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Terminology change

Memorial formally adopts term Indigenous, renames programs and units

Campus and Community

By Jennifer Batten

Vice-Presidents Council has approved the official change in terminology used at Memorial University from Aboriginal to Indigenous.

People sit in a circle in the University Centre while drumming together.
A drumming circle in the University Centre in 2016.
Photo: Chris Hammond

The change was guided by input from five governing Indigenous groups in the province – the Nunatsiavut Government, the Innu Nation, the NunatuKavut Community Council, the Miawpukek First Nation and the Qalipu First Nation – who were all consulted on the decision.

“In recent years, the term Indigenous has become ubiquitous,” said President Vianne Timmons. “More Indigenous nations in Canada are using Indigenous rather than Aboriginal, and the federal and provincial governments have adopted this terminology, as well. The timing is right for both the university and Indigenous groups in Newfoundland and Labrador.”

Name changes

Both Aboriginal and Indigenous are umbrella terms used to refer to First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples in Canada. Indigenous is a term used internationally as well for peoples who are indigenous to other places in the world.

It is important to keep in mind that the terms Indigenous and Aboriginal are general terms, not intended to replace the names for Indigenous peoples, e.g. Mi’kmaq, Inuit, Innu.

The term Indigenous is already used by many faculty, staff and students at Memorial.

From now on, the Office of Aboriginal Affairs will be known as the Office of Indigenous Affairs and the Aboriginal Resource Office will be known as the Indigenous Student Resource Centre. The Aboriginal Student Centre at Grenfell Campus will be renamed the Indigenous Student Lounge.

Work has begun to adjust program names and position titles across campuses to reflect the change.


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