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Indigeneity 101

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Although Canada promotes multiculturalism and inclusion, Indigenous peoples still face stereotyping and racism. This phenomenon can be connected to not being exposed to the true history of colonialism in the public school system. Until recently, this history was not widely taught in schools. Luckily, this is beginning to change and Indigenous history is now being integrated into public school curricula across Canada.

In order to contribute to education on Indigenous peoples and removing stereotypes, we have compiled a list on "Indigeneity 101," which provides the answers to commonly asked questions (by non-Indigenous peoples to Indigenous peoples), as well as some short facts that may be helpful for non-Indigenous peoples that would like to learn more about Indigenous peoples in Canada:


  • We are the Original Peoples of this land called ‘Canada’ we maintain an inherent connection and right to this land, which can never be taken away.
  • We are mistakenly referred to as ‘Indians’ by settler society. This term was in error by European explorers who landed on our shores in error believing this to be India.
  • In this region of Ontario, we represent and are descendants of countless generations of Anishinaabe, Haudenosaunee, and Huron peoples who called this area home for millennia.
  • We reflect an intercultural society of many diverse Indigenous groups that live in Kingston and area. Like our euro-settler counterparts, we too have a right to create a better life for our families and our communities without compromising who we are as Indigenous peoples and our cultural values.
  • We are prominent academics, entrepreneurs, youth ambassadors, business owners, apprentices, legal advisors, public figures, medical professionals, social innovators, and thought leaders and our successes are shared successes.
  • A common misconception is that First Nations don’t pay taxes. In fact, many First Nations people who leave their First Nation for employment pay federal, provincial, and municipal taxes.
  • Our treaties are not invalid; our treaties signed between Indigenous leaders and the Crown pre-Confederation and post-Confederation are binding contractual agreements that cannot be dismissed or subject to amendment without mutual consent of the representatives.
  • Finally, the last federally administered Indian Residential School closed twenty-one years ago (1996). This means that since the enactment of the Indian Act (1876), 120 years of Canada’s 150-year existence is deeply rooted in colonial assimilation practices and what many Indigenous peoples in Canada consider a ‘cultural genocide’ of Indigenous people.
  • In 2015, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada released ’94 Calls to Action.’ This document outlines recommendations for improving Indigenous and non-Indigenous relations in Canada – to create a better future that benefits all Canadians.


Although this list is by no means exhaustive, it provides some helpful information for those interested in learning more about Indigenous peoples in Canada. If you would like to learn more, we have complied a list of 'Additional Resources,' which will provide helpful background information on Indigenous rights and reconciliation in Canada.


Additional Resources:


United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples- http://www.un.org/esa/socdev/unpfii/documents/DRIPS_en.pdf


Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada: Calls to Action



Report of the Royal Commission of Aboriginal Peoples - http://www.bac-lac.gc.ca/eng/discover/aboriginal-heritage/royal-commission-aboriginal-peoples/Pages/final-report.aspx