Gladue panel standards

Aboriginal identity: Quick facts glossary

60s Scoop

Refers to the mass removal of Aboriginal children from their families into the child welfare system, where children were placed into care and largely adopted out to non-Aboriginal families as a means of forced assimilation.


A term used primarily in Canada and Australia to describe populations and cultural groups that are Indigenous to the land base that each country occupies. In Canada, the term Aboriginal is used broadly to describe several different cultural groups whose ancestors were Indigenous to North America prior to European settlement. Canada’s Constitution formally recognizes the Aboriginal Peoples of Canada as the Indian, Inuit and Métis peoples.

Aboriginal/Native Courtworker

Refers to a program which intends to help First Nation, Métis and Inuit involved in the justice system obtain fair, equitable and culturally-sensitive treatment. In Ontario, this program is facilitated by the Ontario Federation of Indigenous Friendship Centres, Aboriginal Legal Services, and in one case, a First Nation community (Akwesasne). There are both Criminal and Family Aboriginal Courtworkers available in specific courts across the province. Aboriginal courtworkers help to address barriers inherent in the justice system by bridging the cultural gap, being aware of the values, customs, languages and socio-economic conditions of First Nation, Métis and Inuit in Ontario. Aboriginal courtworkers provide legal information clients, make referrals, advocate these services before the court, help develop plans of care, aid in document preparation, liaising with counsel and the court.

Aboriginal Peoples

Under Section 35(2) of the Canadian Constitution Act (1982) the Indian (First Nation), Métis and Inuit are recognized as Aboriginal Peoples of Canada

Aboriginal Person

A person who self-identifies with an Aboriginal culture including, but not limited to: First Nation, Métis or Inuit.

Aboriginal Self-Identification Question

A standardized question to be utilized by Legal Aid Ontario at every point of contact for legal aid services that allows all clients the opportunity to identify as Aboriginal, including First Nation, Métis and Inuit, regardless of legal status or where they live.


A First Nation cultural group, whose traditional lands included most of what became present day Canada. The cultural group has its own distinct culture, spirituality, customs, practices and languages. It is comprised of seven sub-cultural groups which include: Ojibway, Odawa, Pottawatomi, Algonquin, Mississauga, Chippewa and Saulteaux Nations.

Band List

An official registry, maintained by a government official known as the Indian Registrar, under the Department of Indigenous Affairs and Norther Development. This document determines who is eligible to be registered as an Indian under the Indian Act. It identifies those persons who are eligible for services, benefits and restriction imposed by the Indian Act.

Blood Quantum

In the United States of America, through legislation known as “Indian blood laws”, a person’s blood quantum or percentage of their ancestors who are documented as full-blood Native Americans, is considered when establishing oneself as Native American or determining membership to a particular tribe or Native American community. No such laws or legislation exist in Canada, and therefore are not taken into consideration as part of LAO’s self-identification policy.


A term used to describe the practice of domination, which involves the subjugations of one people to another.


A term used to describe the ongoing process of control by which one society dominates another society. This often includes measures of oppression, segregation, assimilation and subjugation.

Cultural Competency

A set of behaviours, attitudes and policies that enable individuals and organizations to work effectively and provide services in cross-cultural situations.


A term that according to the Canadian Human Rights Commission, refers to an action or a decision that treats a person or a group negatively for reasons such as their race, age or disability.


Various policies, processes, and measures contained in the Indian Act and other legislation through which to remove individual’s Indian Status, thereby eliminating the government’s obligations to those individuals.

First Nation

A term that many Indigenous people residing in North America use to describe themselves. It has come to replace the term Indian. There are many cultural groups that utilize the term First Nation as part of their identity.


A term, which is derived from the 1999 Supreme Court of Canada decision R. v. Gladue, that has come to describe the special considerations for Aboriginal Peoples under the Criminal Code of Canada and the Youth Criminal Justice Act, as well as the services that have been developed to support this process.

Gladue Report

A form of a Pre-Sentence Report (PSR) with specific information about the Aboriginal person’s background and family history. This report informs recommendations and a sentencing plan. Gladue reports also provide an analysis of the problems that continue to bring the offender before the court and provide options for addressing those problems.

Indian (First Nation)

A term that was utilized by European settlers to describe the Indigenous peoples of North America. It is also a legally defined term under the Indian Act (1876), and referred to a group recognized by the Canadian Constitution (1982) as Aboriginal Peoples of Canada. It has fallen out of popular use but may still be used by someone to describe their individual identity.

Indian Act (1876)

A federal law that serves as the primary document which governs over the relationship between the Canadian State and the 614 First Nation communities it has unilateral jurisdiction over. The Act is broad in its scope and governs all aspects of life for the Aboriginal Peoples living in areas that were perceived to be under the jurisdiction of Canada. This includes, but is not limited to, governance, land use, healthcare, education and other aspects of life on reserve. More importantly, it defines who is, and who is not recognized as an “Indian” by the Canadian State.

Indian Band

A term used to describe a First Nation community or reserve that is recognized under the Indian Act (1876) by the federal government of Canada.

Indian Residential School

An extensive system set up by the Canadian government and administered by churches that saw the forcible removal of Aboriginal children from their community to be placed in institutions, with the goal of eradicating their Aboriginal identity, culture, customs and destroying the social fabric of families and communities for the purposes of assimilation.

Indian Status Card

A form of federally issued identity document that indicates an individual is a registered member of an Indian Band and has legal status under the Indian Act (1876).


A term used to describe many populations and cultural groups that are original to a specific land base. This term is used internationally and often in an academic setting, but many individuals may also use this term to describe their own cultural identity.

Intergenerational Trauma

According to the Aboriginal Healing Foundation, “Intergenerational or multi-generational trauma happens when the effects of trauma are not resolved in one generation.” (1999) Intergenerational Trauma among Aboriginal Peoples stems from the legacy of colonialism and the assimilative legislative policies including the Indian Act (1876) Indian Residential School, the 60s Scoop, Millennium Scoop and the displacement of Aboriginal Peoples from their communities, lands, practices, and cultures.


A term used to describe Indigenous people in Canada who historically occupied the circumpolar North. The term is an Inuktitut word that means ‘people’. Inuit is a group recognized by the Canadian Constitution as Aboriginal Peoples of Canada.


An Inuktitut word that refers to a single Inuit person

Historic Métis Nation

A term used by the Metis Nation to describe the area where the Métis emerged in the 18th and 19th centuries. It includes 3 Prairie Provinces, parts of Ontario, British Columbia, the Northwest Territories and the northern United States.


A First Nation cultural group, whose traditional lands included what became present day New Jersey, eastern Pennsylvania, southeastern New York State, Norther Delaware and a small section of southeastern Connecticut. The cultural group has its own distinct culture, spirituality, customs, practices and languages. Many Lenape Peoples migrated to areas that would become Canada to avoid persecution in the British Colonies that would become the United States of America. The Lenape are also known as the Delaware Nation.

Millennium Scoop

Refers to the continued overrepresentation of Aboriginal children in the child welfare system today. In 2014, it was estimated at 25% of all crown wards in Ontario were Aboriginal, despite the fact that Aboriginal children comprise less than 3% of the child population in the province.


A term used to describe a cultural group who have a shared heritage involving parentage that includes both European and Indian or First Nation decent. Métis is also a group referred to by the Canadian Constitution as a recognized part of Aboriginal Peoples of Canada.

According to the Métis Nation of Ontario, “‘Métis’ means a person who self-identifies as Métis, is distinct from other Aboriginal Peoples, is of Historic Métis Nation ancestry, and is accepted by the Métis Nation”.

Métis Nation of Ontario

A provincial body that represents the political interests of Métis Nation in the province of Ontario.

Mushkegowuk (Cree)

A First Nation cultural group, whose traditional lands included areas around the Hudson’s Bay in what would become Ontario and Quebec. The cultural group has its own distinct culture, spirituality, customs, practices and languages. This cultural group is also known as Cree Peoples.


A term that is utilized to describe Indigenous peoples. It is a common term found on names of Aboriginal organizations and is often used by individuals to describe their own cultural identity.

Non-Status Indian

A term that refers to a First Nation individual who is not recognized under the Indian Act (1876).

Onkwehon:we/Haudenosaunee (Iroquois Confederacy)

A First Nation cultural group, whose traditional lands included much of the northeast of what would become the United States of America and areas around the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River that would become present day Canada. The cultural group has its own distinct culture, spirituality, customs, practices and languages. It is comprised of six sub-cultural groups which include: Mohawks, Seneca, Onondaga, Tuscarora, Cayuga and Oneida Nations.


A term used to describe an unjustified or incorrect attitude or belief held about an individual based solely on that individual’s membership in a social group.

Status Indian

A term used to describe a First Nation person who is recognized under the Indian Act (1876) as an Indian.


A belief that a particular race or group of people is inferior to another, and that an individual’s moral and social traits are predetermined by his or her biological characteristics.

Urban First Nations

Refers to individuals who reside in an urban setting such as a metropolis, city or town.