The history of Indigenous peoples in Canada is rich and diverse. This history stretches long into the past before the arrival of the European newcomers with diverse interactions among different peoples, flourishing trade and fierce conflict, and competition for lands and resources. The history of First Nations, Inuit and Métis is essentially the very history of Canada as they have played, and continue to play important roles in its development and its future.
Indigenous people have lived in the area now known as B.C. for more than 10,000 years. They developed their own societies, cultures, territories and laws. When European explorers and settlers first came to B.C. in the mid-18th century, the province was home to thousands of Indigenous people.
Today, there are approximately 200,000 Indigenous people in British Columbia. They include First Nations, Inuit and Métis. There are 198 distinct First Nations in B.C., each with their own unique traditions and history. More than 30 different First Nation languages and close to 60 dialects are spoken in the province.
Indigenous food in particular is considered very Canadian. Métis in Canada played a particularly important role in the origin of Canada and Canadian cuisine. Foods such as bannock, moose, deer, bison, pemmican, maple taffy, and Métis stews such as barley stew are all either traditional Indigenous foods or originated in Canada with roots in Indigenous cuisines, and are eaten widely throughout the country.