More terminology -

 First Nation(s)

A term that came into common usage in the 1970s to replace the word "Indian," which some people found offensive. Although the term First Nation is widely used, no legal definition of it exists. Among its uses, the term "First Nations peoples" refers to the Indian peoples in Canada, both Status and Non-Status. Some Indian peoples have also adopted the term "First Nation" to replace the word "band" in the name of their community.

Suggested usage:

Capitalize. The Department capitalizes "First Nation" as it would other designations like "Francophone," "Arabic" or "Nordic."

Use as a noun and a modifier. The term "First Nation" is acceptable as both. When using the term as a modifier, the question becomes whether to use "First Nation" or "First Nations." Note the different uses in the following examples.

(plural modifier, plural noun)
The number of First Nations students enrolled at Canadian universities and colleges has soared over the past twenty years.

(singular modifier, plural noun)
The association assists female First Nation entrepreneurs interested in starting home businesses.

(plural modifier, singular noun)
Containing recipes from across the country, the First Nations cookbook became an instant hit at church bazaars.

(singular modifier, singular noun)
Many people have said that North of 60 and The Rez were the only shows on television that depicted life in a First Nation community with any realism.

There is no clear right or wrong in this area, provided that writers are consistent about the way they choose to use modifiers.




The term "Indian" collectively describes all the Indigenous people in Canada who are not Inuit or Métis. Indian peoples are one of three peoples recognized as Aboriginal in the Constitution Act, 1982. It specifies that Aboriginal people in Canada consist of the Indian, Inuit and Métis peoples.

There are three categories of Indians in Canada: Status Indians, Non-Status Indians and Treaty Indians.

The term "Indian" is considered outdated by many people, and there is much debate over whether to continue using this term. The Department, following popular usage, typically uses the term "First Nation" instead of "Indian," except in the following cases:

Suggested usage:

Capitalize. The Department capitalizes "Indian," "Status Indian," "Non-Status Indian," and "Treaty Indian" as it would other designations like "Francophone," "Arabic" or "Nordic."

Use as a noun and a modifier. The term is acceptable as both.



The word "Métis" is French for "mixed blood." The Canadian Constitution recognizes Métis people as one of the three Aboriginal peoples.

Historically, the term "Métis" applied to the children of French fur traders and Cree women in the Prairies, and of English and Scottish traders and Dene women in the North. Today, the term is used broadly to describe people with mixed First Nations and European ancestry who identify themselves as Métis, distinct from Indian people, Inuit, or non-Aboriginal people. (Many Canadians have mixed Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal ancestry, but not all identify themselves as Métis.) Note that Métis organizations in Canada have differing criteria about who qualifies as a Métis person.

Suggested usage:

Capitalize. The Department capitalizes "Métis" as it would other designations like "Francophone," "Arabic" or "Nordic."

Accent or no accent? Many people and groups, particularly in the West and the North, have dropped the accent in Métis. Both spellings are acceptable in English, but the Department continues to use the accent. Regardless of your preference, it is a good idea to always check the names of individual Métis organizations before you publish them. For example, the Metis Council of Ontario and the Metis Association of the NWT do not take an accent; the Métis National Council does take an accent.

This Department (INAC) is not involved with Metis issues. These are dealt with by the federal Interlocator's office at PCO.        We are not Metis.......

Turtle Island

Page created by: muckwa
Changes last made on: May 5, 2005.