Canadian Indian demographics
January 26, 2012 3:05 AM   Subscribe

The US census provides numbers for Native Americans by ethnic group. I want the same ethnic tabulations for Canadian Indians, be it through census data or another reliable source.

The 2006 Canadian census explicitly asked for this information: "For persons with Aboriginal ancestors, report a specific origin or origins. For example, report 'Cree,' 'Mi'kmaq,' 'Ojibway,' 'North American Indian,' 'M├ętis.' Do not report 'Indian.'" But I'm not finding the results on their website.

A similar question reports native language speakers, but that is not what I'm looking for.

I'd like to know how many Sioux, Ojibwe, etc, there are in the world. I can easily find these numbers for Japanese and Mexicans. But Wikipedia entries for Amerindians are filled with silence and "Citation needed"s
posted by dgaicun to Society & Culture (7 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

Not to derail, but the preferred term is "First Nation" peoples, not "Canadian Indians." This might help you more easily find what you seek.
posted by kuppajava at 5:30 AM on January 26, 2012 [2 favorites]

There is going to be a lot of play in these numbers.

Basically the various First Nations (I am mostly familiar with the ones on the prairies) had different organizations.. some were basically lose tribes which basically consisted of a few clans who volunteered to be part of "nation" , others were structured more like feudal kingdoms with a rigid and restricted social hierarchy. In practice this meant that quite a few people belong/belonged to multiple first nations, or they left one First Nation and joined another. This continues to happen though marriages, births etc.

Different factions also recognize different sub-groups as different nations or part of the same nation.. alliances tended to shift throughout time, and trading relationships tended to bring some groups closer together for a while.

The other thing to keep in mind that in addition to the Metis who are formally recognized as being mixed of mixed European ancestry, a lot of First Nations people have at least a few European ancestors. There is a lot of Scottish, French, and Irish nationality in First Nations people - it's not widely acknowledged but it's not that hard to see and individual family histories will talk about it. A few Scottish groups are even starting to hold some joint cultural events to acknowledge this.
posted by Intrepid at 7:41 AM on January 26, 2012

You may be able to find some more data here.

Yeah, aboriginal, native, or First Nations to be formal. "Indian" is a pejorative.

In terms of polite language, you're absolutely correct. (It could also lead to confusion with Canada's large population of immigrants from India.) However, I'm not in any way an expert on this, but I believe the term is still used in some government contexts because it is a legal definition from an earlier era when it was both considered less pejorative and also when people gave less of a shit about treating First Nations citizens politely. As these older treaties still have an impact, the term pops up.
posted by Homeboy Trouble at 7:55 AM on January 26, 2012 [1 favorite]

First Nations Canadians often- very very often- refer to themselves as "Indians." But that is of course their prerogative and not something I do as non-aboriginal.

Unfortunately, due to the kerfuffle around the long form 2011 census, release date, if there are ever going to be release dates, for aboriginal counts and race/ethnicity counts have not been released. We'll be getting the first release (population counts) in March.
posted by ethnomethodologist at 8:16 AM on January 26, 2012

Response by poster: Please take the discussion about polite/impolite terms to MetaTalk.
posted by dgaicun at 9:45 AM on January 26, 2012

Mod note: A few comments removed, please try to stick to the question.
posted by cortex (staff) at 10:57 AM on January 26, 2012

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