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What is the correct terminology: American Indian, Indian, Native American, Indigenous, or Native?

All of these terms are acceptable. The consensus, however, is that whenever possible, Native people prefer to be called by their specific tribal name. In the United States, Native American has been widely used but is falling out of favor with some groups, and the terms American Indian or Indigenous American are preferred by many Native people. Native peoples often have individual preferences on how they would like to be addressed. When talking about Native groups or people, use the terminology the members of the community use to describe themselves collectively.

What do Indigenous people in Canada call themselves?

The Canadian Indian Act specifies that the aboriginal people of Canada consist of Indians, Métis, and Inuit people. (The Métis have both Native and French Canadian ancestors, and the Inuit, once known as the Eskimo, are a Native people of the Artic.) First Nation came into use in the 1970s in Canada to replace the word Indian. However, as with Native people in the United States and Spanish-speaking countries in the Americas, it is always preferable to be as specific as possible when describing someone’s cultural affiliation.

 

What terms are used to describe Indigenous people in Spanish-speaking countries in the Americas?

In Central and South America, the direct translations for Indian and tribe have negative connotations. As a result, Spanish speakers use indígenas and comunidad respectively. However, as with Native people in the United States and Canada, it is always preferable to be as specific as possible when describing someone’s cultural affiliation.

Frequently Asked Questions | Native Knowledge 360° - Interactive Teaching Resources (si.edu)

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