Aboriginal Affairs Secretariat (AAS)


Aboriginal Affairs Secretariat
© Parks Canada

Aboriginal Fact Sheet

DID YOU KNOW?

There are three groups of Aboriginal peoples in Canada?

FACT:

  • The Canadian constitution recognizes the First Nations, the Inuit and the Métis as Aboriginal peoples.
  • Aboriginal peoples are defined as "a collective name for the original peoples of North America and their descendants''.
  • According to Statistic Canada there are a total of 1,172,790 people who identify as Aboriginal. Making up this 1,172,790 are 53% registered Indians and 11% non-status Indians (698,025), 30% Métis (389,780), and 4% Inuit (50,480).
  • Throughout Canada, the people who self identify as Aboriginal make up 4% of the Canadian population.
  • There are approximately 370 million indigenous people internationally.

DID YOU KNOW?

Aboriginal peoples live everywhere in Canada, not just on reserves?

FACT

  • Aboriginal communities are located in urban, rural and remote locations across Canada.
  • In 2006, 54% lived in urban areas (including large cities or census metropolitan areas and smaller urban centers).
  • The provinces and territories with the highest proportion of Aboriginal populations were Nunavut (85.0%), the Northwest Territories (50.3%), Yukon (25.1%), Manitoba (15.5%) and Saskatchewan (14.9%).
  • Eight out of 10 Aboriginal people currently reside in Ontario and the four Western provinces.
  • The city of Winnipeg has the highest Aboriginal percentage at 10% of the overall population.
  • There are 615 First Nations or Indian Bands in Canada.

Aboriginal Affairs Secretariat
© Parks Canada

DID YOU KNOW?

The Aboriginal population is growing every year?

FACT

  • Canada's Aboriginal population is growing faster than the general population, increasing by 20.1% from 2001 to 2006.
  • 48% of Aboriginal people are less than 25 years old, as opposed to 31% for non-Aboriginals.
  • Out of the three Aboriginal groups, Métis had the largest population growth, with an increase of 33.3% between 2001 and 2006.
  • It's estimated that Aboriginal people could account for 4.1% of Canada's population by 2017, but this proportion would be significantly larger in Saskatchewan (20.8%) and Manitoba (18.4%).


DID YOU KNOW?

Not every Aboriginal people speak the same language?

FACT

  • 50 distinct Aboriginal languages are still spoken, some fluently, some in decline, in Canada.
  • Each of those languages is a repository for unique histories, cultural practices and spiritual beliefs, political and social systems and cultural and spiritual practices.
  • The number of people who still speak their Aboriginal language is declining rapidly.
  • Parks Canada has translated its Charter in more than 26 Aboriginal Languages.

DID YOU KNOW?

Treaties are still important and legally binding?

FACT

  • Treaties are not just for Aboriginal peoples. Everyone who lives in a treaty area is a beneficiary of the treaty that was signed there.
  • Over 70 historical treaties were negotiated with First Nations and Métis peoples between 1701 and 1923.
  • The first Modern Treaty to be signed was the James Bay and Northern Quebec Agreement, signed on November 11, 1975.
  • The last national park to be created, the Torngat Mountains National Park of Canada was created with the consent of Northern Quebec Inuit and Labrador Inuit through their respective land claim agreements and presented as the ''Inuit's gift to all Canadians."

DID YOU KNOW?

Parks Canada works closely with more than 300 Aboriginal communities across Canada?

FACT

  • Because most of our parks and sites are in remote areas, we are often the closest neighbour to Aboriginal communities.
  • In most northern and remote communities, Parks Canada is the main Federal employer.
  • 8.4% of Parks Canada staff is Aboriginal, making us the employer of choice in the Federal government.
  • These employees are found in all functional communities, from Field Unit Superintendent, to Resource conservation, Finance, Administration, Human Resources, etc.

DID YOU KNOW?

Parks Canada has ''reserves''?

FACT

  • A national park reserve is an area managed as a national park but where the lands are subject to one or more claims by Aboriginal people that have been accepted for negotiation by the Government of Canada.
  • There are six (6) national park reserves:
  • Mingan Archipelago National Park Reserve of Canada (Quebec)
  • Gulf Island National Park Reserve of Canada (British Columbia)
  • Pacific Rim National Park Reserve of Canada (British Columbia)
  • Gwaii Haanas Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve and Haida Heritage Site and Gwaii Haanas National Marine Conservation Area Reserve and Haida Heritage Site
  • Kluane National Park Reserve of Canada (Yukon)
  • Nahanni National Park Reserve of Canada (Northwest Territories)

DID YOU KNOW?

A huge amount of the land that Parks Canada manages is done because of land claims with Aboriginal peoples?

FACT

  • Federal Lands in Canada account for 40,448,681.0367 hectares. Of this Parks Canada Agency is responsible for 36,583,087.2003 hectares or roughly 90% of all federal Crown lands.
  • Of the lands Parks Canada manages, 27,506,850 hectares, or roughly 68% of all federal Crown lands, are managed through either a formal or informal Aboriginal advisory relationship.
  • There are 14 parks and park reserves that are managed under a land claim. They are:
  • Inuvialuit Final Agreement (1984) - Western Arctic (NWT)

Tuktut Nogait National Park
Ivvavik National Park
Aulavik National Park

  • Inuit of Nunavut Land Claims Agreement (1993) - Nunavut (NWT)

Ukkusiksalik National Park
Auyuittuq National Park
Quttinirpaaq National Park
Sirmilik National Park

  • Champagne and Aishihik First Nations (1995) - Yukon

Kluane National Park and Reserve

  • Vuntut Gwitchin First Nation (1995) - Yukon

Vuntut National Park

  • Kluane First Nation (2004) - Yukon

Kluane National Park and Reserve

  • Sahtu Dene and Métis Agreement (1994) - Western Arctic (NWT) & Southwest NWT

Tuktut Nogait National Park

  • Labrador Inuit Agreement (2005) - Nfld West & Labrador

Torngat Mountains National Park

  • Nunavik Inuit Land Claims Agreement (2006) - Québec

Torngat Mountains National Park

  • Tsawwassen Final Agreement (2006)

Gulf Island National Park Reserve

  • Maa-nulth Land Claims Agreement (2011)

Pacific Rim National Park Reserve

DID YOU KNOW?

The largest national historic site administered by Parks Canada has no buildings on it?

FACT

  • Sahoyúé-§ehdacho National Historic Site of Canada is a peninsula reaching into Great Bear Lake just south of the Arctic Circle, in the central part of the Northwest Territories.
  • It is considered an Aboriginal Cultural Landscape.
  • This site was designated as a National Historic Site in 1996 as a result of consultations with the Sahtu Dene and the Métis nations.
  • It is the first national historic site managed by Parks Canada in the Northwest Territories.


DID YOU KNOW?
Commemorating Aboriginal themes is a priority at Parks Canada?

FACT

  • There are 115 National Historic Sites that commemorate Aboriginal themes
  • There are 47 Aboriginal persons who have been designated National Historic Persons
  • There are 46 Aboriginal events that have been designated of National Historic Importance

DID YOU KNOW?

Quite a few of our national parks, national historic sites and national marine conservation areas have Aboriginal names?

FACT

  • For exemple, Aulavik means - "place where people travel"
  • Auyuittuq - "the land that never melts"
  • Gwaii Haanas - "islands of wonder and beauty"
  • Ivvavik - "a place for giving birth to and raising young, a nursery"
  • Kejimkujik - "swollen parts"
  • Kluane - "place of many fish"
  • Kootenay - "people of the water" (Blackfoot)
  • Kouchibouguac - "river of the long tides"
  • Mingan Archipelago - "timber wolf" or "white stone"
  • Nahanni - "people of the west" or "people over there far away"
  • Pukaskwa - uncertain meaning but could mean "fish-cleaning place"
  • Quttinirpaaq - "way up there" or "top of the world"
  • Sirmilik - ''place of glaciers''
  • Torngat Mountains - ''a place of spirits''
  • Tuktut Nogait - "caribou calves"
  • Ukkusiksalik - ''the place to find stone to make pots''
  • Vuntut- "among the lakes"
  • Wapusk - "white bear"
  • Yoho - "wonder, excitement or awe" (Cree)

DID YOU KNOW?

Parks Canada is the only organisation to have a permanent committee of Aboriginal partners dedicated to helping PCA manage its heritage places?

FACT

  • Arising out of the 2001 Minister's Round Table was a proposal to create and work with an Aboriginal advisory structure in Parks Canada to help advance areas of mutual interest.
  • The Aboriginal Consultative Committee (ACC) was established in 2002 and is chaired by the CEO, Parks Canada.
  • The ACC has 12 members, representing Elders, Chiefs, community leaders, etc.

DID YOU KNOW?

Since 1999, PCA has an Aboriginal Affairs Secretariat dedicated to helping build strong relationships with Aboriginal peoples and Parks Canada?

FACT

  • The Aboriginal Affairs Secretariat (AAS) was created in 1999 to provide national leadership, direction and support within the Parks Canada Agency on matters relating to its continually evolving relationships with the Aboriginal peoples (First Nation, Inuit, and Métis).
  • It has six full time employees.
  • Five key corporate priorities :
  • Building meaningful relationships with Aboriginal peoples;
  • Creating economic partnerships;
  • Increasing programming at parks/sites;
  • Enhancing employment opportunities; &
  • Commemorating Aboriginal themes.