quiz time

Can tell which are the correct uses of the terms that refer to the first peoples of this land in the following stories?

Can you tell which terms are not used properly, or which examples confuse more than clarify?  Which group are they writing about?  Indians?  Inuit?  Or Métis?  Which examples properly use the all-encompassing, generic, one-size-fits-all terms of “Aboriginal” or “Indigenous?” Which ones do not?

Here are some recent stories gleaned from various sources, mostly Canadian newspapers but also one online Native American newspaper. 

Select one of the choices below each “Take” (or example) and then explain your choice in a short comment at the end of posting.  There are five (5) “Takes” or examples.

For example, “In Take ___, I chose number ___ because… ”


And… here we go!


Take One:

‘Tar sands are killing us’

(Indian Country Today)

TORONTO – Dene, Cree and Metis activists from First Nations affected by Alberta tar sands development made themselves heard in Washington as Canadian Environment Minister Jim Prentice was making the rounds of Capitol Hill.

1)  Yes, the terms are used correctly.

2)  No, writers use them incorrectly.

3)  Don’t know.  

Take Two:

“BC puts aboriginal recognition act on hold”

(Globe & Mail)

… some aboriginal opposition to another proposition in the bill, approved by the government and the First Nations Leadership Council, that would whittle the 200 or so existing native bands down to what native leaders call “the original 30 indigenous …

1)  Yes, the terms are used correctly.

2)  No, writers use them incorrectly.

3)  Don’t know.

Take Three

“Province ordered into land dispute”

(Hamilton Spectator)The Canadian Press

BRANTFORD (Mar 16, 2009) – The province has been ordered to join a court action to be heard in the city this week about the ongoing push for an injunction against aboriginal protesters.

1)  Yes, the terms are used correctly.

2)  No, writers use them incorrectly.

3)  Don’t know.

Take Four

“Home, Moldy Home:  Victoria paper investigates West Coast Indigenous housing crisis”

(Dominion Paper)by Kim Petersen

TRADITIONAL TERRITORY OF SNUNEYMUXW FIRST NATION (NANAIMO, BC)–Coming quickly on the heels of a seven-part exposé of an Indigenous housing crisis in Victoria-based newspaper Times Colonist, Indian and Northern Affairs Canada (INAC) Minister Chuck Strahl promised $50 million for Indigenous housing on British Columbia reserves. It is part of the $400 million over the next two years already committed to on-reserve housing.

1)  Yes, the terms are used correctly.

2)  No, writers use them incorrectly.

3)  Don’t know.

Take Five

“Ontario First Nations want power opportunities”

(Indian Country Today)AAMJIWNAANG – A determination that there will be aboriginal participation in the planned expansion of Ontario’s power system was the clear message from a series of energy forums across the Anishinabek Nation territory.

1)  Yes, the terms are used correctly.

2)  No, writers use them incorrectly.

3)  Don’t know.



Filed under Aboriginal peoples, Canada, humour, Indigenous peoples, Indigenous rights, journalism, writing

7 responses to “quiz time

  1. Hi,
    Amazing! Not clear for me, how offen you updating your shmohawk.wordpress.com.


  2. shmohawk

    I do apologize for the late approval. Your post wound up in my spam filter and sat there for some time. I have had a lot of trouble getting an Internet connection where I’m staying, on Mohawk territory in southern Quebec. In surrounding towns and villages, there’s no problem getting high speed through telephone lines or via cable. But here, on the territory, most people can only get dial-up. I could not get even that because 1) Bell Telephone could not or would not hook up the house (although the owner had a phone for years and had used it to set up an Internet connection. High speed even. 2) Bell’s stupidity was compounded by local idiocy where people built homes and simply applied their own numbers. As one person said, “Quebec Hydro needed a house number, so I made one up.” The house next door is 114. The house on the other side is 67. this house has two or three numbers. And so it goes. 3) There are three street names where I live; Mohawk, English and French. So the house where I’m staying has at least nine different combinations of street names and numbers. How cool is that? But it makes for a very confused situation, and makes it nearly impossible to get simple services like an Internet connection or land line installed. So I have only recently gone wireless with my Internet. Not great signal but it works and is a lot faster than dialup.

    I figured I’d give you the long answer in keeping with the long wait. I hope to make this blog a lot more regular from now on, as I no longer have to pack up my laptop and trudge down the road to my sister’s place so I might piggyback on her Internet connection.

    Happy trails…

  3. HF Sweetgrass

    In Take _1_, I chose number _2_ because…While the Dene and Cree are FN, the Metis are not.

    In Take _2_, I chose number _2_ because…The Recognition Act concerns First Nations in B.C.

    In Take _3_, I chose number _2_ because…The ‘protestors’ are Six Nations community members, First Nation individuals.

    In Take _4_, I chose number _2_ because…Again, I don’t think there are any Metis or Inuit in western B.C. so the all-encompassing term is unnecessary (though better than Aboriginal).

    In Take _5_, I chose number _2_ because…The Anishinabek is comprised of FN’s exclusively. Though there are Metis in the province and probably within Anishinabek territory so…

    Whatever happened to the good old days of Indian, Half-breed and Eskimo? Seemed a lot easier then.

  4. shmohawk

    HF Sweetgrass: “Whatever happened to the good old days of Indian, Half-breed and Eskimo? Seemed a lot easier then.”

    I feel your pain. 🙂

    Like you, I’m ambiguous on Takes 4 & 5. The other three (1,2 & 3) are fairly obvious and all too common misuses of the terms in Canadian news which reflect a fundamental ignorance of the original peoples in this land, or a laziness by the writers.

  5. KevinG

    Oh great, I missed the deadline. For the record I had the same answers as sweetgrass but I was always good at multiple choice and I had your primer.

  6. shmohawk

    For the record, I had no doubt. 😉

  7. Hi,
    Not sure that this is true:), but thanks for a post.

    Thank you

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