Brush Texture Header


These resources have been compiled to assist in research about the themes, individuals, cultural groups, languages and other information presented in the exhibition. This listing is not exhaustive, but it provides a great foundation for researchers.

The UBC Vancouver campus sits on the traditional territory of the Musqueam people. Although there are no individuals of Musqueam ancestry in this exhibit, resources have been provided for researchers with an interest in local First Nations groups.

NOTE: Resources available through UBC Library are hyperlinked. To access UBC Library resources from off-campus, you will need to login to the VPN. Resources available through the Internet are hyperlinked and can be accessed anywhere.

"A lot of those people who've read about us think that we all died. That we've disappeared, because we were the vanishing races those early white people said we were. And when you look at museums exhibits in a lot of place, its as if we are gone. There is no reference to us still being here, still being alive. And we are."

— Gloria Cranmer Webster

Aboriginal People. The term "Aboriginal People" refers to all the Aboriginal people in Canada collectively—First Nations, Indians, Métis, and Inuit—without regard to their separate origins and identities.

First Nations. The term First Nations came into general use in the 1980s to describe the Indigenous or Aboriginal peoples of Canada – except for the Métis and the Inuit, who live in the Arctic. There are more than 600 independent First Nations governments or bands recognized by the Canadian government. The term "First Nations" is preferred over "Indian" or "Native," though all three are still used in legal documents. "First Nations" does not indicate the treaty status of a person. Some people choose to identify themselves by their band or national identity only, in recognition of the distinctive cultures of different groups.

Status. Status First Nations people qualify for official treaty recognition according to the terms set down in Ottawa for legal benefits and rights. This depends on a person's descent from a recognized First Nations band. Until the passage of Bill C-31 in 1985, First Nations women could lose their status through marriage to a non-First Nations person and be denied access to many tribal resources. More information on First Nations women and Status rights from the Scow Institute.

Non-Status. Non-Status First Nations people do not have access to many of the grants the Canadian government gives to groups with treaty recognition. Historically, patrilineal systems were recognized over the matrilineal social structure of many First Nations groups, resulting in women and children losing their status much more easily than men. Today, some people choose not to pursue a status designation even though they consider themselves members of a First Nations group. Being non-status has been stigmatized and unless a person claims it as part of their identity, it is not polite to refer to it.

Métis. The Métis, meaning "mixed" or "of mixed race," are people from a cultural group in Western Canada who are descendants of French-Canadian traders and First Nations people. The Métis share a distinct language, history and common culture. The Métis declared their sovereignty as a nation of Aboriginal descent, and solidified their claim in 1983 when they formed the Métis National Council. This secured the recognition of the Métis Nation's existence within the Canadian federation. Métis National Council homepage:

Indian Act. The Indian Act, passed in 1951, derived from the colonial policies of the early Canadian government, but was intended to protect the land base and resources granted to Canada's Aboriginal peoples. Instead, it was often used to deny those rights and discourage traditional practices. The Act encouraged Aboriginal peoples to assimilate to European-Canadian social norms. It has been revised extensively over the years, disposing of residential schools, granting First Nations suffrage and greater control over their treaty lands, and reversing some of the statutes targeting women. Indian Act, from the Canadian Encyclopedia.

AFN. The Assembly of First Nations, originally the National Indian Brotherhood (NIB), is a political body aimed at correcting past injustices to the First Nations of Canada and ensuring a strong voice for Aboriginal people in dealing with the Canadian government. The NIB, founded in 1969, was the first nationally successful First Nations rights group. In 1982, the National Indian Brotherhood transformed into the AFN, which continues to strive for self-government for Status First Nations people. AFN homepage:

CAP. The Congress of Aboriginal Peoples (CAP) formed out of the re-organization of the Native Council of Canada (NCC). The NCC was founded in 1971 to represent the interests of First Nations people living off-reserve, especially non-Status people and those of Métis descent, who were not recognized under the Indian Act. In 1993, after amendments to the Indian Act allowed the re-enfranchisement of women and children, the NCC became CAP. CAP serves as a voice for the rapidly growing urban population. CAP homepage:

First Nations House of Learning. The First Nations House of Learning was established in 1987 as a liaison to the President of the University of British Columbia. It works to facilitate access to University resources and services for First Nations, Inuit and Métis students, staff and faculty; increase the breadth and quality of UBC programming related to First Nations needs; and increase First Nations leadership on campus through guidance from community elders. It also maintains the First Nations Longhouse. First Nations House of Learning

MOA. The Museum of Anthropology, founded in 1949 at the University of British Columbia, houses exhibits from around the world, but particularly celebrates the artistry and culture of the First Nations of British Columbia. The Museum of Anthropology's collections, community programming, teaching and research programs have encouraged cultural revitalization and education. It is a research institute as well as a public exhibition space, and strives to co-operate cross-culturally for better research practices. MOA homepage:

NITEP. The Native Indian Teacher Education Program was founded in 1974 at the University of British Columbia in response to First Nations communities' need for more qualified teachers who were of First Nations descent. The program offers a Bachelor of Education degree that specifically addresses educational issues for First Nations students. NITEP has four campuses – Kamloops, Chilliwack, Duncan and UBC in Vancouver – and offers elementary and secondary education degrees. NITEP homepage:

NBBC. The Native Brotherhood of British Columbia was founded in 1931 in BC's Tsimshian community in Port Simpson. It has gained many members from other nations in the decades since. NBBC is a First Nations rights organization that focuses mainly on the interests of First Nations fishermen, tendermen and shore workers. It is dedicated to improving the welfare of coastal BC First Nations communities. NBBC homepage:

Order of Canada. The Order of Canada is the highest honour given by the Governor General of Canada and recognizes a lifetime of achievement in a field, community leadership and service to Canada. The Order was established in 1967 by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II to honour those who have served Canada or humanity at large. The Order's motto is "Desiderantes Meliorem Patriam" – "They desire a better country."

Xwi7xwa Library. Xwi7xwa Library is part of the University of British Columbia's First Nations education initiative. Connected to the First Nations House of Learning, Xwi7xwa inherited the NITEP library collection in 1993 and became an official UBC Library branch in 2005. It means "Echo" in Squamish, and the late Chief Simon Baker named the Library. Its collection focuses on materials by and about First Nations people, history and culture, particularly those relevant to British Columbia. It is the only freestanding First Nations library in Canada. Xwi7xwa reports to both the First Nations Longhouse and UBC Library. Xwi7xwa Library:

NOTE: Cultural groups mentioned specifically in this exhibition are listed in this glossary. For a broader resource, refer to the First Nations index online.

Group Name Website Individual(s)

Gitxsan (Gitksan) Nation. Formerly known as Interior Coast Salish.

Gitxsan translates to "People of the River of Mist." Walter Harris, a Gitxsan artist and hereditary chief, lived in Kispiox.
Haida Nation. Haida Nation members include Guujaaw, John Williams T'aanuu Kilslaay Git'Kun and Peggy Shannon.

Haisla Nation. Also known as the Xáʔislak'ala.

"Haisla" derives from the word xàʔisla, meaning "those living at the rivermouth, living downriver." Lyle Wilson is a Haisla artist.

Heiltsuk Nation. Formerly known as the Bella Bella Indians.

The Heiltsuk language, Hailhzaqvla, is part of the Wakashan Language Family. David Gladstone and Pauline Hilistis Waterfall are members of the Heiltsuk Nation, and deeply invested in its culture and education.

Kwakwaka'wakw Nations. Formerly called the Kwakiutl or Kwagiutl.

Kwakwaka'wakw means "those who speak Kwak'wala" and refers to an entire subsection of nations within the Wakashan language group, though each nation considers itself separate and independent.
  • Agnes Alfred, Vivian Wilson and Brenda Taylor all advanced the Kwakwaka'wakw Nations through service to their communities.
  • Bill Wilson Hemas Kla-Lee-Lee-Kla is a negotiator who identifies as Musgamagw, a Kwakwaka'wakw sub-group.
  • The Musgamagw Tsawataineuk Tribal Council oversees a number of smaller Nations, including the Kwicksutaineuk-ah-kwa-mish Nation (Gilford Indian band), which includes Judge Alfred Scow.

Lil'wat Nation. Formerly called L'ilawat or the Mount Currie Band.

Ucwalmicwts (St'at'imc) language group.

The Lil'wat were one of the Four Host First Nations for the Vancouver 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games. Yvonne Dunlop Palencia is a member of the Lil'wat Nation.

Musqueam Nation. Also known as xʷməθkʷəy̓əm, meaning People of the River Grass. 

Musqueam’s traditional language is hən̓q̓əmin̓əm̓. hən̓q̓əmin̓əm̓ is the Downriver dialect of the Hul̕q̓umin̓um̓, hən̓q̓əmin̓əm̓, Halq̓eminem dialect continuum.

The Musqueam were one of the Four Host First Nations for the Vancouver 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games.

The UBC Vancouver campus sits on the traditional territory of the Musqueam people. Although there are no individuals of Musqueam ancestry in this exhibit, resources have been provided for researchers with an interest in local First Nations groups.

Nēhilawē. Cree Nation. the Nēhilawē ("those who speak our language") are roughly divided into eight groups. Grand Council of the Cree: Margo Kane is a performer of Cree descent.
Verna Kirkness is from the Cree Fisher River Reserve in Manitoba.
Nisga'a Nation. Formerly known as the Nishga. Chief James Gosnell was from Aiyansh, the largest of the Nisga'a communities.
Nle?kepmx (Nlaka'pamux) Nation.

Formerly called the Thompson River people or Thompson Salish, they are part of the Interior Salish language group and speak a dialect called nɬeʔkepmxcín.


The Lower Nicola Valley Nle?kepmx band refers to itself as Scw'exmx or Sxwexmx, meaning "People of the Creeks." Robert Sterling identified as a member of the Lower Nicola Valley band and lived in the town of Merritt.

Nuu-Chah-Nulth Nations. Formerly called the Nootka. Their language is part of the Wakashan language group.

Huu-ay-aht Nation. Formerly called the Ohiaht Nation. This is a nation of the Nuu-chah-nulth. Marjorie Cantryn-White is from the Ohiaht band in Port Alberni.

Ojibwe or Anishinaabeg Nation. Members are also called the Anishnabe, Anishinabek, Ojibwa, Ojibway or Chippewa.

Their language, Anishinaabemowin, is part of the Algonquian linguistic group.
  • Daphne Odjig is a member of the Ojibwe Nation's Odawa tribe from Manitoulin Island, Ontario.
  • The Saulteaux tribe is a group of Ojibwe who moved to the Prairie provinces from Sault Ste. Marie. Dorothy Francis was a Saulteaux from Manitoba.

Secwepemc Nation. Also known as the Shuswap.

Their language, Secwepemctsín, is part of the Salish language family.,
  • Activist and leader Grand Chief George Manuel was a member of the Shuswap Neskainlith (or Neskonlith) band.
  • Mildred Gottfiedson was a member of the Shuswap

Skwxwú7mesh Úxwumixw. Squamish Nation.

The Squamish Nation was one of the Four Host First Nations for the Vancouver 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games.
  • Glen Newman, Chief Joe Mathias and Uncle Louis Miranda identified as members of the Squamish Nation. Miranda helped preserve the Skwxwú7mesh language.
  • Chief Simon Baker was from the Squamish Xwemelch'stn (Capilano) reserve on the Nortd Shore.

Syilx or Okanagan Nation.

Their language, Syilx'tsn, is part of the Interior Salishan linguistic group. the Honourable Leonard Marchand, P.C. is from the Okanagan Reserve in Vernon, BC.

Tsimshian Nations.

Their language, Sm'algyax ("real or true language") is endangered.

Matthew Hill is a member of the Kitkatla Nation. the Gitxaala (Kitkatla) Nation on Dolphin Island withdrew from the Tsimshian treaty group.

Tsleil-Waututh First Nation. Also known as the Burrard Band.

They were one of the Four Host First Nations for the Vancouver 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Olympics. Chief Leonard George is a member of the Tsleil-Waututh.

Wet'suwet'en Nation.

They speak Witsuwit'en, a member of the Athabaskan language group. Politician, First Nations and women's rights activist Gloria George is from the We'suwet'en community of Telkwa, BC.
Wuikinuxv or Oweekeno Nation. Incorrectly identified in the past as "Northern Kwagiutl. Paul Willie serves as band manager for the Oweekeno Nation and is a member of the Datowadeno tribe.
Brush Texture Footer

a place of mind, The Univeristy of British Columbia

UBC Library

The Irving K. Barber Learning Centre
1961 East Mall,
Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z1
Fax:(604) 822-3242
Feedback Contact Us

Emergency Procedures | Accessibility | Contact UBC | © Copyright The University of British Columbia