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First Nation(s) (Linguistic recommendation from the Translation Bureau)

[The same content is available in French in the article PREMIÈRE(S) NATION(S) (RECOMMANDATION LINGUISTIQUE DU BUREAU DE LA TRADUCTION).]

To standardize usage within the federal public service, the Translation Bureau makes the following recommendation.

First Nation(s) in English

Capitalization

The term First Nation(s) is considered a proper noun and should therefore be capitalized:

  • the fundamental rights of the First Nations
  • a First Nation in the Yukon Territory
  • these First Nations
  • the Hollow Water and Dene Tha’ First Nations

First Nations ("Indians of Canada")

The collective term First Nations refers to all Indians in Canada. It may be used as a noun or an adjective:

  • First Nations leaders applauded the decision.

The term First Nations does not include Inuit and Métis. In Canada, the collective term for Indians, Inuit and Métis is Indigenous peoples, not First Nations. (One can also say "First Nations, Inuit and Métis.")

First Nation ("Indian band")

The term First Nation has the meaning "Indian band":

  • the Glooscap First Nation
  • each First Nation
  • the First Nations listed below

Many Indian communities prefer to use the term First Nation in place of Indian band in their official name.

Première(s) Nation(s) in French

Capitalization

The term Première Nation is considered a proper noun and should therefore be capitalized:

  • les droits fondamentaux des Premières Nations
  • la première entente définitive conclue par une Première Nation du Yukon
  • ces Premières Nations
  • les Premières Nations de Hollow Water et des Dénés Tha’

This spelling is consistent with the standard French practice of capitalizing the first noun in a proper name, together with the adjective preceding it, as in the following examples: le Nouveau Monde, l’Ancien Testament, la Première Guerre mondiale, le ministère des Anciens Combattants.

Official titles

However, it is important to respect the spelling of existing official titles in French (such as the official names or titles of programs, organizations, Acts or documents):

  • Programme forestier des Premières nations
  • Loi sur la compétence des premières nations en matière d’éducation en Colombie-Britannique

Premières Nations ("Indians of Canada")

The collective term Premières Nations refers to all Indians in Canada. This term does not include Inuit and Métis.

In Canada, the collective French term for Indians, Inuit and Métis is Autochtones, not Premières Nations. (One can also say "les Premières Nations, les Inuits et les Métis.")

Première Nation ("Indian band")

The term Première Nation has the meaning "Indian band."

  • chaque Première Nation
  • les Premières Nations dont le nom figure à l’annexe

The term is followed by the preposition de or des, according to the context:

  • Première Nation de + place name:
    • la Première Nation de Hollow Water
  • Première Nation des + name of community:
    • la Première Nation des Dénés Tha’

Many Indian communities prefer to use the term Première Nation in place of bande indienne in their official name.