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The population of Indigenous people in Canada is growing at a faster rate than non-Indigenous people, but the pace of growth has slowed, the 2021 census shows.
There were 1.8 million Indigenous people living in Canada – First Nations, Métis and Inuit – in 2021, an increase of 9.4 percent between 2016 and 2021, outpacing the growth of non-Indigenous populations in the same period, which saw a growth of 5.3 percent. increased .
The Census states that the pace of growth of the indigenous population slowed to 18.9 percent between 2011 and 2016.
In Manitoba, there were 237,190 indigenous people living in the province in 2021, a 9.9 percent increase from 2016.
The census states that high birth rate and increasing age are the factors. It also noted that more people are answering questions of Indigenous identity differently on the census questionnaire.
“Over time, respondents who did not previously identify as Indigenous have become more likely to do so,” the census said. “This may be related to personal reflection, social factors or external factors such as changes in law or court decisions.”
Winnipeg has the largest urban Indigenous population with 102,080 people, followed by Edmonton at 87,600 and Vancouver at 63,345.
Indigenous people in Canada’s urban centers have a population of 801,045, a 12.5 percent increase between 2016 and 2021.
Damon Johnston, president of Winnipeg’s Aboriginal Council, said that some issues around housing urban Indigenous people still exist but progress has been made because of the work of Indigenous leaders and organizations.
“It hasn’t been easy for indigenous peoples because of colonial history,” Johnson said. “A large part of the Indian act was focused on breaking us up and keeping us apart. We were kept isolated on the stockpile for many years. ,
“Working together leads to real, better results by building some consensus on the better approach to solving certain issues.”
Challenges remain – 16.4 percent of Indigenous people live in a home in need of major repairs and 17.1 percent of Indigenous people live in overcrowded housing, compared to 5.7 percent of non-Indigenous people.
Indigenous children make up more than half of all children in foster care, but only 7.7 percent of all children who are 14 years of age or younger. Rates are higher in Manitoba, where advocates point to the over-representation of Indigenous children in the child welfare system, a factor in many social issues facing the people.
“We have high incarceration rates for children in care, we have high rates of homelessness for children in care,” said Cora Morgan, First Nations family advocate for the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs. “We have high rates of mental health issues and addictions.”
Dennis Daniels, executive director of the Manitoba Indigenous Cultural Education Center, said he sees a connection between population growth and the growing demand for people who want to reconnect with indigenous language and culture.
“As it gets bigger, it’s going to need more,” Daniels said. “Kids are starting to learn it too, and older people are joining in.”
He and other staff, including Sharissa Neault, are working to keep up the pace through the classes and programs they offer.
“We have about 80 people registered for the Anishinabemovin language table,” Niolt said. “Many people are starting to see value in our culture and get back on our way.”
Over 237,000 people speak an indigenous language. The census states that the number of people using one language as their first language has declined, while the number of indigenous speakers of a second language has increased.