Migration Theories and First Nations Mobility: Towards a Systems Perspective


  • *A previous version of this paper was presented at the 2003 annual meetings of the Canadian Population Society. The authors thank Dr. Roderic Beaujot for his advice at an early stage. This manuscript was first submitted in January 2004 and accepted in November 2005. Contact: cooke@uwaterloo.ca; dbelang@uwo.ca.


Au Canada, la recherche sur la migration des autochtones vers les centres urbains a mis en avant l'importance de facteurs économiques, les mou-vements de retour étant expliqués comme un échec lié aux difficultés d'adaptation. Les facteurs sous-tendant la migration vers les villes ont été peu étudiés, et des études récentes ont mis l'accent sur l'ampleur des mouvements plutôt que sur d'autres théories. Cet article suggère des voies selon lesquelles on peut avoir recours à une approche systémique pour intégrer des facteurs des contextes politique, économique et social ainsi que des liens individuels, institutionnels et de culture de masse.

The migration of Canadian Aboriginal people to cities has usually been understood as economically motivated, with return migration to Aboriginal communities resulting primarily from failure to adapt to urban life. However, the reasons underlying migration have rarely been directly addressed, and recent studies of migration have focussed on the size of flows, rather than relating this migration stream to theories of migration developed in other contexts. This paper suggests ways in which a systems perspective on migration can be used to incorporate elements of the political, economic and social context, as well as individual, institutional and mass culture links between the two areas.