Dictionary, Census of Population, 2016
Membership in a First Nation or Indian band

Release date: May 3, 2017


'Membership in a First Nation or Indian band' refers to whether or not a person is a member of a First Nation or Indian band. An Indian band is defined as a body of Indians for whose collective use and benefit lands have been set apart or money is held by the Crown, or who have been declared to be a band for the purpose of the Indian Act. Many Indian bands have elected to call themselves a First Nation and have changed their band name to reflect this. With the 1985 amendment to the Indian Act of Canada (Bill C-31), many Indian bands exercised the right to establish their own membership code, whereby it was not always necessary for a band member to be a Registered Indian according to the Indian Act.

Statistical unit(s)



Membership in a First Nation or Indian band

Reported in

2016 (25% sample); 2011Note 1 (30% sample); 2006, 2001, 1996 and 1991 (20% sample).

Reported for

Population in private households

Question number(s)

Direct variable: Question 21


Respondents could reply 'Yes, member of a First Nation/Indian band' or 'No' by checking off the appropriate mark-in circle in Question 21. If a respondent replied 'Yes, member of a First Nation/Indian band,' they were asked to specify the name of their First Nation or Indian Band.


The 2016 Census of Population First Nations or Indian band question asked "Is this person a member of a First Nation/Indian Band?" and the following notes were provided: If 'Yes,' which First Nation/Indian band? For example, Musqueam Indian Band, Sturgeon Lake First Nation, Atikamekw of Manawan.

Users should be aware that the estimates associated with this variable are more affected than most by the incomplete enumeration of certain Indian reserves and Indian settlements in the Census of Population.


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