There are more than 630 First Nations communities in Canada, representing more than 50 nations and 50 indigenous languages. Other First Nations in Canada are seeking self-government agreements that exclude First Nations from the Indian Act and give them authority over their own government, membership and land. In British Columbia, additional reserves were inspected in accordance with the colonial formula, leading to disputes in that province. The colonial practice of reserving land for indigenous peoples while retaining legal title serves as the basis for the reservation system in Canada.
While it is possible to give single or multiple answers to the question about Aboriginal identity, the data in this document for each of the three Aboriginal groups are based on the population declaring a single identity of “First Nations”, “mixed race” or “Inuit”. Canada is then required to manage the ceded lands for the benefit of the First Nation that handed them over. Bill C-92 further empowers First Nations by giving them control of social and children's services on reserves. While reserves originated as places where First Nations could engage in agriculture and education, many reservations ended up in isolated places.
In Manitoba, there were 41,955 First Nations children, representing 36.7% of First Nations inhabitants and 18.4% of all children in that province. In these treaties, the First Nations preserved the right to continue using the entirety of the ceded territory for hunting, fishing and capturing. With relatively few sources of economic activity and jobs in reserves, inadequate housing, lack of safe drinking water, and lack of reliable electricity and Internet services, some First Nations peoples have decided to move away from reserves. However, First Nations people living in these three provinces represented less than 4% of the population of each of these provinces.
Many First Nations communities are annoyed by the colonial oversight of their land by the federal government and the ways in which this hinders their ability to promote better social and economic conditions. The First Nations are one of three groups of indigenous peoples in Canada, the other two being the Mestizos and the Inuit. The treaties stipulated that First Nations would select the location of their reservation, but the government occasionally rejected their selection and allocated land to them elsewhere. Reserves such as Sillery, established in 1637, served to impose a sedentary lifestyle on formerly semi-nomadic peoples, such as the Innu and the Algonquians, in order to convert them to Catholicism.
Because the administration of reserve land is in the hands of the Crown, First Nations have been unable to use their land and resources to ensure economic development or finance social welfare.