For those of you who do not understand the cover title 'Canada's First Nations Forever;' It is a reference to the Indigenous Peoples of Canada. We are often referred to as Native People, Aboriginal People, or the stereotypical 'Canadian Indian.' More often than not; the title of 'Indian' is used by the majority of non-Native persons when speaking of the Indigenous People of this land called Canada.
When Columbus landed in the Americas, the mixed up Dude thought he was in India so he called our ancestors 'Indians.' Seems strange how that name still stuck even after the non-Native world finally figured out where they were. It wasn't India by the way. It still isn't India! But that's all neither here nor there now is it? There real fact of the matter is that we're always going to be referred to as 'Indians' anyway even though we're not. Go figure!
In all honesty, it really doesn't matter to me one way or the other since I'm not particular about what I'm called anyway. The problem is that a great many Native People would rather be called First Nations People, Native People, or Aboriginal People rather that 'Indian.' Concerning those individuals, I am of the opinion that their wishes should be honorably respected by civilized people everywhere. I mean, you are obviously a member of a particular ethnic group; would you like being called something you're not? Ain't no Engishman gonna like being called Irish or the other way around! No defamation intended, I just needed an example! You get my drift concerning this issue at any rate, of that I'm certain, and that's the simple point I wished to make. Now that another informative little piece has been said, lets get on with it!
OK! Number one; There ain't no such thing as an 'Indian,'at least regarding the Indigenous People of Canada! The word is a legal fiction! That's like naming your dog 'fido' or your cat 'twinkles' ok? Remember that Columbus Dude? This still ain't India! In which case I don't even exist in the real world, but according to Canadian law I'm an 'Indian!' Why am I an 'Indian?' Because the Canadian Government says I am! Sound like we're going around in circles here?
Number two; Maybe I don't want to be called 'Indian' anymore! Because if you read all them old western books or watch them old western movies I'm always the 'bad guy.' Like, maybe I want to be the 'good guy' for a change! It's a bummer being stereotyped as a dirty savage all the time. Hey! Don't kid yourselves! You'd be surprised at how little things have changed! Nevertheless, back to my point we go! How do I 'not' be an 'Indian' even though I ain't real anyway? Well, since it's the Canadian Government who made me an 'Indian' and not an 'Angel' because that word was already taken, I guess I gotta change the law!
Number three; I'm going to Ottawa, the capital of Canada and I'm gonna change the law so I can be the 'good guy.' So, I say to them Government guys "I wanna change the law here Dudes." They say "waddaya mean?" I say "I don't wanna be an 'Indian' no more!" They go and look my name up in the books, find out I'm a Registered Indian and tell me that the law says I'm a Registered Indian and that I'm a ward of the Canadian Government! I say 'Huh?' So they explain! "Since I'm a Registered Indian, I'm a ward of the Federal Government of Canada and they have decided that I am a Registered Indian and made a law way back when, which states that very fact." So there! They further add that "Since I am a ward of the Federal Government of Canada it is their responsibility to look after me and help me out any way they can." So I say "Well good, help me 'not' be an 'Indian' anymore then." They say "We can't do that because the law says it isn't in your best interests." Well they ain't getting rid of me that easy, so I say "You got the power to change the law Dudes, go for it." They say "If we change the law so you ain't an 'Indian' anymore then we would not be responsible for your welfare anymore, and since we have your best interests at heart, you have to stay an 'Indian.' Sorry!" Well, I'm getting real irritated now and I say "There ain't no such thing as an 'Indian!'" They say "Look at your Status Card sir! Good day!"
Number four; So you see, Dudes and Dudesses, me and the rest of the Indigenous People in Canada are only 'Indians' on paper and it'll take a miracle to change that little oversight in order to allow us to be what we want to be! Even the 'what' is still under debate. So until the Government of Canada figures out what they can call us, or until we can figure out what we want to be called, please be kind, and next time you talk to an 'Indian' ask him or her what they would like to be referred to as! Maybe just Jim or Mary or any other first name will do! You think?
This is actually pretty simple. All I want to know is; "What should the Indigenous People of Canada be called?" (1) Aboriginal People, (2) Indigenous People, (3) Native People, (4) First Nations People, or (5) Something else Polite?
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