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History of The First Nations

Here we are making an attempt to explore the history of the First Nations. At this time we can but use antiquarian resources to tell their story but we'd be more than happy to bring this more up to date should any of Canada's First Nations people wish to provide information for the site by way of text, pictures or videos.

As you read the early history of Canada you'll find that the First Nations people fought for the French against the British while others fought for the British against the French. They were also involved in fighting for Canada in the war with the USA. And of course many also fought for Britain in both World Wars. This means as you explore the history of each Province you'll come across many accounts of the First Nations people.

In this section of the site we're bringing you more specific information on the First Nations as we find it so do also feel free to contact us if you have information to contribute. We would add that in here we show information on the First Nations, Métis and Inuit.

Our Home on Native Land - Wikwemikong
A special one-hour documentary on the First Nations Reserve of Wikwemikong. Located on Manitoulin Island in Georgian Bay in Ontario, Wikwemikong is one of Canada's largest reserves with a population of over 7,000. Many in the community are scarred from the legacy of residential schools, and unemployment and drug abuse are high, but there is a concerted effort made within the community to improve their lives.

From Statistics Canada

We bring you some recent statistics from Statistics Canada which tend to show that Aboriginal peoples living on Reserves are worse off than their counterparts living off reserves. In particular the First Nations people seem to do worse that the Métis and Inuit.

Aboriginal population surpasses the one-million mark

A total of 1,172,790 people identified themselves as an Aboriginal person, that is. North American Indian (hereafter referred to as First Nations people in this report), Metis or Inuit in the 2006 Census of Population. The census counted 976,305 Aboriginal people in 2001 and 799,010 in 1996. There were nearly 700,000 First Nations people identified in 2006 as well as approximately 390,000 Metis and just over 50,000 Inuit.

Ghost Dance - Native American - Power Drums - Spirit Pride

Fast paced, heart pounding beat. Ghost Dance by Apurimac III Nature Spirit Pride and beautiful art photos by J.D. Challenger, Frank Howell, and Howard Terpning.

Understanding Aboriginal Identity
Understanding Aboriginal Identity explores the complex issue of self-identification for Aboriginal people. Today, Aboriginal identity remains inextricably linked with past government legislation and the continued stereotyping of Aboriginal people in the media and Canadian history. From a Metis farm in rural Alberta to the offices of Canada’s leading scholars, Understanding Aboriginal Identity examines the factors that shape who we are.

Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada [external link]
Indigenous Services Canada [external link]
A List of First Nations Tribes can be found here [external link]
Portal: Aboriginal peoples in Canada [external link]
First Nations in Canada (pdf)
The Buffalo Lake Métis Site
A Late Nineteenth Century settlement in the Parkland of Central Alberta (1988) (pdf)
Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada [external link]
AANDC is one of the federal government departments responsible for meeting the Government of Canada's obligations and commitments to First Nations, Inuit and Métis, and for fulfilling the federal government's constitutional responsibilities in the North.
Assembly of First Nations
[external link]
The story of the Assembly of First Nations (AFN) is one that remains unknown to most Canadians. It is the story that is lived each day by the First Nations peoples of Canada. It is the story of a struggle for self-determination and human dignity. It is a story that must be told.
The Métis Nation of Ontario
[external link]
Prior to Canada’s crystallization as a nation, a new Aboriginal people emerged out of the relations of Indian women and European men. While the initial offspring of these Indian and European unions were individuals who simply possessed mixed ancestry, subsequent intermarriages between these mixed ancestry children resulted in the genesis of a new Aboriginal people with a distinct identity, culture and consciousness in west central North America – the Métis Nation.
The Inuit / Eskimo People

Bear Witness: a film by BC's Coastal First Nations

Queen’s University Courchene Lecture
Through the Eyes of the North: Our Collective Responsibility by the Right Honourable Mary Simon, Governor General and Commander-in-Chief of Canada (April 2022)

My own first impressions of the First Nations
By Alastair McIntyre

Books by John McDougall
His books are all about growing up in Alberta and surrounding areas when his father was a missionary to the local Indian Tribes. It is said he could speak 2 Indian languages before he could speak English. One of his books Wa-pee Moos-tooch or "White Buffalo", The Hero of a Hundred Battles is a tale of Life in Canada's Great West During the Early Years of the Last Century.
Canadian Savage Folk
The Native Tribes of Canada by John MacLean M.A. Ph. D. (1896)
Our Treaty History
Bkejwanong Territory, Walpole Island First Nation
Handel's Messiah
A production by the Inuit people. This is a video production on YouTube.
The Treaties of Canada with The Indians of Manitoba and the North-West Territories
By Alexander Morris
The Four Kings of Canada
This is an old book printed in 1710. Such is the date that at this time the letter S was printed as the letter L and so it may be a wee bit challenging to read but I think well worth the effort.
Annual Reports of the Department of Indian Affairs

The Native Races of North British America
By W. D. Hambly
Delaware Nation
Information on the Delaware Nation, previously called Lanapi and also resident in Kent County, Ontario in Moraviatown.

Origins a history of Canada Part 1 a new world

Origins a history of Canada part 2 The First Nations

Sioux Nation
Information on the Sioux Nation in the US and Canada.
The Aboriginies of Canada
This is a chapter from the book "The Dawn of Canadian History: A Chronicle of Aboriginal Canada" by Stephen Leacock
Cree Nation
Information on the Cree Nation.
An Account of Conferences held, Treaties made
Between Major-General Sir William Johnson, Bart. and various Indian Tribes.
Iroquois Nation
Information on the Iroquois in the US and Canada
A Treatise on the Six-Nation Indians
by James Bovell Mackenzie
Handbook of the Indians of Canada
By the Geographic Board of Canada (1913)

Nanook of the North - Canadian Inuit aboriginals

Early Documentary (1922) on the Inuit of the Canadian Arctic

Information on the Ojibway in the US and Canada
Information on the Micmac mostly in the Atlantic Provinces of Canada
The Métis Nation of Ontario
Information about the Métis Nation
Illustrations, Manners, Customs, and Condition of the North American Indians
With Letters and Notes written during eight years of travel and adventure among the wildest and most remarkable tribes now existing with three hundred and sixty engravings from the authors original paintings by Geo. Catlin. in two volumes (1857).
Canadian Aboriginal History: "Did You Know"?
A video series.
First Nations Taxation
This is an interesting account about the taxation issues concerning First Nations
Solutreans Are Indigenous Americans
A video documentary
500 Nations The Story of Indian Americans
This is a 2 part video.
First Nation's Treaty History in B.C., Canada

Algonquin People
An overview
The Historical Relationship Between The Canadian Justice System and Aboriginal People (pdf)
By Associate Chief Judge Murray Sinclair To the Aboriginal Justice Learning Network Constituency Group Meeting Elders-Policy Makers-Academics Ayler, Quebec April 16—18, 1997
Truth and Reconciliation Commission
The story of the abuse caused by sending native people's children to residential schools.
The Historical Relationship Between The Canadian Justice System and Aboriginal People
By Associate Chief Judge Murray Sinclair (1997)
Old Man Stories
By Frank B. Linderman.
A collection of legends keeping as near as possible to the Indian's style of story-telling, and using only tales told by the older men of the Blackfeet, Chippewa, and Cree tribes.
The War Chief of the Six Nations
A Chronicle of Joseph Brant by Louis Aubrey Wood (1914) (pdf)
Caldwell First Nations
First Nations band government whose land base is located in Leamington, Ontario
Indian, Metis and Eskimo Leaders in Contemporary Canada
This collection of 15 biographies was prepared to illustrate, for classroom purposes, some of the well-known contemporary Indian, Eskimo, and Metis people in Canada today.
Foreign Missions of the Presbyterian Church in Canada
The Indians of Western Canada by Andrew Browning Baird (1895)
First Nations, Metis and Inuit Education Policy Framework
Alberta Learning, Edmonton (2002) (pdf)
Monograph of the Déné - Dindjié Indians
By the Rev. E. Petitot, Oslay Missionary, translated by Douglas Brymner (pdf)
Fort Chipewyan

Two books on the area.
The Six-Nations Indians in the Province of Ontario (pdf)
Indian, Metis and Eskimo Leaders in Contemporary Canada
This collection of 15 biographies was prepared to illustrate, for classroom purposes, some of the well-known contemporary Indian, Eskimo, and Metis people in Canada today. (pdf)
Mound Builders

The Life of a Stó:lo¯ Matriarch
The Men of the Backwoods
True stories and sketches of the Indians and the Indian Fighters by Ascott R. Hope (1899) (pdf)
Aboriginal peoples in Canada
Key results from the 2016 Census
2016 Canadian Public Opinion on Aboriginal Peoples

Canadian Vanishing Communities
Cultivators and Traders of the Eastern Woodlands by Winifred Ferry. This book is about a Huron family who lived in the Eastern woodlands of what is now Southern Ontario. It describes the main activities of this family during one year. No longer do the Huron live as they once did. This book will help you understand how these cultivators and traders lived in the area known as Huronia. (pdf)
Ancient Aborigional Trade in North America
By Charles Rau, reprinted from the report of the Smithsonian Institution for 1872 (1873) (pdf)
Voyages and Travels of an Indian Interpreter and Trader
Describing the Manners and Customs of the North American Indians; with an account of the Posts situated on the River Saint Laurence, Lake Ontario, &c. to which is added a Vocabulary of the Chippeway Language. Names of Furs and Skins, in English and French. A list of words in the Iroquois, Mohegan, Shawanee, and Esquimeaux tongues and a table of the Anology between the Algonkin and Chippeway languages by J. Long (1791) (pdf)

New Caledonia (1977)
Fort St-James is a small town In northern British Columbia. A community of Carrier Indians are living nearby grappling with drugs and alcohol.

Canadians of Long Ago
The story of the Canadian Indian by Kenneth E. Kidd (1951)
Canadian Indian
Volume 1, October 1890 (pdf)
Shingwauk Letter Book 1887-1888
By Edward F. Wilson {external Link - Very poor scan but might be able to unpick it and clarify the text]
Our Words, Our Ways
Teaching First Nations, Métis and Inuit Learners. This resource will help classroom teachers and staff better serve the needs of their Aboriginal students. The process of development was one of consultation, information gathering, drafting, more consultation and re-drafting. The contributors to this resource include Aboriginal Elders, teachers and psychologists as well as other members of Alberta’s Aboriginal communities. (pdf)
Report on the affairs of the Indians in Canada. Section III
By Canada. Commissioners Appointed to Inquire into the Affairs of the Indians in Canada (1847) (pdf)
Social Organisation of the Blackfoot Indians
By Rev. John Maclean, M.A., Ph.D. (1892) (pdf)
Picture-Writing of the Blackfeet
By Rev. John MacLean, PH.D. (1891) (pdf)
A set of 6 Indian and Eskimo children's books (1900) (pdf)
The History of the Five Indian Nations of Canada
Which are dependent on the Province of New York, and are a Barrier between the English and the French in that part of the world by the Hon. Cadwallader Colden in two volumes (1904)
Indian Legends of Vancouver Island
By Alfred Carmichael (1922) (pdf)
The Story of the Totem Pole
Or Indian Legends by William Shelton (1923) (pdf)
My Friend the Indian
By James McLaughlin (1910) (pdf)
The Book of Indian Crafts and Indian Lore
By Julian Harris Salomon (1928) (pdf)
The Administration of Indian Affairs in Canada
By Frederick H. Abbott, Secretary of the Board of Indian Commissioners. Report of an investigation made in 1915 under the direction of the Board of Indian Commissioners (1915) (pdf)
Indian Days in the Canadian Rockies
By Marius Barbeau, Illustrations by W. Langdon Kihn (1923) (pdf)
Stories from Indian Wigwams and Northern Camp-Fires
By Egerton Ryerson Young, author of "By Canoe and Dog-Train", "Oowikapun", etc. (1893) (pdf)
Annual Reports of the Department of Indian Affairs
By the Dominion of Canada
Canadian Indians
The following letters, article, and editorials were written in
the hope that good might come from the writing. (1911) (pdf)
The Battle of the Bears
Life in the North Land by Egerton R. Young (1907) (pdf)
Indian Life in the Great North-West
By Egerton R. Young, Missionary to the North American Tribes North of Lake Winnipeg (1840) (pdf)
By Canoe and Dog-Train Among the Cree and Salteaux Indians
By Egerton Ryerson Young (1808) (pdf)
The Native Races of North America
Edited by W. H. Withrow, D.D., F.R.S.C. (1895) (pdf)
How the Gospel reached the Nelson River Indians by Egerton R. Young, Author of "Canoe and Dog-train," "Indian Wigwams and Northern Camp-fires" (1895) (pdf)
Children of the Forest
A Story of Indian Love By Egerton R. Young (1904) (pdf)
A Teaching Resource Unit
On the Role of the Indian in Canadian History for the Grade Ten Alberta Social Studies Program by Frances E. Duperron (1975) (pdf)
The Treaties of Canada with the Indians of Manitoba and the North-West Territories
Including the Negotiations on which they were based and other information relating thereto by The Hon. Alexander Morris, P.C., Late Lieutenant-Governor of Manitoba, the North-West Territories and Kee-Wa-Ten (pdf)
Early Life Among the Indians
Reminiscences from the Life of Benj. G. Armstrong. Treaties of 1835, 137, 1842 and 1854. Habits and Customs of the Red Men of the Forrest. Incidents, Biographical Sketches, Battles, &c, dictated and written by Thos. P. Wentworth (1802) (pdf)
Western Scenes and Reminiscences
Together with Thrilling Legends and Traditions of the Red Men of the Forest to which is added several narratives of adventures among the Indians (1853) (pdf)
An historical account of the expedition against the Ohio Indians, in the year 1764
Under the command of Henry Bouquet, Esq; colonel of foot, and now brigadier general in America. Including his transactions with the Indians, relative to the delivery of their prisoners, and the preliminaries of peace. With an introductory account of the preceeding campaign, and battle at Bushy-Run. To which are annexed military papers, containing reflections on the war with the savages; a method of forming frontier settlements; some account of the Indian country, with a list of nations, fighting men, towns, distances and different routs. The whole illustrated with a map and copper-plates by William Smith (1765) (pdf)
Chiefs Journey
The summer and fall of 1886 saw a flurry of ‘loyal’ Plains Indigenous leaders pay visits to Central Canada.
Report on the Affairs of the Indians in Canada
Laid before the legislative assembly 20th March 1845 (pdf)
Whispered Gently through Time
First Nations Quality Child Care: A National Study. Study sponsored by the Assembly of First Nations, Office of the Regional Vice Chief. Funded by the Child Care Visions Program of the Employability and Social Partnerships Division, HRDC (2020) (pdf)
Our Words, Our Ways
Teaching First Nations, Metis and Inuit Learners (2005) (pdf)
First Nations, Metid and Inuit School-Community Learning Environment Project May 2007 - Promising Practices (pdf)
Traditional Healing Practices Among First Nations Students
Traditional Native healing practices are an important aspect of the First Nations peoples' conception of health and well-being. The purpose of this study was to assess post-secondary First Nations students' attitudes toward traditional Native healing practices. First Nations adult volunteers were surveyed in several adult educational settings to appraise their attitudes towards traditional healing practices in terms of their interest, valuing, and participation. The majority of subjects reported having participated in a diversity of Native healing practices. Implications of the prevalence of these beliefs and practices are discussed and recommendations for counsellors are offered. (pdf)
Romantic Kent, The Story of a County 1626 - 1952
First 79 pages of the book up to the start of the war with America in which the Native Indians are first noticed by Victor Lauriston (pdf)
Baptists and First Peoples of Canada 1846-1976
A History by the Rev. JodiLynn Spargur MDiv., Canadian Baptists of Western Canada, Presented to: Baptist Heritage and Identity Commission, Baptist World Alliance, Annual Meetings, Vancouver, BC, July 7, 2016. History always occurs in context. Not only the context of the past, but the context of the present in which the story is being recounted. These realities then, must shape our ways of looking back. They must shape who we listen to and how. They must inform our practice of recounting history and must direct our ways of moving into the present in light of the past. (pdf)
Royal Canadian Mounted Police
First Nations Community Policing Services (RCMP - FNCPS) Agreements - Volume 3 (1995) (pdf)
Treaties and the Treaty Relationship Webinar Series

Canada's History Society have collaborated with the Treaty Relations Commission of Manitoba to create and host the Treaties and the Treaty Relationship webinar series. [external link]
Pow Wow Trail
Documentary about the Pow Wow
Notes on the Shuswap People of British Columbia.
By George M. Dawson, LL.D., F.R.S., Assistant Director Geological Survey of Canada (1891) (pdf)
The Beothiks or Red Indians of Newfoundland
By the Rev. George Patterson, D.D. (pdf)
The Huron – Iroquois of Canada, a Typical Race of American Aborigines
By Daniel Wilson, LL.D., F.R.S.E. , President of University College, Toronto (1884) (pdf)
The Literary Faculty of the Native Races of America
By John Reade (1884) (pdf)
Are the Carrier Sociology and Mythology Indigenous or Exotic?
By The Rev. Father A. G. Morice, O.M.I. (1892) (pdf)
Some Wabanaki Songs
By John Reade (1887) (pdf)
Aboriginal American Poetry
By John Reade (pdf)
Notes and Observations on the Kwakiool People
Of the Northern Part of Vancouver Island and Adjacent Coasts, made during the Summer of 1885; with a Vocabulary of about seven hundred words. By George M. Dawson. (pdf)
On the Indians and Eskimos of the Ungara District, Labrador
By Lucien M. Turner, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D. C. (1887) (pdf)
Notes on the early development of Aboriginal Women in all latitudes
BY Percy W. P. Mathews, LL.D., M.R.C.S.E., Etc., Dominion Coroner for the N. W. Territories, and Medical Officer to the Honourable Hudson's Bay Company. (pdf)
The Blackfoot Sun-Dance
By Rev. John M'Lean, M.A., Blood Reserve, Alberta (pdf)
Anthropometry, of the Cree and Saulteaux Indians in Northeastern Manitoba
By J. C. Boileau Grant (1929) (pdf)
An Unredeemed Captive
Being the story of Eunice Williams, who, at the age of seven years, was carried away from Deerfield by the Indians in the year 1704, and who lived among the Indians in Canada as one of them for the rest of her life, written by Clifton Johnson (1897) (pdf)
Monograph of the Dènè-Dindjiè Indians
By the Rev. B. Petitot, Oblat Missionary, Etc., Etc. Translated by Douglas Brymner (1878) (pdf)
The Indians of Canada
Their Manners and Customs by John McLean, M.A., PH.D. Third Edition (1892) (pdf)

Pope Francis visits former Residential School site in Edmonton
Pope Francis meets with residential school survivors in Maskwacis, Alta., where he issued an apology on his 'penitential pilgrimage.'
25th July 2020

The Macs meet the ‘Micmacs’: Scottish Gaelic
First Encounter Narratives from Nova Scotia by Michael Newton (pdf)
Report on the Indians of Upper Canada
by Aborigines Protection Society (Great Britain) (1839) (pdf)
Celtic Cousins or White Settlers?
Scottish Highlanders and First Nations by Michael Newton (pdf)
The affiliation of the Algonquin Languages
By John Campbell, M.A., Professor of Church History, Presbyterian College, Montreal (pdf)
Before the White Man came
Indian Legends and Stories by Mabel Burkholder (1923)
Indians of Ontario
An historical Review (1966) (pdf)
Annual Report of the Department of Indian Affairs
For the Year Ended March 31, 1934 (pdf)
The Mortuary Customs of the Blackfeet Indians
From the Proceedings of the Canadian Institute by the Rev. John McLean, B.A., Fort McLeod, Alberta (pdf)
In Penetanguisbene - Old and New 1615 - 1913
The purpose of this Booklet is to give a brief history of the Jesuit Memorial Church and Parish of Penetanguishene from its origin down to our days.  The Hurons lived in populous villages between the Georgian Bay and Lake Simcoe, and were said to number at a time over thirty thousand people. (pdf)
Geological Survey of Canada
Report on the North Shore of Lake Huron (1849) (pdf)
Lake Huron and the Country of the Algonqums
By Edward Payson Morton Ph.D. (1913) (pdf)
Scenes in the Wilderness
Authentic Narrative of the Labours and Sufferings of the Moravian Missionaries among the North American Indians by Rev. William M. Willett (1842) (pdf)
Ojibwah Indians of Lake Huron
Sketch of the History of the Moravian Church by James Montgomery, Esq. (pdf)
The Life and Adventures of James Beckwourth
Mountaineer, Scout, and Pioneer and Chief of the Crow Nation of Indians written from his own dictation by T. D. Bonner (1856)
The Pilgrim of our Lady of Martyrs
A monthly magazine devoted to The Interests of the Shrine of Our Lady of Martyrs, Auriesville, to the Cause of the Martyrs who died there, to the American and other Missions, past and present and including information on Exploration of Sites of Old Huron and Petun Villages and also an article on the Last of the Hurons. (1903) (pdf)
Selkirk Spirit Dancers
Pelly Crossing, Yukon
Indians and Eskimos of Canada
A Student's Guide to Reference Resources (1975) (pdf)
Issues in the North
Volume 1 Edited by Jill Oakes and Rick Riewe (1996) (pdf)
Sharing the harvest: The road to self-reliance
Report of the National Round Table on Aboriginal Economic Development and Resources by National Round Table on Aboriginal Economic Development and Resources (1993) (pdf)
Report of the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples 1996
In 5 volumes, e-book edition 2013
Schedule of Indian Reserves in the Dominion
Supplement to the Annual Report of the Department of Indian Affairs Year ended March 31 1913 (pdf)
Rising Wolf - The White Blackfoot
Hugh Monroe's Story of his first year on the Plains by James Willard Schultz (1919) (pdf)
Going to the Land of the Yellow Men
The Representation of Indigenous, Americans in Scottish Gaelic Literature by Michael Newton (2013) (pdf)
The Conspiracy of Pontiac
And the Indian War after the conquest of Canada by Francis Parkman (1897) (pdf)
Algonquian Indian Names of Places in Northern Canada
By J. B. Tyrrell, M.A., F.R.S.C. (1915) (pdf)
History of the Border Wars of two Centuries
Embracing a narrative of the wars with the Indians from 1750 to 1874 by Charles Richard Tuttle (1874) (pdf)

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