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A Note About Terminology

Throughout this guide, a variety of words are used to describe resources including material written by, about, and for people of First Nation, Métis, Inuit and non-indigenous backgrounds and cultures.

The ongoing legal use of the word "Indian" by the Government of Canada (ie. The Indian Act) necessitates its inclusion in our guide, despite our awareness of any offense it may cause. Also, American and international resources tend to use the terms "Native American" or "American Indian" rather than Indigenous or First Nations. This is important to keep in mind when doing research, as your word choice greatly impacts catalogue and database search results.

For a detailed history of Aboriginal terminology in Canada, see the article "Words First: an Evolving Terminology Relating to Aboriginal Peoples in Canada," written by the Communications Branch of the Department Indian and Northern Affairs Canada in 2002.

Text compiled from information at Brandon University and Humber College.


You can also visit the Indigenous Foundations or the Indigenous Peoples Terminology Guide from Hill Notes for even more information.

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