More Naming Conventions

American Indian versus Native American

by Borgna Brunner

Native North Americans of Canada

Aboriginal people: The Canadian Constitution recognizes three groups of Aboriginal peoples: First Nations (Indians), Métis, and Inuit.

First Nations: in Canada, this is the preferred alternative to Indian. In addition to First Nations, other terms used include Native Canadians and Aboriginals.
Usage notes:
Indian and Northern Affairs Canada
American Heritage Dictionary

Inuit: the term of preference for the Native people of the Canadian Arctic and Greenland. The term "Eskimo" is considered offensive in Canada (but not in Alaska).
Usage notes:
Indian and Northern Affairs Canada
American Heritage Dictionary

Métis: Métis people, those of "mixed blood" (mixed European and Native ancestry), are one one of the three Aboriginal peoples officially recognized in Canada.
Usage notes:
Indian and Northern Affairs Canada
The Canadian Encylopedia

For a general discussion of terms used in Canada, see "Words First: An Evolving Terminology Relating to Aboriginal Peoples in Canada", Indian and Northern Affairs Canada.

Native North Americans of Alaska

Alaska Native: The official name used by the U.S. government to refer to the aboriginal people of Alaska, which includes including American Indian, Eskimo, and Aleut peoples. See http://www.pbs.org/harriman/1899/native.html

Eskimo: The Native people of the Arctic coastal regions of North America and parts of Greenland and northeast Siberia. The term is used in Alaska but is considered offensive in Canada.
Usage Notes:
American Heritage
Alaska Native Language Center

Aleut: The Native people inhapiting the Aleutian Islands and coastal areas of southwest Alaska.

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