Aboriginal Adventure

All together in a new and interesting aboriginal adventure. Together because some of us, although interested, are not familiar with many if not all our Aboriginals? Indians? Natives? and many other Canadian words. 

Let's start with some of the words. Let's start with listing, describing and explaining the terms people use when referring to the "indigenous peoples who occupied North America for thousands of years before the European explorers first arrived in the 11th century".

And, let's not forget that Canada is not another word for North America, Canada is located in the northern part of North America.

Many of us do need to better understand the meaning of words such as Aboriginal, Autochtone, Eskimo, First Nations, Indians, Indigenous, Inuit, Métis, Natives, Peoples, Premières nations...

So, let's start with finding out about a vocabulary that will eventually take us to a very interesting and very aboriginal adventure especially since Montreal, just like many other Canadian cities, now highlight the parts played by indigenous cultures in the past as well as those played in the present and in Montreal.

Canada Aboriginal Historic Terms

The following terminology is derived from Quebec Aboriginal Tourism and from Termium Plus of the Canadian Government. 

Autochtone and not Première Nations is the collective French term for the First Nations, the Inuit and the Metis. The English equivalent is Aboriginal such as aboriginal adventure. First Nations and Inuit people who married French Europeans mostly and who are now Métis.

The collective French and English terms Premières Nations and First Nations both refer to all the North American Indians, but do not include the Inuit and the Métis. 

Canada Aboriginal Peoples

Aboriginal refers to the first inhabitants of Canada. As per Section 35 of the Canadian Constitution Act, 1982, the term includes the North America Indians (?!), the Inuit and the Metis Peoples of Canada.

Eskimo is an offensive term that identifies a group of people who live in the northern areas of Alaska, Canada, Greenland and Siberia. The proper terms are Inuk (singular) and Inuit (plural).

Innu on the other hand are members of an indigenous group located in the northeastern part of Québec and in the southern part of Labrador.

First Nations refers to Indian bands and to all the North American Indians except the Inuit and the Metis. First Nations is used as a noun or as an adjective. 

Meaning of Aboriginal

The name Indian comes from Christopher Columbus who, mistakenly thought he had reached India and thus called the aboriginals Indians. Nowadays, it is frowned upon to use the word Indian when referring to an autochtone people in a casual conversation. 

The Indian Act is a Canadian federal law that governs in matters pertaining to North American Indian status, Indian bands and Indian reserves and each of their official English and French names.

An Indian Band also referred as a First Nation band is the basic government unit for those who are subject to the Indian Act.

Aboriginal Cultural Tour

Indian reserves are tracts of lands set aside under the Indian Act and treaty agreements for the exclusive use of Indian bands. Indian reserve is the term used in Canada while Indian reservation is used in United States.

The Indian Register (!?) is the official record of Registered Indians (!?) in Canada. They both refer to the specific legal identity of the Canadian Aboriginal peoples. Rights and benefits that are not granted to unregistered North American Indians, preferably called Aboriginal peoples, Inuit and Métis.

In Canada, the terms Indigenous peoples or Aboriginal peoples are collective terms that refer to the First Nations, the Métis and the Inuit peoples. Then again, "Native American is the most common and most neutral term used in United States, while First Nations is the preferred term in Canada, although both terms exclude the Inuit."

Welcome to our Aboriginal Adventure

Inuit (plural) refers to a specific group of people who, for the most part, live in the far northern areas and who are not considered North American Indians under the Canadian law. Inuktitut is their language.

The issue of the Métis identity continues to be the topic of much debate and discussion, since the rights of the Métis depend on identifying the people who are entitled to such rights, and then on specifying what those rights are.

In Canada, the terms Aboriginal and Indigenous are preferred to the term Native. Many feel that native has a negative connotation and is outdated.

The plural Peoples refers to more than one Aboriginal group. Aboriginal People for an Aboriginal individual and Aboriginal Peoples for more than one Aboriginal population such as the First Nations, the Inuit, and the Métis.

Montreal TOURIST Kit

Aboriginal Adventure by Rachel Louise Barry