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Words matter — Indigenous Terminology

SAIT uses the terms “Indigenous” and “Aboriginal” interchangeably as a collective name to address the First Nations, Métis, and Inuit peoples in Canada. We recognize individuals and communities have different preferences on how they would like to be addressed, and SAIT strives to be respectful of this preference in our communications.

Aboriginal

Refers to the various Indian tribes indigenous to the Americas before contact with Europeans, or any persons descended from those first inhabitants. Indians, Inuit and Métis are identified as Aboriginal Peoples of Canada in the Constitution Act of 1982, Sec. 35(2).

First Nations

Refers to a politically autonomous band under The Indian Act, a nation of First Peoples.

Indian

Used to describe those who are defined as Indians within the meaning of the Indian Act.

Indigenous

Refers to all inhabitants indigenous to North America before contact with Euro-Canadians, and their descendants. Indigenous Peoples is a collective noun for First Nations, Inuit and Métis.

Inuit

A culturally distinct Indigenous people in northern Canada.

Métis

People born of or descended from both European and Indian parents. The Métis National Council defines Métis as “a person who self-identifies as Métis, is distinct from other Aboriginal Peoples, is of historic Métis Nations ancestry and who is accepted by the Métis Nation.”

Source: R.F Laliberte, Priscilla Settee, Rob Innes, et al., Expressions in Canadian Native Studies, (Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, University of Saskatchewan Extension Press, 2000), 560.

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