This page is part of © FOTW Flags Of The World website

Canada - First Nations (Canada)

Aboriginal Peoples

Last modified: 2014-09-20 by rob raeside
Keywords: canada | first nations | metis | inuit | micmac | iroquois | mohawk | pequis | siksika | mi'kmaq | mathematics |
Links: FOTW homepage | search | disclaimer and copyright | write us | mirrors

See also:

Outside links:

First Nations

Aboriginal Peoples is the collective name for the original inhabitants of North America and their descendants. According to the Canadian Constitution Act of 1982, the Aboriginal Peoples of Canada are:

  • First Nations
  • Inuit
  • Metis

There are nearly one million Aboriginal people in Canada.

First Nations are the largest Aboriginal group in Canada, comprising more than 600,000 people. The term First Nations represents the first peoples of Canada, and their descendants, who are neither Inuit, nor Metis. First Nations includes many culturally diverse groups living across Canada. For example: There are 11 First Nations linguistic families, including 53-70 languages.

The term First Nation has been adopted to replace words such as Indian, Native, Tribe, and Band, which are still commonly used by federal, provincial, and territorial governments.

First Nations people and First Nations communities often use the name of their Nation to describe who they are. For example: Dakota, Dene, Ojibwa (Anishinnabe).

Métis are a distinct cultural group composed of people of mixed Aboriginal and European ancestry. In the 2001 Census, 292,000 people identified themselves as Métis. Although the Métis are recognized as one of the three Aboriginal peoples of Canada, most Metis people use the word Metis to define themselves and not Aboriginal.

Metis are excluded from registration under the Indian Act. With the exception of the Metis of the Alberta Metis settlements, there are no formal ways of registering the Metis.

Who are the Inuit?

In Canada, Inuit is a general term used to identify a group of Aboriginal Peoples who live primary in Nunavut, the Northwest Territories, Yukon, and northern parts of Labrador and Quebec. There are approximately 45,000 Canadian Inuit, and they share a common language and similar culture.

Like the Metis, the Inuit are excluded from registration under the Indian Act.

Only Aboriginal Peoples who are registered under the Indian Act receive treaty benefits, meaning that neither Metis nor Inuit qualify.
Kim Scaravelli, 11 July 2008

A First Nations flag

[First Nations flag] image by Jaume Ollé

Canadian natives do have a flag, I've rarely seen fly - there is an example in the window of the Army surplus store (FS as merchandise) and once on a news report from a native reserve - it is the usual Canadian flag with the image of a native man/chief/warrior (I'm not sure, I'm not native, so I don't know what he is supposed to be) superimposed on the flag.
David Kendall - 1997-12-02
If I remember correctly this flag is hoisted with several patterns. I made a drawing some years ago from a flag seen in photo or TV with the Indian Saskatchewan figure but I believe that other figures are also used. The image is very simple: Canadian flag with a head of a Indian chief in white part.
Jaume Ollé, 24 January 2000

Canadian Native Flag

[Canadian Native Flag] image by Curtis Wilson, 21 June 2014

This flag was designed by an Kwakwaka'wakw artist named Curtis Wilson on Vancouver Island. The design is said to represent all the First Nations of Canada. It is a brand new design and only time will tell, for there is already a flag representing all the First Nations peoples of Canada (although little used). It has the Canadian vertical red-white-red bar design and is defaced with an Indian chief in feather headdress in the middle, which replaces the maple leaf. More commonly, however, many of the tribes simply use their own individual tribal flags.
Pete Loeser, 21 June 2014

Canadian-Indian flag being sold in Australia

[Canadian-Indian flag] image contributed by Bill Garrison, 23 March 2007

Two-spirited people of the First Nations

[Two spirited people flag] image by Tomislav Todorovic, 27 August 2014

2-Spirited People of the 1st Nations is a social services organization of First Nations LGBT people in Toronto. Name "two-spirited" for the LGBT people comes from the belief that such people have both male and female spirits, unlike the straight people, whose only spirit corresponds to their physiological gender. The flag of the organization is derived from the Canadian Pride Flag, by replacing the red maple leaf with the organization's logo drawn in black. Central element of the logo are two incompletely visible human faces, partly hidden by a medicine wheel placed between them; one of faces could be female and the other could be male, but it cannot be precisely told (which was probably intended). Inscription 2-spirits is placed beneath the logo. The photo of the flag dating from 2014-05-29 can be found at and The earliest photo of the flag is dating from 2005-06-02 at (Image:
Tomislav Todorovic
, 27 August 2014

[Two spirited people flag] image by Tomislav Todorovic, 27 August 2014

Prior to 2005, a different flag was used, derived from the gay rainbow flag by adding a large disc quartered black (top hoist), white (top fly), red (bottom hoist) and yellow (bottom fly), with a black fimbriation all around. These colors represent the four cardinal directions in many North American indigenous cultures.

The photo of this flag, dating from 2004, can be found at (Image:
Tomislav Todorovic
, 27 August 2014