Illustrated icon of a half star made from beads

Acronyms & Key Terms


The following table identifies the acronyms we use on this website.


Acronym Definition
2SLGBTQQIA+ people Two Spirit, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Questioning, Intersex and Asexual Plus people
AFN Assembly of First Nations
CAP Congress of Aboriginal Peoples
CYFA Children, Youth and Families Act
GBA Plus Gender-Based Analysis Plus
GN Government of Nunavut
GNL Government of Newfoundland and Labrador
GNWT Government of the Northwest Territories
IGO Indigenous Governments and Organizations
HSIF Health Services Integration Fund
ITK Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami
LFMO Les Femmes Michif Otipemisiwak
MKO Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak
MMIWG Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls
MLA Members of the Legislative Assembly
NFSC National Family and Survivors Circle
NIMMIWG National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls
NL Newfoundland
NSNWA Nova Scotia Native Women’s Association
NWT Northwest Territories
OCAP® Ownership, Control, Access, and Possession®
PEI Prince Edward Island
PTOs Provincial Territorial Organizations
SIRT Serious Incident Response Team


The Final Report stated that “In the context of the National Inquiry, the term ‘Indigenous’ can be understood as a collective noun for First Nations, Inuit, and Métis people in Canada… Throughout the report, we use the term ‘Indigenous’ to identify experiences that may be held in common by First Nations, Métis and Inuit…” (MMIWG Final Report, p. 59).

First Nations are part of unique larger linguistic and cultural groups that vary across the country. First Nations have a unique and special relationship with the Crown and the people of Canada as set out in the Royal Proclamation of 1763 and Manifested in Treaties, the Constitution Acts of 1867 and 1982, Canadian common law and International law in accordance with the United Nations Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous People.
Inuit live in every province and territory in Canada and are an international Indigenous circumpolar people. Most Inuit in Canada live in Inuit Nunangat – the land, water, and ice that make up the Inuit homeland. This homeland is made up of four regions: Inuvialuit, in the western Arctic; the territory of Nunavut; Nunavik, in northern Quebec; and Nunatsiavut, in northern Labrador.
The Métis Nation emerged as a distinct Indigenous people in the historic Northwest during the late 18th century. The historic Métis Nation Motherland encompasses the Prairie Provinces of Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta and extends into contiguous parts of Ontario, British Columbia, the Northwest Territories, and the northern United States. In 1870 the Métis Provisional Government of Louis Riel negotiated the entry of the Red River Settlement into Confederation as the Province of Manitoba². The Métis Nation defines “Métis” as a person who self-identifies as Métis, is distinct from other Aboriginal peoples, is of historic Métis Nation Ancestry and who is accepted by the Métis Nation³. People of the Métis Nation are represented by democratically elected governing members in each of the five provinces.

2. Métis Nation Council (2021). About. Available at: Retrieved 2021 05 19.

3. Métis National Council (2021). Citizenship. Available at: Retrieved 2021 05 19.

The Final Report notes the “very challenging task of engaging in a legal inquiry process, while incorporating distinctive First Nations, Inuit, and Métis cultures, languages, spirituality, and creating opportunities for healing.” (MMIWG Final Report, p. 3). It also acknowledges the “challenges facing specific groups, institutions, geographical, or other circumstances, within a distinctions-based approach.” (MMIWG Final Report, p. 83). In addition, the Final Report recognizes that there are “distinctive bases of discrimination, depending on which Indigenous Nation or group’s experience is in play. In other words, Inuit, Métis, and First Nations women do not always face the same kind of discrimination or threat, even though all are Indigenous.” (MMIWG Final Report, p. 104).
Identity is complex and Urban Indigenous communities honour, respect and celebrate this complexity. One may identify as First Nations, Inuit or Métis, but some may feel that they do not fit into these categories and may more readily identify with the term Indigenous, which is inclusive of complex identities. However, we also recognize that some are not comfortable being identified as Indigenous. Therefore, we use and understand the terms Indigenous and First Nations, Inuit and Métis to always mean “regardless of residency,” “regardless of relationship to the Crown,” and inclusive of the full complexity of our identities.

The Urban Sub Working Group defines urban as: First Nation, Inuit and Métis people living in small, medium and large communities, including rural, isolated and remote communities, which are: off-reserve; outside of their home community, community of origin or settlement; or outside of Inuit Nunangat (Inuit Homelands).

Off reserve status and non-status Indigenous peoples are amongst the most socially and economically disadvantaged groups in Canadian society, an unfortunate reality deeply rooted in colonialism and its impacts. As the Final Report noted during the National Inquiry, it was a struggle to provide culturally safe wellness services to “all those affected by the issue of missing and murdered Indigenous women, girls, and 2SLGBTQQIA+ people, whether they be Status First Nations, non-Status First Nations, Inuit or Métis” (MMIWG Final Report, p. 70).

The Congress of Aboriginal Peoples (CAP) represents off-reserve status and non-status Indians, Métis and Southern Inuit Indigenous Peoples. As identified in the Final Report, the development and implementation of a National Action Plan to address violence against Indigenous women, girls, and 2SLGBTQQIA+ people is a partnership that calls for programs and services that “must be no-barrier and must apply regardless of Status or location” (MMIWG Final Report, p. 176)

The Final Report notes that “We have chosen to use the phrase ‘Indigenous women, girls, and 2SLGBTQQIA+ people,’ both to include non-binary people and people with diverse sexualities, and as an explicit reminder that gender-diverse people’s needs must equally be taken into account.” (MMIWG Final Report, p. 59).

The “+” at the end of “2SLGBTQQIA+” is a way of being inclusive, honouring and celebrating how our languages are expanding and offering choices for our sexual and gender diverse relatives to identify.

By relying on and employing the above-noted terms and their definitions: the National Action Plan honours, and is inclusive of, all Indigenous Peoples affected by this ongoing tragedy, including but not limited to First Nations, Inuit, and Métis women, girls, and 2SLGBTQQIA+ people.

Key Terms

The following table identifies the key terms we use on this website.


Terms Definition
Agency Refers to the capacity and rights of individuals to act independently and to make their own free choices.
Anti-racism Refers to strategies, theories, actions, and practices that challenge and counter racism, inequalities, prejudices, and discrimination.
Co-development Refers to when two or more parties work together to develop a product jointly.
Colonization Refers to when one group takes control of the lands, resources, languages, cultures, and relationships of another group.
Co-management Refers to a process that brings together governments and organizations to share management responsibility.
Community In the National Action Plan, the term “community” is utilized in the broadest sense, referring to Indigenous communities or groups with diverse characteristics who may be linked by social ties, share common perspectives, and/or engage in joint action in geographical locations or settings.
Culturally Informed Refers to acknowledging, respecting, and integrating Indigenous cultural values, beliefs, and practices.
Culturally Safe Refers to recognizing and addressing power imbalances and inequities, enabling services and processes that are holistic, spiritually, socially, and emotionally safe and allowing reclamation of power.
Decolonization Refers to challenging colonial influences and dismantling and replacing structures that perpetuate the status quo using Indigenous perspectives.
GBA Plus Refers to an analytical process used to assess how different women, men, and gender-diverse people may experience policies, programs, and initiatives. It includes other intersecting characteristics such as race, ethnicity, religion, age, and mental and physical disability.
Gladue Principles Refers to an approach to sentencing and bail hearings allows judges to consider sentencing alternatives to incarceration when appropriate. These reports/principles allow a judge to consider the colonial history of Indigenous people when they encounter the criminal justice system. This initiative is aimed at reducing the number of incarcerated Indigenous people.
Grassroots Grassroots organizations use collective action from the local level to effect change at the local, regional, national, or international level.
Governments Refers to federal, provincial, territorial, municipal and Indigenous government.
Intergenerational Trauma Refers to the transmission of historical and contemporary trauma from one generation to the next.
Miskotahâ Refers to the Michif word for change.
OCAP® Refers to ownership of, control of, access to, and possession of research processes affecting participant communities, and the resulting data. OCAP addresses issues of privacy, intellectual property, data custody and secondary use of data.1
Racism Refers to the belief that all members of each race possess characteristics or abilities specific to that race, especially so as to distinguish it as inferior or superior to another race or races. Racism is typically directed at and against communities that are considered to be non-white.
Residential Schools Refers to government-sponsored religious schools that were established to assimilate Indigenous children into Euro-Canadian culture.
Self-Determination Refers to a state having the right to choose freely its political, economic, social, and cultural systems and is defined as the right of a people to constitute itself in a state or otherwise freely determine the form of its association with an existing state.2
  1. CIHR, NSERC & SSHRC (2018). Tri-Council policy statement: Ethical conduct for research involving humans. Available at:

  2. Encyclopedia Britannica (2021). Available at: