Long before European Settlers arrived in Canada, the native peoples of Canada lived off the land, having traveled from different parts of Asia more than 12,000 years ago. There are 3 distinct groups of First Peoples of Canada, the First Nation People, the Inuit, and the Métis.
First Nation Peoples:
– “First Nation Peoples” is a term that encompasses many specific tribes
– Used to be referred to as “Red Indians”
– There are approximately 700,000 first nation peoples in Canada
– Language: collectively, there are about 60 surviving native languages
– Arrived from the Alaska region over 1,000 years ago – approximately 51,000 Inuit live in Canada today, mostly in the Canadian Arctic areas.
– Inuit people used to be referred to as “Eskimos” which means “easters or raw meat” as is now considered an offensive term.
– They are the only Aboriginal people that are found from one side of Canada to the other and are not related to other Canadian aboriginal groups.
– Language: Inuit people speak Inuktitut, of which there are several different dialects
– Their writing is called Syllabics, which uses symbols to represent the syllables of words
– The Inuit are a very self sufficient group who live primarily on meat, foul and fish.
– All parts of the animals they kill are used in their survival: Skin is used for clothing, blankets, boats and tents. Tools are made from bones, wood and ivory. Animal oil is used for lamp light and cooking.
– (pronounced “meytees”) Métis comes from the French word for mixed
– The Métis are a people of mixed heritage – descendants of marriages between French Fur traders/trappers and indigenous women.
– Today there are approximately 390,000 Métis people in North America.
– Language: they speak Métis French, or Michif – a mix of French and Cree
– The Métis Played an important role in the 19th century fur trade as they integrated the cultures between the Europeans and aboriginals, and also aided in the fur trappers survival by helping them live off the land.
With technological developments, the First Peoples of Canada have had their life style modernized, they are however a people that are very proud of their roots, their flags, and their land!