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Manitoba Aboriginal and Northern Affairs

Manitoba's Aboriginal Community

Who are Manitoba's Aboriginal People?


Statistics Canada defines the Aboriginal identity population as persons who reported identifying with at least one Aboriginal group.

Statistics gathered in 2001 showed Manitoba had 150,040 Aboriginal people. This represented 13.6 per cent of Manitoba's total population. In Winnipeg, Aboriginal people represented 8.5 per cent of the total 2001 population.

About 33 per cent of Aboriginal Manitobans lived in Winnipeg, while another 40 per cent lived in northern Manitoba.

Portion of Manitoba's
population which is Aboriginal
Portion of Winnipeg's
population which is Aboriginal
pie chart pie chart


The Metis National Council says a Metis is a person who self-identifies as Metis, is of historic Metis Nation ancestry, is distinct from other Aboriginal peoples and is accepted by the Metis Nation.

The Manitoba Centre for Health Policy (MCHP) of the University of Manitoba, describes Metis as people of mixed First Nation and European ancestry. They identify themselves as distinct from First Nations people, Inuit, and non-Aboriginal people. They have a unique culture that draws on diverse ancestral origins such as Scottish, French, Ojibway and Cree.

Slightly more than one third of Manitoba's Aboriginal people are Metis. Manitoba's population includes the largest number of Metis people per capita in Canada and the majority of them live in southern Manitoba, including the city of Winnipeg.

First Nation

According to the MCHP, First Nation is a term that began replacing Indian in the 1970s. Now widely used, the term describes both Status and Non-Status Indian people. Many Indian people have also adopted the term First Nation to replace band in the name of their community.

Registered or Treaty Indian

Registered or Status Indian refers to a person who is registered under the Indian Act of Canada. Treaty Indian refers to a person who is registered under the Indian Act and can prove descent from an Indian Band that signed a treaty.

About two-thirds of Manitoba Aboriginal people are Status Indians. First Nations groups indigenous to Manitoba include Ojibway, Cree, Oji-Cree, Dakota and Dene.

There are 63 First Nations communities in Manitoba, many in isolated northern communities.

Non-Status Indian

Non-status Indian refers to an Indian person who is not registered under the Indian Act. This may be because his or her ancestors were never registered, or because he or she lost status under former provisions of the Indian Act.


Inuit are Aboriginal people who traditionally live in Canada's far north. Inuit means people in their native Inuktitut language. The singular of Inuit is Inuk.

Inuit and non-Status Indians represent only a small number of Aboriginal people in Manitoba.

Types of Aboriginal people in Manitoba
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