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Aboriginal Peoples are the descendants of the original inhabitants of North America. The Canadian Constitution recognizes three groups of Aboriginals – Indians, Métis and Inuit. They are three separate peoples with unique heritages, languages, cultural practices and spiritual beliefs.

A descendant of the original inhabitants of Canada, who continues to have an Aboriginal interest in the traditional lands held by his or her ancestors. All Aboriginal interests are protected under the Constitution Act, 1982.

A body of Indians declared by the Governor-in-Council to be a band for the purposes of the Indian Act. See First Nations.

The band’s governing body created under the provisions of the Indian Act and delegated under the authority of the Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development. It has the power of local self-government, but the degree of power varies with each band.

A list of persons who are members of a particular band.

An Indian whose name is on a band list or is entitled to have his or her name on a band list.

An Indian born of a marriage entered into on or after September 4, 1951, lost entitlement to registration at the age of 21 years if his/her mother and paternal grandmother were not recognized as Indians before their marriages. This clause first appeared in 1951 legislation and was eliminated in the 1985 amendments to the Indian Act.

A process by which an Indian gave up Indian status and band membership. Enfranchisement was abolished in the 1985 amendments to the Indian Act.

The legal right to benefits, income and property that may not be reduced without due process under the law.

First Nations is a common title used in Canada to describe the various societies of indigenous peoples of North America located in what is now Canada, who are not of Inuit or Métis descent. First Nations is used as a substitute for “band” in referring to any Aboriginal group recognized by the Canadian government under the federal Indian Act of 1876.

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.” (Most First Nations are offended by the term “Indian.” They find it demeaning because the term “Indian” was given to the First Nations Peoples by the Europeans.)

Aboriginal Peoples in Canada are recognized in the Canadian Constitution Act of 1982 as the Indians (First Nations), Métis and Inuit. The term First Peoples is often used synonymously. As of the 2001 Census there were over 900,000 Aboriginal Peoples in Canada. This includes about 600,000 people of Indian or First Nations descent, 290,000 Métis and 45,000 Inuit.

A list of all persons, registered as Indians in the Indian Register, who are not members of a band.

Indian describes all the Aboriginal Peoples in Canada who are not Inuit or Métis. Indian peoples are one of three groups of people recognized as Aboriginal in the Constitution Act of 1982. The act specifies that Aboriginal Peoples in Canada consist of Indians, Inuit and Métis people. In addition, there are three legal definitions that apply to Indians in Canada: status Indians, non-status Indians and treaty Indians.

A centralized record of all persons registered as Indians in Canada.

Inuit are Aboriginal people in northern Canada who live above the tree line in the Northwest Territories, Northern Quebec and Labrador. The word means “people” in the Inuit language, Inuktitut. The singular of Inuit is Inuk.

Métis are people of mixed First Nation and European ancestry who identify themselves as Métis people as distinct from First Nations, Inuit or non-Aboriginals. The Métis have a unique culture that draws on their diverse ancestral origins, such as Scottish, French, Ojibway and Cree.

A non-status Indian is an Indian person who is not registered as an Indian under the Indian Act. This may be because his or her ancestors were never registered, or because he or she lost status under former provisions of the Indian Act.

Refers to the general population.

Refers to peoples who have the right to self-determination, according to International Law.

 Land in the United States set apart by the government for the common use and benefit of an Indian tribe.

Land in Canada set apart by the federal government for the common use and benefits of an Indian band.

The government department official who is in charge of the Indian Register and the band lists maintained by the department.

A certificate, offered to persons of Indian ancestry primarily in the Northwest Territories and Prairie provinces, as a one-time payment in money or land in exchange for their Aboriginal rights in and to the land. It is sometimes referred to in legislation as “half-breed lands and money scrip”. Persons who took scrip were not entitled to treaty rights.

A status Indian is an Indian person who is registered under the Indian Act. The act sets out the requirements for determining whether someone is a status Indian.

A formal, ratified agreement or compact.

An Aboriginal person who, through descent from persons who participated in a designated treaty with the Crown, is entitled to the benefits that flow from the provisions of that treaty. It is generally, but not always, included in the genealogical lists maintained by the federal department of Indian Affairs.

 A treaty Indian is a status Indian who belongs to a First Nation that signed a treaty with the Crown. A treaty Indian can also be a person of Aboriginal ancestry who holds treaty status under the Indian Act, as identified through the municipality codes indicating the registered reserve.

 Although no two treaties are identical, they usually provide for certain rights including annuities, hunting, reserve lands and other benefits. The rights of treaty Indians depend on the precise conditions of their particular band’s treaty.