A question for my friends whose ancestors have been in North America for thousands of years:
How do you feel about the designation “First Nations”?
My problem with “Native Americans” is that term presumes that this continent was ALWAYS “America”, even when it was populated by communities (and nations) that called themselves something else. For that reason, I find the label “Native Americans” somewhat white-centric and inaccurate.
“Indigenous people” is accurate, but it’s a mouthful for a lot of people, and I had to lean on my spell-checker to get the spelling right. While traveling in Canada I noticed references to “First Nations” communities, and it rang true with me. After all, these communities were never “Americans” before the 16th century or so… they were nations in their own right, the nations that were here first… therefore, “First Nations.”
Since then, I’ve used “First Nations” as a label for these communities. I’d be happy if the rest of white North Americans would adopt this label, but then I’m just another white guy, so it’s not really my choice. So I’m really curious to know how my Indigenous friends feel about this.
And by the way, Happy First Nations Day!