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Native American Research Guide: Home

Introduction

How do we define "Native American Studies"? 

The nomenclature surrounding how we identify those groups that originally inhabited the American continents in the Western Hemisphere pre-European contact has shifted over time. Here are some possible terminology to consider for research purposes:

Indigenous people of the Americasthe broadest of terms to describe original inhabitants of the American continents

Native American - may refer the entirety of the indigenous people on the American continents, or North America, or living in a specific country. 

Indian or American Indiana term in use since the first European contact in the 15th century, though in the late 20th century objections arose from various indigenous people as its origins are due to an historical error in geography.

First Nationmay refer to indigenous people from Canada.

Aboriginalmay refer to indigenous people from Australia or Canada.

For more background information on various terminology and definitions, check out this Wikipedia entry on The Native American Name Controversy

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