What are the most appropriate terms to use when referring to First nations, Metis, and Inuit?

Staff Development / Additional Resources


FNMI is an acronym for First Nations, Metis and Inuit which should only be used in reference to educational or political publications. Referring to these groups using the acronym is considered disrespectful.

First Nations

First Nations refers to status and non-status Indian peoples in Canada, which include over 617 unique Indigenous groups in Canada who have their own distinct culture, language, and traditions and protocols.


The Metis are one of three distinct Indigenous peoples in Canada recognized in the 1982 Canadian Constitution and have a culture, language and traditions distinct from First Nations and Inuit.


Inuit refers to the Indigenous Peoples of Northern Canada who live in Nunavut, the Yukon, Northwest Territories, Northern Quebec and Northern Labrador. Specifically, the Inuit originated in the central and eastern Arctic and Inuvialuit originated in the western Arctic.


Indigenous is a term used globally to refer to the original inhabitants of any region, which includes the three groups of Indigenous people in Canada: First Nations, Metis and Inuit.


An elder is a highly respected member of a First Nations, Metis or Inuit community, who is recognized and identified by members of the community as carrying important wisdom, oral traditions and knowledge of their culture.


Aboriginal is a term that is used in government policy to refer to the first peoples in Canada and their descendants, and includes First Nations, Metis and Inuit.

Visit this link for English Terminology

Visit this link for French Terminology