In 1901, only 5.1 percent of Aboriginal people lived in urban areas, and that percentage increased to only 6.7 percent by 1951. In 2006, slightly more than half of Canada’s Aboriginal people lived in urban areas. Comparable data are not available from the 2011 National Household Survey, but the Aboriginal population in five large Prairie cities grew from 185,700 in 2006 to 217,235 in 2011. It is impossible to understand the dynamics of many prairie cities without paying attention to urban Aboriginal people. However despite their growing size and distinctive characteristics, Aboriginal people have received relatively little attention among Canadian academics and policymakers.
This Atlas of Urban Aboriginal People attempts to make some information about Aboriginal people in urban areas in Canada available to a wide audience by mapping their changing residential locations in urban neighbourhoods. The Atlas is part of the research associated with the Canada Research Chair on Inner City Issues, Community Learning and Engagement held by Dr. Evelyn J. Peters at the University of Winnipeg. The Atlas focuses on the five prairie cities of Winnipeg, Saskatoon, Regina, Edmonton, and Calgary from 1981 to 2011. It identifies the percentage of Aboriginal, Métis and First Nations people living in different census tracts and enumeration/dissemination areas of the city. The intent of the Atlas is to provide information about where Aboriginal people live in cities and patterns of changes over time as a basis for policy making and research.
There are a number of issues associated with the use of census data to depict change over time in urban Aboriginal residential patterns. Users are therefore urged to read about these issues as well as consult the maps.