Aboriginal identity of person


Aboriginal identity of person was approved as a departmental standard on April 20, 2009.


Aboriginal identity refers to whether the person reported identifying with the Aboriginal peoples of Canada. This includes those who reported being an Aboriginal person, that is, First Nations (North American Indian), Métis or Inuk (Inuit) and/or those who reported Registered or Treaty Indian status, that is registered under the Indian Act of Canada, and/or those who reported membership in a First Nation or Indian band. Aboriginal peoples of Canada are defined in the Constitution Act, 1982, Section 35 (2) as including the Indian, Inuit and Métis peoples of Canada.

Person refers to an individual and is the unit of analysis for most social statistics programmes.


Aboriginal identity may be derived or estimated. When derived, it is derived from three component variables: Aboriginal group, Registered or Treaty Indian status, and Membership in a First Nation or Indian band. When estimated, the same three components are considered in the estimation.

Additional information

See also:

Relation to previous standard

There was a previous standard called Aboriginal identity but the meaning associated with it is now conveyed by the standard Aboriginal group of person.

Conformity to relevant internationally recognized standards

This standard conforms to the recommendations for censuses contained in the United Nations' Principles and Recommendations for Population and Housing Censuses, Revision 2, 2008. The UN suggests that defining the indigenous population can be done in many ways, such as through a question on ethnic origin (that is to say, ancestry) and/or on indigenous identity. This standard follows from the second of the suggested approaches. However, this standard goes beyond this to capture other aspects of Aboriginal identity by including the category "Aboriginal responses not included elsewhere" which encompasses those who did not report being First Nations (North American Indian), Métis or Inuk (Inuit) but who did report being members of a First Nations/Indian band and/or Registered Indians or Treaty Indians as defined by the Indian Act of Canada. The UN provides no standard classification because countries use their own national concepts to identify the indigenous population.


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