Tag Archives: Statistics Canada

Who is Métis? Statistics Canada numbers open window on debate

David Chartrand, president of the Manitoba Metis Federation, middle, carries the Métis flag in Ottawa on April 14, 2016 (Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press)

‘It’s not simply you just get a little check mark and say I’m Métis. You have to prove your identity’

The president of the Manitoba Metis Federation says the 2016 census numbers for Métis in Canada are wrong — but his objections point to a larger debate about who in fact is Métis.

“People just think that because you have potentially First Nation blood in you that you can quantify yourself as Métis,” David Chartrand said Tuesday. “I can guarantee there’s not 125,000 Métis Nation citizens in Ontario.”

The 2016 census asked people whether they were Aboriginal, and then further broke that down to First Nations, Inuit and Métis.

There were 587,545 people who self-identified as Métis, a growth of more than 50 per cent since 2006, with the most in Ontario, where there were just over 120,000. Almost 90,000 in Manitoba self-identified as Métis.

But Chartrand says a lack of understanding prompted many people to incorrectly self-identify as Métis, a word with roots in the French for mixed blood.

“Our nation is probably about no more than 400,000, from parts of Ontario all the way to parts of British Columbia and all of the Prairies. That’s our population. We know it. We know where we live, we know who we are,” he said.

Chartrand’s organization strictly regulates who gets Métis Nation citizenship cards.

David Chartrand, president of the Manitoba Metis Federation. (Sean Kilpatrick/Canadian Press)

They must show they trace their ancestry back to the mixed First Nations and European people who lived in Western Canada during the time of the fur trade.

“It’s not simply you just get a little check mark and say I’m Métis,” Chartrand said. “You have to prove your identity and prove your connection to the historical and collective homeland of the Métis Nation. It’s a long process.”

However, not everyone agrees with Chartrand’s definition.

A 2016 Supreme Court ruling about Métis rights launched some infighting among Métis about who meets the definition.

The Daniels vs. Canada ruling states the Métis and non-status Indians are “Indians” under the Constitution and thus fall under federal jurisdiction, so they must turn to Ottawa when negotiating rights or for new programs and services.

The ruling determined Métis status must be granted on a case-by-case basis, with the generally agreed upon criteria including ancestry and community ties.

The Métis Federation of Canada has a broader criteria for membership than the Manitoba Metis Federation.

“The true history of the Métis is very inclusive,” said president Robert Pilon said following the Daniels ruling.

“If you want to have a true representation of Métis in Canada, they got to make sure all Métis are at the table,” Pilon said in 2016. “Not just pick and choose just because one group has been around longer.”

A Statistics Canada analyst said the census did allow a wide variety of people to identify as Métis, but more data is being gathered to learn exactly what people mean by the term.

“We understand that there’s no single definition of Métis that’s endorsed by all Métis groups in Canada,” said Vivian O’Donnell.

Statistics Canada is trying to find out what people mean when they self-identify as Métis, she said.

Statistics Canada added two new questions to the Aboriginal Peoples Survey for those who said they’re Métis.

“We asked them, ‘Do you have a card or certificate issued by a Métis organization that identifies you as Métis?’ and if they say yes, we ask what Métis organization issued the card or certificate,” O’Donnell said.

“We also have other questions about sense of belonging — trying to capture some cultural connectedness — so there’s a lot of research potential there to better understand how people are identifying with the Métis nation or the Métis population.”

‘Capital M Métis’

Jacqueline Romanow, chair of the department of Indigenous studies at the University of Winnipeg, says she uses the terms “capital M Métis” and “small m Métis” in her classes to define two separate groups.

Small m Métis are people with mixed blood, which is how many people interpret the word, which has its roots in the French for mixed blood, Romanow says.

Capital M Métis are members of the Métis Nation who trace their ancestry back to the Red River Settlement and Ruperts Land before the creation of the province of Manitoba, she said. She is a member of that group.

Those Métis developed a culture with its own language and traditions in a specific region, she says.

“This is a unique place in history and in time, where you have the genesis of a whole new kind of culture,” she said.

“This didn’t happen everywhere — a new culture with a new language, new traditions that evolved that are very unique and specific.”

There are also specific rights given to those who can trace their heritage to Red River Métis, including land entitlements tracing back to the creation of Manitoba, when Métis were promised land that many never got.

Chartrand said only those who meet the Manitoba Métis Federation’s citizenship requirements are entitled to those rights.

People who are not members of the Métis Nation but want to be identified as part Indigenous should embrace their heritage, but it is not Métis, he said.

“We worked too damn hard to get where we are as a nation,” he said. “We do not take kindly to others who are just trying to jump in to something we’ve been working on for 150 years.”

CBC News


Suicide Among Canada’s First Nations: Key Numbers

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CTVNews.ca, Published, April 11, 2016

Nearly one quarter of First Nations adults reported contemplating suicide at some point in their life, according to a 2008-10 survey by the First Nations Information Governance Centre.

These figures stand in contrast to the just 9.1 per cent of adults from the general Canadian population who had similar thoughts.

But these aren’t the only telling statistics about suicide among Canada’s First Nations people.

In light of the rash of attempts that prompted a state of emergency in the remote northern Ontario First Nation of Attawapiskat, here’s an in-depth look at the rates of suicides among the country’s Indigenous people.

According to a 2000 report from the Canadian Institute of Health, suicides among First Nations youth (aged 15 to 24) was about five to six times higher than non-aboriginal youth in Canada.

In particular, among young First Nations males there was a rate of 126 per 100,000 people. That stands in contrast to the rate of 24 per 100,000 among non-aboriginal males.

First nations suicides

The elevated rates are also seen among females: young First Nations females died by suicide to the tune of 35 per 100,000 people, while non-aboriginal females had a rate of just five per 100,000.

First Nations people are also more likely to contemplate suicide.

Statistics Canada data from 2012 shows that 21.4 per cent of First Nations men and 25.8 per cent of women living off reserves have suicidal thoughts. Meanwhile, 11.1 per cent of non-aboriginal men and 13.8 per cent of women had similar ideas.

First nations suicides

First Nations people are also more likely to report moderate or high levels of psychological distress, according the First Nations Regional Health Survey from 2008 to 20010. In their findings, 33.5 per cent of the general population reported these issues, in comparison to 50.7 per cent of First Nations adults.

CTV News has also compiled a list of resources that are available for First Nations people dealing with mental health issues.

Who can help?

National Native Alcohol and Drug Abuse Program

The federal government program helps fund First Nations and Inuit-run initiatives to help communities deal with addiction issues. A list of local treatment centres can be found here.

Brighter Futures

The community-based program provides a wide range of mental health initiatives, including: information sessions on issues such as depression, family violence and stress management; counselling services; and wellness and recreational activities.

Indian Residential Schools Resolution Health Support Program

The government program offers mental health and emotional support to all former residential school students. Psychologists and socials workers are available for individual and family counselling. While local Aboriginal organizations offer cultural and emotional support. The program can also be contacted on its 24-hour national crisis line at 1-8666-925-4419.

Resources and literature

The Canadian Mental Health Association

The National Aboriginal Health Organization

Stop Family Violence

Centre for Suicide Prevention

The Canadian Association for Suicide Prevention

The website also includes a list of 24-hour crisis lines found across the country that can be found here.

Acting on what we know: Preventing Youth Suicide in First Nations

CTV has also compiled a list of mental health resources that are available across Canada here.


Aboriginals Far More Likely To Die Violently Than Other Canadians



TORONTO – Canada’s aboriginals were far more likely to die violently than other Canadians in 2014, with aboriginal men at greater risk than women, Statistics Canada reports.

Aboriginals are also much more likely to be accused of violence, according to the agency.

Overall, aboriginals accounted for 23 per cent of all homicide victims last year, even though they made up only five per cent of the population.

“Aboriginal people were victims of homicide in 2014 at a rate that was about six times higher than that of non-aboriginal people,” Statistics Canada says.

Experts have long blamed residential schools, poverty and lack of supports for the disproportionate rates of violence and substance abuse among Canada’s aboriginal communities.

Lisa Monchalin, a criminology professor at Kwantlen Polytechnic University, says the statistics reflect the sorry history of how Canada’s aboriginals have been treated.

“We had seven generations of our people put through those residential schools where we experienced violence,” Monchalin says.

“All of the trauma and the impacts resulting from that are still felt in our communities.”

However, last year marked the first time StatCan’s homicide survey had complete police-reported data on the aboriginal identity of victims and those accused of homicide.

The data shows aboriginal males were seven times more likely to be homicide victims compared with non-aboriginal males and three times more likely than aboriginal females. The rate for aboriginal females was six times higher than for non-aboriginal women.

The data also show police had a significantly higher success rate in solving killings involving aboriginal victims — 85 per cent as opposed to 71 per cent.

Most aboriginal victims knew their killers, with aboriginal women much more likely to be killed by family members than their non-aboriginal counterparts but less likely to die at the hands of a current or former spouse or acquaintance.

The odds of an aboriginal man being killed by a spouse is nine times higher than for non-aboriginal males.

There’s little difference between First Nations and other Canadians when it comes to being killed by a stranger.

When it comes to perpetrators, however, aboriginals are much more likely to be accused of homicides than their non-aboriginal counterparts.

Overall, one-third of Canadians accused last year of homicide were aboriginal — 10 times the rate for non-aboriginal accused.

The differential was especially marked for aboriginal women, who accounted for fully half of all females accused.

The agency also made police-reported data available on the aboriginal identity of female homicide victims for the years 1980 to 2013.

The proportion of homicide victims who are aboriginal women has climbed sharply in recent decades, even though the number of victims has not changed much. That’s because the number of non-aboriginal women killed has been declining since 1991.

Between 1980 and 2014, police reported a total of 6,849 women killed. Female aboriginals accounted for 1,073 or 16 per cent of those.

Aboriginals accounted for one in five female homicide victims last year.

Provincially, aboriginal victims were most likely to be found in Manitoba, where the rate was nine times higher than for non-aboriginal. Newfoundland and Labrador, Prince Edward Island and New Brunswick reported no killings of aboriginals.


Aboriginals are much more likely to be accused of violence

Aboriginals accounted for 23 per cent of all homicide victims last year