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First Nations and Indigenous Studies

First Nations / Aboriginal Terminology

Guide to BC First Nation's traditional territories. Names of BC First Nations with pronunciation guide from BC Ministry of Aboriginal Relations & Reconciliation. 2007.

Indigenous Peoples: Language Guidelines. A guide to help you to understand the correct terminology to use when writing about Indigenous peoples. 2016.

Terminology A-Z University of Manitoba (Aboriginal Student Centre). A series of 26 brief pamphlets created to help answer some frequently ask questions, including a terminology guide A-Z.

A Note on Terminology Inuit Tapirisat. Inuit perspectives on terminology.

Report of the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples  A Note on Terminology. Vol 1. p. xiv-xv. (online). Canada. (1996).

Who Are Canada's Aboriginal Peoples? Saskatoon: Purich. Chartrand, Paul L. A. H. (2002).Legal and political issues related to the identity and rights of the various groups of Aboriginal people in Canada.

Research on Aboriginal Hertiage Terminology Guide Library and Archives Canada

Words First Indian and Northern Affairs. A brief overview of legal definitions.

Guides for Journalists and Broadcasters

Reporting in Indigenous Communities (RIIC): Lexicon and Terminology. Aimed at those writing press materials, including discussion of how and why terms are used in certain ways and not others.

Strategic Alliance of Broadcasters for Aboriginal Reflection (SABAR) Key Terms "online glossary to assist reporters/journalists who cover First Nations/ Aboriginal issues"

Journalists for Human Rights' style guide is available online. Please note that the Inuit section of JHR style guide contains several errors that have been replicated in the Canadian Press Stylebook.


Terminology at a Glance. Aboriginal Identity

"The ways in which Aboriginal peoples in Canada self-identify and are defined by the state—and the ways in which these two systems of definition, one based in law and legislation, the other in family tradition and community practice, are frequently in conflict." Read more at Indigenous Foundations


"If you are unsure about names and terms, ask the Aboriginal people you’re reporting on which term they prefer."
Duncan McCue, Reporting in Indigenous Communities