First Nation

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See also: First Nations


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First Nation (plural First Nations)

  1. An Indian settlement or band.
    • 2008, "Band Sues for Waterfront Property" in the Edmonton Sun, April 4, 2008.[1]
      "The Campbell River First Nation claims the 40 hectares of prime real estate has been illegally acquired, and it wants the land returned to it, along with damages."
  2. (Canada, usually in the plural) The indigenous peoples of Canada (not including Inuit or Metis).
    • 2001, Quebec, Francois Remillard, Hunter Publishing, Inc, →ISBN, pg. 27:
      Generally speaking, the works of First Nations artists were made with materials such as wood, leather or cloth.
  3. (Canada, less common) The indigenous peoples of any country or region.
    • 2006, Scott Simon, "Formosa's First Nations and the Japanese: from colonial rule to postcolonial resistance," Japan Focus, ISSN 1557-4660, [2]:
      As “savages” become soldiers, and soldiers become social activists, the tribe has rapidly developed a First Nations identity as advocates of both stripes mobilize memories of past resistance in different contexts. Whether the state is green or blue, therefore, Taroko memories will continue to shape the relationship between state and tribe.


First Nation (not comparable)

  1. (usually in the plural) Of or pertaining to a First Nation or the First Nations.
    • 2008, "Ontario Chiefs unite against jailing" in Kenora Daily Miner and News, April 4, 2008.[3]
      First Nation leaders in Ontario will support demonstrations and protests, until six band councillors are released from jail.


Usage notes[edit]

In Canada, First Nations is the usual term in official use, news media, and polite conversation. Indian has come to have a stigma attached to it because of its origin in Columbus thinking he had arrived in India, but it remains in common use officially (e.g., Canadian government Department of Indian and Northern Affairs) as well as colloquially by First Nations people themselves, and other Canadians. According to the Canadian Oxford Dictionary, "it is also the only clear way to distinguish among the three general groups of Canadian Aboriginal people (Indians, Inuit, and Metis)."


  • “First Nation” in the Canadian Oxford Dictionary, Second Edition, Oxford University Press, 2004.