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 ©2018 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
The American Heritage Dictionary Blog
Check out our blog, updated regularly, for new words and revised definitions, interesting images from the 5th edition, discussions of usage, and more.
American Heritage Dictionary Products
The American Heritage Dictionary, 5th Edition
The American Heritage Dictionary of Idioms
The American Heritage Roget's Thesaurus
Curious George's Dictionary
The American Heritage Children's Dictionary
The American Heritage Dictionary of Indo-European Roots
The American Heritage Student Grammar Dictionary
The American Heritage Desk Dictionary + Thesaurus
The American Heritage Science Dictionary
The American Heritage Dictionary of Business Terms
The American Heritage Student Dictionary
The American Heritage Essential Student Thesaurus