euro-Canadians‘ early interactions with First Nations, Métis, and Inuit populations were less combative compared to the often violent battles between colonists and native peoples in the United States. Combined with later economic development, this relatively non-combative history has allowed First Nations peoples to have an influence on the national culture, while preserving their own identities.