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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