Aboriginals in Canada?

I was watching this police drama last night, called, “Da Vinci’s Inquest.” Never saw it before, and I must say, it was pretty bad. It’s a Canadian production, and strangely enough, the drama is set in Canada.

In the story (which I picked up in progress), a girl is murdered. All I saw of her was a brief look at a B&W picture of her, and she seemed to be black. The cops referred to her, nonchalantly as an aboriginal girl.

So, my question is, what kind of aborigines are common in Canada? Do you folks up there call native Canadians aboriginals? Could she have been an Autralian import? Is there another possibility?

And please don’t take offense at my panning of the show. Most of ours down here are even worse.

“Aboriginal” in Canada refers to people who are indigenous to Canada. Therefore it refers to Native (Indian) and Inuit peoples. See the first meaning at dictionary.com:

And yeah, DaVinci’s Inquest, not so good.

I grew up in an area of southern Ontario that was surrounded by the Six Nations Reservation. There are a lot of natives everywhere in the country, but especially Up North and Out West.

Aboriginal is always natives around the entire world.

Six Nations (IIRC) are causing a bit of a kerfuffle around Caledonia.

Again? What this time? Do you know of where I could read about it?

True, but when’s the last time you heard of a Native American referred to as an Aboriginal?


Sometimes, no, make that all of the time, I am so glad I don’t have to live there anymore.

I was going to point out that I wished the USA had used aboriginal hundreds of years ago insead of indians. Americans don’t know if you mean someone from India or America. You’remore likely to mean someone from India now. I have actually started to think of the term aboriginal for all original peoples of the world, since reading articles from Canada and the rest of the world. I don’t however link it’s use with terms meaning stupid or inferior in my sentences. I’ve adjusted my terms a bit over the years to what the rest of the world uses.

I agree with you, HD. I think Canada proved more enlightened on that score than USA.

But I also wonder what “original peoples” think of the term, aboriginal. I wouldn’t be surprised if they’ve been conditioned to regard it as deprecatory.

What might be best: call them what they call themselves. What, for example, do the Australian aborigines refer to themselves as?

In BC, the term First Nations, or First Nations Peoples, is used more commonly than aboriginal.

Da Vinci’s Inquest is based on a real life person, Larry Campbell, who was later elected mayor of Vancouver, BC’s largest city.

Thanks for the first, bit Savannah.

But then you embarrass me with the second. I knocked the show, in the OP and now you tell everyone that this is a highly successful show in Canada. Oy. :smack:

I’ll try to watch more episodes and develop a liking for it. Sorry. (Sort of, anyway.)

I know very little of all the ins and outs, but it’s pretty complex and there are lots of different terms, depending on the group and the usage: link

Well, there goes the call-'em-what-they-call-themselves proposal. Thank you!

(Is there a meaning to your name you’d care to share, Cunctator?)

Geographically being the second largest country in the world, it is safe to say that the indigenous population in Canada is diverse. Here is a link to a guide prepared by Indian and Northern Affairs Canada entitled Words First: an Evolving Terminology Relating to Aboriginal Peoples in Canada. At this link, you’ll see definitions.

A quote from the link on the names used:
"Collective names to describe the original peoples of North America and their descendants:

Aboriginal people(s)

[INDENT]First Peoples
Indigenous people(s)
Native people(s)
Native American
American Indian

More narrowly defined groups of Aboriginal people:

First Nation

Terms associated with communities and community organization:

among First Nations:
tribal council

among Inuit:
Inuit communities
Inuit regions"[/INDENT]

Keep in mind, however, that this was a guide prepared by INAC, the relevant federal government department. For example, though “Eskimo” is included in this list, it is not at all in common use today in Canada (with the exception of the football team). The peoples described by Europeans as Eskimos described themselves as Inuit, and this is by far the prevalent term today.

I took the name from the great Roman general Fabius Maximus, whose masterly delaying tactics impressed me when we studied him in Latin at school.

(NB the Latin verb “to delay” is cunctor, cunctari, cunctatus)


Eskimo is regarded as a derogatory term by most but the very elderly Inuit people. It means ‘eaters of raw meat’, so while it’s descriptive, it hardly encompasses the peoples. “Inuit” simply means “people” in Inuktitut (and I am guessing Inuvialuit as well).

The “Of the North” refers to my time living in the NWT (when it included Nunavut, home to the Inuit), so I have some experience with the languages.

No need for embarrassment. :slight_smile: Tastes differ; I haven’t actually watched a lot of the episodes myself.

It was a little unnerving to watch one, and realise the plot was also based on a real case: a man who liked to pick up Aboriginal/First Nations women in bars, and ply them with alcohol until they died. This was a real man; he went to jail for it, and was eventually released and ended up living in the same town as I do. (Victoria.)