Congress of Aboriginal People

The Congress of Aboriginal Peoples, (CAP), is the national voice of off-reserve Aboriginal people throughout Canada.  We are a grassroots-driven, national voice for our communities, advocating for the rights and interests of off-reserve and non-status Indians and Métis people, living in urban, rural and remote areas of Canada.  The Congress is at the leading edge of issues and opportunities that impact Aboriginal peoples across Canada.

Founded in 1971 as the Native Council of Canada, our initial goal was to re-establish recognition of our constituents as Aboriginal people, and to obtain fundamental Aboriginal and human rights for them.  Our work continues today as the effects of urbanization and globalization are increasingly felt in social and economic trends that have direct bearing on off-reserve Aboriginal peoples.

Seventy-nine per cent pf Aboriginal people live away from Indian Reserves, while Aboriginal policies and programming in Canada is directed to on-reserve “First Nations” people at a ration of over 8:1.

The goals of the Congress of Aboriginal Peoples are targeted to achieving social and economic equity for its constituents in housing, health care, education, employment and economic development.  A key component of CAP’s mandate continues to be advocacy for Aboriginal and treaty rights for Métis and non-status Indian people.

The Assembly of First Nations (AFN) serves the interests of on-reserve Indians.  The Métis National Council (MNC) represents some Métis people. The Inuit are represented by the Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami (ITK), and Aboriginal women, by the Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC).

Yet, there remains a large gap in program and service delivery once individuals leave their on-reserve communities, or in the case of the Métis, if they cannot trace their ancestral lineage back to what the MNC term as the “Métis homelands” in Western Canada.

The Congress of Aboriginal Peoples is the organization that advocates on behalf of the “Forgotten People”, those who are otherwise voiceless at the National level.  We have a distinguished thirty-seven year history of undertaking research and program/service delivery, as well as carrying out ongoing government relations.  All these efforts seek to build mutual understanding and broader acceptance of the off-reserve status, non-status and Métis constituencies.  The Congress is also a recognized non-governmental organization (NGO) with the United Nations.

We are here to amplify the voice of our people at all levels, from local to global.  We are committed to ensuring that Aboriginal people attain a standard of living equitable to all Canadians.  We seek to engage others – to participate, contribute and to gain benefit – to consider and influence the effects of our collective decisions on behalf of future generations, so that our children and grandchildren can inherit healthy and sustainable communities and enjoy the prosperity they so richly deserve.


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