“Aboriginal” is the Canadian constitution’s collective term for our indigenous Indian, Inuit, and Métis peoples, now comprising more than 1.3 million (4.4 percent) of our population. Some 62 percent are native Indian, 30 percent are Métis, five percent are Inuit, and others belong to more than one aboriginal group. About one in five lives either in Ontario (22 percent) or British Columbia (19 percent). Less than half (47 percent) live on reserves, with the remainder in urban areas; half the First Nations community is under 25 years of age. They may see their people’s
long struggle for land, resources, and self-government realized in their lifetimes because negotiations with the federal government and many provincial governments — more frequent and more fruitful in recent years — continue today. One of the most historic of hundreds of land settlements, ongoing since the 1970s, is the Inuit homeland, Nunavut. Ruling one-fifth of Canada’s landmass, its legislature is the first in North America to be run by a native government.