Awareness of, and sensitivity towards our culture is important. As attitudes change so does our terminology. There are “for’s” and “against’s” for all terms used, and there seems to be no consensus on the “one” term that we all can agree on, and there probably never will be. Popular media/political entities/cultural associations have recently advised us that the newest “proper” term is Indigenous.
Instead of being “for” or “against” a certain term I think the more interesting conversation is why do we need a single term for all of us? I never chose to be identified by this new term. Who benefits and who losses out from having one? Who should get to decide, and how would we go about making such a decision? How long is such a decision valid for? 2 years? 5 years? 50 years? 100 years?
I don’t have the answers for all these questions, but I believe this is where the conversation needs to shift if we are to get anywhere meaningful. The choice of wording by me is not intended to offend, discriminate or insult. I understand that I will not be immune to criticism from those who disagree. That’s ok. For me the choice of wording is based on the best information I have, and truthfully it’s a term that I simply use to identify the people that I work with. I am proud of my history as one of Canada’s First People – no one will take away that pride regardless of what they call me. Let’s be clear, your identity is defined by you and no one else.