CBC Aboriginal changes name to CBC Indigenous

Today CBC Aboriginal will be renamed CBC Indigenous, and CBC's Aboriginal Digital Unit will become the Indigenous Digital Unit.

Beginning today, we're changing our name — here's why

CBC Indigenous is the new name of our digital unit that offers coverage of Indigenous news, stories and perspectives from across Canada. (CBC)

Today, CBC Aboriginal will be renamed CBC Indigenous, and CBC's Aboriginal Digital Unit will become the Indigenous Digital Unit.

While we understand that there is no truly all-encompassing term, Indigenous is fast becoming the preferred way to refer to First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples.

In adopting this change, we join the ranks of many individuals, groups, organizations, universities and governments — both nationally and globally — who have chosen to use the term Indigenous.

Aboriginal vs. Indigenous

In 1982, the Canadian government adopted the legal term "Aboriginal peoples of Canada" in the Constitution Act, referring to the Indian, Inuit and Métis peoples of Canada. 

While the term Aboriginal increased in popularity in the '80s and '90s, Indigenous began to take over, often chosen by Indigenous people — as opposed to designated by someone else.

The evolution of Indigenous terminology

7 years ago
Duration 1:12
From "redskin" to Indigenous. Unreserved takes a look at what Indigenous Peoples have been called and what they call themselves.

"The term Indigenous is used internationally and it has a lot of contemporary political clout," said University of Manitoba Prof. Niigaanwewidam Sinclair.

This was affirmed In May 2016, when the federal government officially adopted the UN Declaration on Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

Our change to Indigenous comes after consulting with Indigenous CBC staff from across the country. It also follows on the heels of a recent move by CBC to capitalize Aboriginal and Indigenous  — recognizing that when we use these terms, we are talking about a distinct community, often with official representation and a regular place in the national debate.

It's important to note that we will continue to use specific names like Cree, Nisga'a or Inuit in our news coverage wherever possible, rather than general labels.

And regardless of our name, CBC Indigenous continues to offer outstanding coverage of Indigenous news, stories and perspective from across the country.