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First Nations-Municipal Community Economic Development Initiative

First Nations in Canada

First Nations in Canada

The resources below are geared towards municipal officials and staff looking to find out more about First Nations culture, history and economic development. The resources below take a Canada-waide perspective and are meant to only be a starting place. Because each First Nation community is unique, municipal officials and staff will need to also learn about their neighbours specifically.


Introductory resources

Municipal officials and staff can use the following resources to learn more about First Nations in Canada.

  • Wab Kinew's Walk Through History: A very brief clip from the award-winning 8th Fire documentary. Wab Kinew takes viwers through the history of the troubled relationship between Aboriginals and non-Aboriginals in Canada
  • First Nations in Canada: A 25 page comprehensive look at Aboriginal history in Canada as told by AANDC
  • Quality of Life of First Nations (2 pages): A 2-page fact sheet published by the Assembly of First Nations (AFN) in 2011 on the daily realities of First Nations across Canada and the reasons for how these came to be
  • TD Debunking Myths Surrounding Canada's Aboriginal Population (8 pages): Examples of myths that are dissected include "Aboriginal people do not pay taxes," "Aboriginal people do not pay for post-secondary education," "Aboriginal people are falling behind in the job market," "Aboriginal businesses are not successful," etc.

For Further Knowledge

  • Federal Government Funding to First Nations - The Facts, the Myths, and the Way Forward (31 pages): An excellent look at the funding relationship between First Nations and the Government of Canada as told by the Assembly of First Nations (AFN).
  • 8th Fire "It's Time" (45 min.) An episode of an award-winning documentary about Aboriginal peoples. Topics addressed include the need to improve relationships between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal peoples, the young and fast-growing Aboriginal population, common misconceptions about Aboriginal people, and the need to "take a new look at the relationship".
  • Aboriginal People Economic Conditions (10 pages): An encyclopedia article which offers a good overview of economic conditions faced by Aboriginal people and their historical context.
  • The Aboriginal Progress Report 2015 (72 pages): the report tracks and assesses the progress of First Nations, Inuit and Métis people between 2006 and 2011 compared to the non-Aboriginal population and identifies the gaps in economic outcomes that remain. 
  • Some information on First Nation communities, including a list of chiefs and councils, is available on Community Profiles, produced by AANDC (formerly, Indian and Northern Affairs Canada [INAC]).

Bob Joseph of Indigenous Corporate Training Inc. has created and made freely available the following resources, all of which are available at http://www.ictinc.ca/first-nations-municipal-community-economic-development-initiative

Behaviour and Cultural Etiquette

  • Working effectively with Aboriginal Peoples: 19 must do's for local government
  • 21 Things not to say or do when working effectively with Aboriginal Peoples
  • First Nation protocol: Thanking the host Nation, why you should.
  • First Nation protocol: Gift Giving, how do you know if it is appropriate and/or expected

Learning and Understanding

  • Aboriginal Elders
  • Aboriginal Peoples: A guide to terminology
  • 11 things you should know about Aboriginal oral traditions
  • Aboriginal Peoples are all the same, right?
Page Updated: 21/12/2015