Difference between aboriginal and first nations
aboriginal vs first nations:
While it seems like the terms aboriginal and first nations are two different things, it is indeed used synonymously to refer to the same set of people although the usage of these two terms vary according to the context and the parts of the world in which they are used. However, there exists a subtle difference as to what is aboriginal and what is first nations with regards to how both the words are used.
What is aboriginal?
Aboriginal refers to the indigenous people of a country and in this case, particularly in Canada. There are three types of aboriginal people in Canada, namely, the first nations, the Inuit and the Metis. The term aboriginal has come to use with the discarding of the terms Indian and Eskimo which were considered as offensive.
As calculated in 2006, the aboriginal people of Canada totals at 1,172,790 people, or 3.8% of the national population. These people with their own distinctive cultures, art, music and language have contributed greatly in shaping and molding the Canadian cultural identity.
What is first nations?
The term first nations is a collective term which is used to refer to various aboriginal people in Canada except for the Inuit and the Metis. Over 630 First Nations governments or bands have been recognised in Canada consisting of a population of over 700,000 people. Even though they are not recognized as a visible minority group by the criteria of Statistics Canada they are defined as a designated group under the Employment Equity Act along with visible minorities, women and individuals with disabilities.
Yet, the term first nations is not commonly used nowadays since it has become a trend for the first nations people to refer to themselves by their tribal or national identities instead of being generally referred to as a first nations people.
What is the difference between first nations and aboriginal?
These two terms bear no significant difference as both terms are used to refer to the one and the same group of people. Yet, the term aboriginal have come to be more popular among people than the term first nations today, which has replaced terms such as Indians and Eskimos which were considered as offensive. Yet, the term aboriginal is used as a more general term which is used to describe all of the indigenous groups of Canada, including the first nations, Inuits and the Metis whereas the term first nations refers to the various indigenous groups in Canada except the Inuits and the Metis.