Using the TCP Data to Study Indigenous Households’ Living Arrangements at the Turn of the 20th Century: Opportunities and Challenges

Simona Bignami, Université de Montréal
Lisa Dillon, Université de Montréal
Léonie Trudeau-Laurin, Université de Montréal
Gustave Goldmann, University of Ottawa
Eric Guimond, Indian and Northern Affairs Canada
Steven Ruggles, University of Minnesota
Per Axellson, University of Umea

One of the main goals of the TCP’s complete-count census data is to support the analysis of the demographic characteristics and outcomes of smaller population groups, which are not permitted by the available 5% percent sample databases. This is notably the case for Indigenous peoples, for whom the 1901 and 1911 censuses represent the most thorough enumerations in the world. In this paper, we discuss the opportunities and challenges of using the TCP data to study Indigenous households’ living arrangements at the turn of the 20th century. Indigenous families have been the main target of assimilation policies of forced relocation and children’s removal to residential schools but have been, and still are, mostly absent from demographic research and official statistics. The TCP data offer a unique opportunity to quantify the devastating effects of colonization on Indigenous families during this crucial historical period, but present challenges given the complexity of historical censuses and their representational nature as colonial settler instruments.

No extended abstract or paper available