Indigenous Relations

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

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

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.

550x744"Le premier collier" dans la Roseraie du Jardin Botanique tout près du Jardin des Premières Nations

Appreciation of Indigenous Relations

550x726The Rose Garden in the Montreal Botanical Garden

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 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, a collective term that specifically refers to the First Nations, the Métis and the Inuit.

IMG_5166"The First Jewel" in the Rose Garden near the First Nations Garden in the Montreal Botanical Garden

Indigenous Population

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.

550x713The Rose Garden in the Montreal Botanical Garden

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 Iroquoian and Algonquian 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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