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Words First An Evolving Terminology Relating to Aboriginal Peoples in Canada Communications Branch Indian and Northern Affairs Canada October 2002 Please note that the provisions of the Indian Act , its regulations, other federal statutes and their interpretation by the courts take precedence over the content of this terminology guide. The purpose of Words First: An Evolving Terminology Relating to Aboriginal Peoples in Canada is to provide writers with background information and guidance on appropriate word usage and style issues. Words First is not a legal document. This evolving terminology helps answer specific questions on language usage that writers may encounter. Sample sentences are given to assist in clarifying these questions. Introduction Guidelines Organization of Words First Collective names to describe the original peoples of North America and their descendants More narrowly defined groups of Aboriginal people Terms associated with communities and community organization American usage Aboriginal people(s) Aboriginal people Aboriginal peoples non- Aboriginal people Aboriginal nations Aboriginal rights Aboriginal self-government Aboriginal title
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American Indian band band council Bill C-31 custom Eskimo First Nation(s) First Nation First Nations people First Peoples Indian Status Indians Non-Status Indians Treaty Indian Indian Act Indian status indigenous/Indigenous Innu Inuvialuit Inuit "Inuk" Inuit communities Inuit regions land claims M é tis Native
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Native American the North vs. the north Northerner(s) vs. northerner(s) Nunavut off-reserve oral history reservation reserve on-reserve/off- reserve surrender tribal council tribe
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Introduction Aboriginal peoples have occupied the territory now called Canada for thousands of years. Many diverse and autonomous peoples lived in this territory and had distinct languages, cultures, religious beliefs and political systems. Each community or culture had its own name for its people and names for the peoples around them. When Columbus arrived in North America, he gave the name "Indian" to the people he encountered. This misnomer was based on the mistaken notion that he had landed in India. Today, terms to describe Aboriginal peoples are continually evolving. Understanding the distinctions among these words and to whom they apply can be a challenge for writers. This lexicon of words describes or relates to Aboriginal peoples in Canada. It was created by the Communications Branch at Indian and Northern Affairs Canada (INAC) to help departmental staff with terminology usage. Although it was written with INAC staff in mind, the guide will also be useful to anyone who wants to write or learn about Aboriginal peoples in Canada.
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