First Nation Regions

Atlantic Coastal Region

Atlantic Canada is the region of Canada comprising the four provinces located on the Atlantic coast, excluding Quebec: the three Maritime provinces – New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, and Nova Scotia – and the easternmost provinces of Newfoundland and Labrador.

Although Quebec has physical Atlantic coasts on the Gulf of St. Lawrence, Ungava Bay, and the Hudson Strait, it is generally not considered an Atlantic Province.

British Columbia Interior

The British Columbia Interior is one of the three main regions of the Canadian province of British Columbia, the other two being the Lower Mainland, which comprises the overlapping areas of Greater Vancouver and the Fraser Valley, and the Coast, which includes Vancouver Island and also including the Lower Mainland (from the perspective of the Interior).

Northwest Coast

This cultural area follows the northwestern coast of North America and slightly inland along the Nass, Skeena and Fraser rivers in British Columbia. The main cultural groups are the Haida, the Tlingit, the Tsimshian, the Nuu-chah-nulth (Nootka), and the Salishan.

Plains (Prairie)

The Great Plains is the broad expanse of flat land (a plain), much of it covered in prairie, steppe and grassland, that lies west of the Mississippi River tallgrass prairie states and east of the Rocky Mountains in the United States and Canada.

This area covers parts, but not all, of the states of Colorado, Kansas, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Texas, Wyoming, Minnesota, Iowa and the Canadian provinces of Alberta, Manitoba and Saskatchewan.

The Canadian portion of the Plains is known as the Prairies. In Canada this region separates the Rocky Mountains from the Canadian Shield.

Some of the Canadian First Nations in this region include the Blackfoot, Plains Cree, Plains Ojibwa (the Saulteaux), and Sioux (Stoney and Assiniboine).


The Plateau cultural area consists of the high plateau between the British Columbia coastal mountains and the Rocky Mountains, and extends south to include parts of Washington State, Oregon, Idaho, and Montana in the USA.

The Plateau peoples include, among others, the Secwepemc, Stl’atl’imc, Ktunaxa, and Tsilqot’in.

St. Lawrence River Valley

The largest First Nations group near the St. Lawrence waterway are the Iroquois. This area also includes the Wyandot (formerly referred to as the Huron) peoples of central Ontario, and the League of Five Nations who had lived in the United States, south of Lake Ontario.

Western subarctic

Indigenous peoples of the Subarctic are the aboriginal peoples who live in the Subarctic regions of the Americas, located south of the true Arctic. This region includes the interior of Alaska, and the western Canadian Shield and Mackenzie River drainage area.

Woodlands and eastern subarctic

The Eastern Woodlands extended roughly from the Atlantic Ocean to the eastern Great Plains, and from the Great Lakes region to the Gulf of Mexico, which is now the eastern United States and Canada. The Eastern Subarctic includes the Eastern Canadian Shield.


Article Index:

First Nations of the Mackenzie and Yukon River Basins

The harsh environment of the Mackenzie and Yukon River Basins consists of dark forests, barren lands and the swampy terrain known as muskeg.

Iroquoian First Nations

Iroquoian First Nations, who inhabited the southernmost area, lived in a fertile land suitable for planting corn, beans and squash. There were nine principal Iroquoian tribes. All of them spoke languages belonging to the Iroquoian language family.