Encyclopedia of Critical Psychology

2014 Edition
| Editors: Thomas Teo

Aboriginal Peoples

  • Carrie BourassaEmail author
  • Angelina Baydala
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4614-5583-7_1


The term Aboriginal is highly debated among First Nations, Métis, and Inuit people in Canada. For some, it is not a term they can identify with because it is a government creation and homogenizes very diverse populations. For others, it recognizes legal and inherent rights.


In Canada, the term “Indian” is a legal term and can be found originally in Section 91(24) of the Constitution Act, 1867 which gave the federal government exclusive legislative authority over “Indians and lands reserved for Indians” (Palmater, 2011). While the Act did not define the term “Indian,” the Indian Act, 1876 did define the term in Section 2(1) as “a person who pursuant to this Act is registered as an Indian or is entitled to be registered as an Indian.” The Actprescribed what “Indianness” meant and was an inherently sexist piece of legislation. For example, an Indian man who married a non-Indian woman would retain his status (and the non-Indian woman and her children would gain...

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  1. Lawrence, B. (2004). “Real” Indians and others – Mixed-blood urban native peoples and indigenous nationhood. Vancouver, BC, Canada: UBC Press.Google Scholar
  2. Palmater, P. (2011). Beyond blood: Rethinking indigenous identity. Saskatoon, SK, Canada: Purich.Google Scholar
  3. Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples. (1996a). [Online]. Retrieved from http://www.ainc-inac.gc.ca/ch/rcap
  4. Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples. (1996b). Volume 3, gathering strength [Online]. Retrieved from http://caid.ca/RRCAP3.0.pdf
  5. Voyageur, C., & Calliou, B. (2000/2001). Various shades of red: Diversity within Canada’s indigenous community. London Journal of Canadian Studies, 16, 109–124.Google Scholar

Online Resources

  1. RCAP. Volume 3, gathering strength. http://caid.ca/RRCAP3.0.pdf

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Indigenous Education, Health and Social WorkFirst Nations University of CanadaReginaCanada
  2. 2.Clinical Psychologist, Independent PracticeEdmontonCanada