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There are many interpretations of the descriptions and phrases used for the Aboriginal People and the topics of this website. This page was designed to assist in defining what each phrase or term means.
arrowhead.gif (1335 bytes) Honour Roll Listings
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arrowhead.gif (1335 bytes) History of Native Veterans
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arrowhead.gif (1335 bytes) Treaty Areas of NWO
arrowhead.gif (1335 bytes) Glossary of Terms and Phrases
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Aboriginal peoples:

The descendants of the original inhabitants of North America. The Canadian Constitution recognizes three groups of Aboriginal people; Indians, Metis people and Inuit. These are three separate groups of people with unique heritages, languages, cultural practises and spiritual beliefs.


A group of First Nation people for whom lands have been set apart and moneys held in trust by the Crown. Each band has its own governing band council which consists of one or more chiefs and several councilors. Community members choose the chief and councilors by election, or by traditional band custom. The members of a band generally share common values, traditions and practices from their shared ancestral heritage. Presently, many bands prefer recognition as First Nations.


A term which describes all Aboriginal people in Canada who are not either Inuit or Metis. Indian peoples are one of the of the three groups recognized as Aboriginal in the Constitution Act, 1982. The act defines Aboriginal people in Canada consists of Indians, Inuit and Metis people. In addition, there are three legal definition which also apply to Indians in Canada; Status Indian, Non-status Indian and Treaty Indian.

Status Indian:

An Indian person who is registered under the Indian Act. The act sets out the requirements for determining who is a Status Indian.

Non-Status Indian:

An Indian person who is not registered as an Indian under the Indian Act. This may be due to the individual's ancestors had never registered or due to lost Indian Status under previous provisions of the various Indian Acts.

Treaty Indian:

A Status Indian who belongs to a First Nation or Band which signed a treaty with the Crown.


People of mixed First nation and European ancestry which identify themselves as Metis people, as distinct from Indian people, Inuit or non-Aboriginal people. The Metis have a unique culture which draws on their diverse ancestral origins which may include French, Scottish, Ojibway and Cree.


An Aboriginal people in Northern Canada who live above the tree line in the Northwest Territories, Northern Quebec and Labrador. The word essentially means "people" in the Inuit language.

First Nation:

A term which became widely used in the 1970s to replace the word "Indian," which was considered to be derogatory. Although the term First Nation is widely used, no legal definition of the term exists. Among the uses, the term "First Nations peoples" refers to the Indian people in Canada, both Status and Non-Status. Many Indian people have also adopted the term First Nation" to replace the word "band" in the name of their community.

Indian Act:

This refers to a Canadian federal legislation, first passed in 1876, that sets out certain federal government obligations, and regulates the management of Indian reserve lands. The act has been amended several times. The most recent amendment was in 1985. Among its many provisions, the act requires the Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development to manage certain moneys belonging to First Nations and Indian lands, and to approve of or disallow First Nations by-laws.


Land set aside by the federal government for the use and occupancy of an Indian group or band.


A term used to describe people, services or objects that are not part of a reserve but relate to First Nations.

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A term refers to treaties which the First Nations band had entered into with the federal government to ensure and maintain certain aboriginal privileges and provisions in exchange for the use of land by the federal government.

Robinson-Superior Treaty:

A treaty entered into by First Nations located around Lake Superior entered into with the federal government in 1850. The treaty lands range around Lake Superior and north of the lake. The treaty is officially entitled, " Robinson Treaty Made in the Year 1850 with the Ojibway Indians of Lake Superior Conveying Certain Lands to the Crown.

Treaty Number 3:

A treaty entered into by First Nations located from the western portion of Ontario (northwest of Thunder Bay) entered into with the federal government in 1873. Adhesions to the treaty were made in 1874. The treaty lands range from the United States Border west to the Manitoba border from which it traces the watershed line midway throughout Northern Ontario to near Lake Nipigon. The treaty is officially entitled, "Treaty 3 between Her Majesty the Queen and the Saulteaux Tribe of the Ojibway Indians at the Northwest Angle on the Lake of the Woods with Adhesions."

Treaty Number 9:

A treaty entered into by First Nations located from the northern portion of Ontario entered into with the federal government in 1905 and 1906. Adhesions to the treaty were made in 1929 and 1930. The treaty lands range from Quebec to Manitoba from north of the watershed line midway throughout Northern Ontario. The treaty is officially entitled, "The James Bay Treaty - Treaty 9."