A term historically used to identify and erase the differences among the Indigenous peoples of South, Central, and North America. The term "Indian" has been recognized as derogatory and incorrect in its history and usage, but its use in Canada persists because of the continuing legislated definitions of "Indian" contained in The Indian Act (1876), and, more recently, in the enshrinement of Aboriginal Rights under the Canadian Constitution Act of 1982. While some Indigenous people in Canada do self-identify as "Indian," the use of the term "Indian" by non-Indigenous people is generally confined to discussions of legislative definitions and concerns.
Three categories apply to Indians in Canada: status Indians, non-status Indians, and treaty Indians.
A Status (or Registered) Indian is the legal identity of a First Nations person who is registered as an “Indian” under the Indian Act.
Treaty Indians are persons who are registered under the Indian Act and can prove descent from a Band that signed a treaty.
A non-status Indian is someone who considers themselves to be a First Nations person, or a member of a First Nation, but who the Government of Canada does not recognize as an Indian under the Indian Act, either because they are unable to prove their Indian status or have lost their status rights. Non-status Indians do not receive the same rights and benefits conferred upon status Indians under the Indian Act.