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First Nation
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n.
Canadian
An organized aboriginal group or community, especially any of the bands officially recognized by the Canadian government.

First Nations adj.

Usage Note: First Nation is widely used in Canada as a respectful alternative to Indian, much as Native American is in the United States. However, the two terms are not exact equivalents. First Nation is essentially a political term used as a substitute for band in referring to any of the numerous aboriginal groups formally recognized by the Canadian government under the Indian Act of 1876. Unlike Native American, it is not a comprehensive ethnic term for all indigenous peoples of the Americas or even of Canada. While it is sometimes used loosely in referring to Indian groups other than those identified in the 1876 Act, it specifically does not include non-Indian peoples such as the Inuit or the Métis. · First Nation has no form for an individual who is a member of a qualifying group. Officially, such a person is known as a status Indian or in some cases a treaty Indian.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2017 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
 

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