Terminology, particularly as it relates to Indigenous peoples, can be tricky to navigate. By taking a moment to consider the history of certain terms, it is very possible to learn and be comfortable with which words to use in which contexts. We have compiled this guide to help inform your decisions on terminology.
Terms in this section:
First Nations | Inuit | Metis | Indian | Indigenous | Native | Peoples (plural)
This article presents an overview of the environmental values, knowledge, and subsistence strategies of indigenous peoples both in their traditional contexts and in the contexts of colonialism and globalization.
"There is no monolithic or all-encompassing definition or explanation of Native American spirituality. Prior to European contact in the present-day United States, there were more than 500 Indian nations; some were related, most were not; some shared the same concepts of spirituality, many did not...For the most part, however, spirituality was a personal relationship that connected the individual's spirit to the creation, to the present world, to a sense of place, a relationship with other humans and the animals and for some, a gateway into another life after the present."
A central feature of anticolonial and postcolonial thought is the recognition that colonization is a sophisticated and multileveled ideological process, which operates both externally and internally. In reality, colonization is not restricted to physical deprivation, legal inequality, economic exploitation, and classist, racist, and sexist unofficial or official assumptions. [It includes a psychological dimension wherein] the colonized become their own oppressor, in that they exert the colonizers' imaginary suppositions of inferiority upon their own self-esteem...the objectification and dehumanization of the colonized.
One is self-governing when one obeys only those laws, rules, or norms of which one is the author, or can reasonably endorse in some way. A city, state, or group is self-governing when it is free from external domination, and thus free to pursue its own chosen ends of its own will
"Sovereignty encompasses three aspects. The first is institutional: Sovereignty is tightly linked to the emergence of the modern state and the peculiarities of the powers it exercises. The second [is that] Sovereignty operates as a legitimizing concept depending on who is deemed to be the holder of sovereignty. Finally, the legal dimension of sovereignty refers to the limits of power exercised by the holders of sovereignty."