STARTING YOUR JOURNEY builds a foundation for identifying and building understandings of concepts, terms and knowledge that support a shift in thinking and attitudes to advance reconciliation.

Terminology and Diversity

Understand and respect the linguistic, geographic, political and cultural diversity of Canada’s constitutionally recognized Aboriginal peoples – First Nations, Métis and Inuit – by building knowledge of important terminology.

  • Indigenous peoples
  • Aboriginal people of Canada
  • Indian (status/registered, non-status, treaty, Bill C-31)
  • Knowledge Keeper
  • Elder
  • Cultural Advisor
  • Ceremonialist
  • First Nations
  • Métis
  • Inuit

There are many terms that are used to describe First Nations, Métis and Inuit in Canada. At times, the variety of terms can be confusing. The use of any of these terms has historical, legal and situational contexts that should be taken into consideration. Stepping Stones: Terminology for  First Nations, Métis and Inuit is a publication of the Alberta Teachers’ Association Walking Together Project, intended to support certificated teachers on their learning journey to meet the First Nations, Métis and Inuit Foundational Knowledge competency in the Teaching Quality Standard.

Build understandings of the origins, histories, and historical and contemporary contributions of First Nations, Métis and Inuit.

Traditional Territories

  • First Nations within Alberta and their traditional territories/histories
  • Métis within Alberta and traditional territories/histories
  • Inuit within Canada and traditional territories/histories

Historical and Contemporary Contributions

  • Traditional governance (and governance structures)
  • Consensus model of decision-making
  • Military contributions
  • Technologies
  • Political systems
  • Contributions to European settlers’ survival

Treaty Relationships

Develop awareness and knowledge of treaties and treaty relationships to further our journey towards reconciliation.

  • Recognition of treaty territory
    • Acknowledgment of land, treaty flags, ancestral lands
  • Treaties (Treaty 6, Treaty 7 and Treaty 8)
    • Spirit and intent; sacred nature; short term and long term impacts on land and on people
  • Agreements
  • Agreements with Métis










Dig Deeper with the Alberta Treaties 6, 7, 8 ARPDC Conversation Guide.

Stepping Stones First Nations Treaties in Alberta are publications of the Alberta Teachers’ Association Walking Together Project, intended to support certificated teachers on their learning journey to meet the First Nations, Métis and Inuit Foundational Knowledge competency in the Teaching Quality Standard.

Numbered Treaties Within Alberta: Treaty 6

Numbered Treaties Within Alberta: Treaty 7

Numbered Treaties Within Alberta: Treaty 8

Policy and Legislation

Identify and know policies and legislation between the Crown and First Nations, Métis and Inuit to advance the process of reconciliation.

  • First Nations
    • Reserves
    • Pass system
    • Forced relocations
    • Indian Act (and all amendments to the act over time that have since been repealed)
    • Constitution Act
  • Métis
    • Métis Nation of Alberta
    • Metis Settlements
    • Métis Scrip
    • Forced relocation
  • Inuit
    • Inuit Identification “Tag” system
    • Project Surname
    • Inuit Land claims
    • Forced relocation


Knowledge of First Nations, Métis and Inuit beliefs, traditions and practices supports the process of reconciliation. Continue to build understandings of the significance of cultural revitalization of First Nations, Métis and Inuit as supported by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada Calls to Action and United Nations Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous People.

  • Protocols (i.e., accessing the wisdom of Elders, Advisors and involving community; gifting)
  • Reciprocity
  • Oral tradition
  • Linguistic diversity and language revitalization
  • Symbolism
  • Ceremony
  • Stewardship and sustainability
  • Rematriation
  • Connection to land
  • Spirituality
  • Roles and responsibilities of women, men and children

Dig Deeper with the Advancing Reconciliation ARPDC Conversation Guide.

Dig Deeper with the History and Legacy of Residential Schools ARPDC Conversation Guide.

Know First Nations, Métis and Inuit experiences related to forced assimilation and the legacy of residential schools.

Concepts of Assimilation

  • Colonization
  • Eurocentrism
  • Decolonization
  • Paternalism
  • Cultural Genocide

Residential Schools and their Legacy

  • Residential school experiences
    • Differences between residential schools
      • Location and resources
      • Religious denominations
    • Historical and intergenerational trauma
    • Loss of language and culture, identity, community and family
  • Social implications
    • i.e., Education; suicide rates; substance abuse; negative associations with schools; mental health and wellness issues
    • Societal inequity (socio-economic gaps), racism, stereotyping
  • Sixties Scoop