Indigenous Relations


Indigenous relations with mayor Denis Coderre who, in 2017, announced the addition of a white pine to the symbolic emblems of the flag and of the coat of arms of the City of Montreal.

An Eastern white pine described as the symbol of the Great Tree of Peace of today and of the Great Peace of 1701 by the Indigenous population in Montreal.

  • The traditional French shield recalls the origins of the city.
  • The maple leaves symbolize the quest for harmony between all Montrealers.

  • The red cross against the white background recalls the Christian thought and principles which governed the founders of Ville-Marie.
  • The white pine stands for the original native presence in Montréal.
  • The lily, the rose, the thistle and the clover symbolize France, England, Scotland and Ireland, respectively, the places of origin of Montrealers in the last century. 

Also in 2017, mayor Coderre announced that Amherst Street named after British general Jeffrey Amherst (1717-1797) was to be renamed. Amherst who, as an officer of the British Army supported the genocide and the deliberate killing of a large group of Indigenous peoples.

Two years later, mayor Valérie Plante confirmed that Amherst Street has been renamed and is now Akateken Street, a Mohawk word that symbolizes fraternity and peace.

Indigenous Indians


The word Indian comes from Christopher Columbus who thought he had reached India and assumed the local population were Indians.

A country now called Canada and a name that may come from Kanata, an Iroquoian Huron-Wendat word that meant and still means village or settlement. 

Nowadays, it is frowned upon to use the word Indian when referring to Indigenous Peoples and Indigenous relations, a collective term that specifically refers to the First Nations, the Métis and the Inuit.

Indigenous Indian Act


The Indian Act is a Canadian federal law that governs matters pertaining to North American Indian status, to Indian bands and to Indian reserves. An Indian Band also called a First Nation band and a basic government unit for those who are subject to the Indian Act.

Indian reserves are tracts of lands set aside under the Indian Act and treaty agreements for the exclusive use of Indian bands. Indian reserve is the term used in Canada while Indian reservation is the term used in United States.

Indigenous Resources


The Indian Register is the official record that identifies the persons registered as Indians under the Indian Act. Indian status is the legal status of a person who is registered as an Indian under the Indian Act.

Status Indians who may be eligible for a range of benefits offered by the federal, the provincial and the territorial governments. Benefits that are not available to non-status Indians, to Métis, to Inuit who have a different governance structure and to other Canadians.

Rights of Indigenous Peoples


In Canada, the terms Aboriginal and Indigenous are preferred to the words Indians, Natives and Eskimos culturally inappropriate. Many Canadians feel that these words are outdated and have a negative connotation.

Aboriginal peoples refers to different Aboriginal groups such as the First Nations, the Inuit, and the Métis while Indigenous languages refer to the Iroquoian and the Algonquian languages and to their past and present culture and history.

Inuit plural refers to a specific aboriginal group of people who, for the most part, live in the far northern areas and who are not considered North American Indians under the Canadian law. Inuktitut is their aboriginal language.

The issue of the Metis identity continues to be the topic of much debate and discussion. The rights of the Metis largely depend on identifying the indigenous relations and aboriginal peoples who are entitled to such rights and then on specifying what those rights are or should be.

Montreal CLUB Kit
Indigenous Relations by Rachel Louise Barry

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