05 March 2010




by Jessica Wesaquate and Andrea Rogers

Grade Level:



Number and Operations

Before completing this lesson, have students watch video two on Cassandra Opikokew, graduate from the University of Regina’s School of Journalism.  She serves as a great Aboriginal role model for students.  In the video and lesson, students will see the connection of mathematics to real life.

Journalists often have to figure out statistics when they are writing or filming a report. Especially financial reporters. Let's take a look at Aboriginal statistics from the 2006 census:

The Aboriginal identity population reached 1,172,785 in 2006 of which 53% are Registered Indians, 30% are Métis, 11% are Non-status Indians and 4% are Inuit. Overall the Aboriginal identity population represents 4% of the Canadian population.

Since 1996, the Aboriginal population has increased by 47% compared to 8% for non-Aboriginals.

Eight out of 10 Aboriginal people currently reside in Ontario and the four Western provinces.

Over half (54%) of Aboriginal people reside in urban areas (81% for non-Aboriginals).
In major cities, the concentration of Aboriginal people is highest in Winnipeg (10%) followed by Regina and Saskatoon (9%).

Forty-eight percent of Aboriginal people are less than 25 years old (31% for non-Aboriginals). The median age of the Aboriginal population is 27 compared with 40 for non-Aboriginals.

Materials Needed:

video clip, pencils, pencil crayons, graph paper, looseleaf, Census numbers


  1. Create a circle graph to demonstrate the percentiles of the Aboriginal identity population.
  2. If overall the Aboriginal identity population represents 4% of the Canadian population, what percent does the non-Aboriginal population make up?
  3. How do you determine the median of something?
  4. Create a line graph to demonstrate the increase in population since 1996.

Extension Activity:

Statistics are rich in mathematics and you can create other questions for your students surrounding the numbers found in the census. You can also do many other activities with the census across other areas of the curriculum.

  • Have students look at what it means to be a 'registered Indian,' a 'Metis,' and who the Inuit people are.
  • Have students research the history of First Nations, Metis and Inuit peoples. Students can make a Venn diagram to demonstrate similarities, differences and commonalities among the three distinct group of people.

The 2006 Census Aboriginal Demographics can be found online on the Indian and Northern Affairs web page @



Aboriginal Perspectives is supported by the University of Regina, the Imperial Oil Foundation, the Canadian Mathematical Society and the Pacific Institute for the Mathematical Sciences.



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