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Indian vs Aboriginal vs Indigenous: Which Term is Correct? Indigenous Awareness Training

Updated: Aug 8, 2023

Hi there and welcome to CIPS and welcome to the Curve Lake First Nation.

I'm Mike Jacobs (CEO of CIPS) and I'm here to let you know about the three different words (terms) used for Indigenous People today. What we hear a lot is the term "Indian",

we hear the term Aboriginal, and we hear the term Indigenous.

The thing about the 3 words is that they are all accurate, unfortunately in today's world.

The (term) "Indian" comes from the Indian Act and the Indian Act legislation which is still in place today. Which means that is some legal context, the word "Indian" is still

required in our country.

The word "Aboriginal" comes from the constitution and the (Canadian) constitution says that Aboriginal People are Inuit, Metis and Status Indians (First Nations members). We

have that as a part of the (Canadian) constitution so the word Aboriginal refers to those groups.

The term Indigenous is a more contemporary word that we use today that actually groups Indigenous People into one population in Canada. Unfortunately that also has some

issues with it meaning that in Ontario alone there are 133 First Nations groups all considered their own Nation.

There are a number of Metis organizations and there are a number of Inuit populations so when you are using the language you have to know context it is you are using and

why you are using that information.

Mike Jacobs, CEO Cambium Indigenous Professional Services



•A word from the Indian Act still relevant, but not regarded as acceptable outside of courtrooms and statistics today

•Does Not apply to Métis and Inuit populations


•The constitutional terminology of Aboriginal Peoples as stated in Section 35

includes: Indian, Inuit and Métis.

Indigenous Peoples of Canada

•Generally accepted terminology and refers to First Nations, Métis and Inuit

•There is no legal definition for the word ‘Indigenous’ in Canada

Thanks and have a great day and let us know if we can teach you more on our Indigenous Awareness programs. If you are thinking about doing business with a First Nations Community and not sure how to get started, please feel free to contact us at (705) 657-1126

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