Aboriginal peoples refer to the original inhabitants of Canada and include Inuit, Métis and First Nations living on and off-reserve. National data on Aboriginal peoples and household food insecurity in Canada primarily come from the cycles of the Canadian Community Health Survey (CCHS). However, the CCHS excludes individuals living on-reserve in Canada, and thus data from these surveys do not represent the experience of on-reserve Aboriginal peoples, who represent just over one-third of the Aboriginal peoples in Canada.
Studies of Aboriginal peoples repeatedly demonstrate their extraordinary vulnerability to household food insecurity. Aboriginal households in Canada are more likely than non-Aboriginal households to experience the socio-demographic risk factors associated with household food insecurity (e.g. extreme poverty, single-motherhood, living in a rental accommodation, and reliance on social assistance). Even after these factors are taken into account, Aboriginal households remain at a much higher risk of household food insecurity and are more likely to be severely food-insecure.
Researchers and practitioners in Aboriginal communities have highlighted the distinct food procurement, preparation and distribution practices among Aboriginal groups. The measure of household food insecurity used in the CCHS was developed in non-Aboriginal contexts and does not probe for information that may be important to Aboriginal peoples’ household food insecurity.
For example, household food insecurity may be related to food procurement from both market and traditional sources (e.g. fishing, hunting), and broader factors such as climate change and environmental pollution may be salient due to their impact on the availability of edible plants and animals found in nature. Research in the area of household food insecurity among Aboriginal peoples that is grounded in the realities of Aboriginal peoples’ culture, beliefs and political systems is vital to the development of appropriate interventions to reduce household food insecurity among First Nations and Inuit peoples.