National Aboriginal Day celebrations at Pass Creek Park on June 21, 2022. Photo: Betsy Kline

National Aboriginal Day celebrations at Pass Creek Park on June 21, 2022. Photo: Betsy Kline

Census 2021: Castlegar’s Indigenous population growing

The number of residents identifying as Indigenous grew by 32% over 5 years

The number of people living in Castlegar that self identify as Indigenous has grown over the last five years.

According to census data released by Statistics Canada this week, 550 Castlegar residents identify as Indigenous. This is an increase of 135 from the 415 people counted in the 2016 census.

About two-thirds of the city’s Indigenous population identifies as Métis. First Nations census data doesn’t specify individual nations such as the Ktunaxa.

Castlegar’s Indigenous population grew at a much higher rate (32.5 per cent) than the overall population (3.7 per cent). Indigenous residents now make up 6.8 per cent of the population, compared to 5.3 per cent in 2016.

In the rural area surrounding Castlegar, the Indigenous population also grew.

The Regional District of Central Kootenay Area I (including Pass Creek, Thrums and Shore Acres) saw an increase of 40 Indigenous residents for a total of 150 and Area J (including Ootischenia, Robson and Deer Park) grew by 10 to 220.

In Nelson, the Indigenous population remained mostly unchanged since 2016 with 585 people self identifying as Indigenous, an increase of only five.

Census data released in August related to languages showed that there were not any Castlegar residents that reported an Indigenous language as their mother tongue or reported speaking an Indigenous language most often at home. However, there were five people who reported speaking an Indigenous language regularly at home.

With files from Tyler Harper

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betsy.kline@castlegarnews.com

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