Name change reflects a significant trend by communities and organizations, both nationally and globally, to use Indigenous as a preferred term.

The following memo was sent to CBC employees on Sep. 20 from John Bertrand, Senior Managing Director, Prairie/ North Region

Tomorrow, CBC Aboriginal will by renamed CBC Indigenous (cbc.ca/Indigenous), and the Aboriginal Digital Unit will become the Indigenous Digital Unit.

This name change reflects a significant trend by communities and organizations, both nationally and globally, to use Indigenous as a preferred term. Our decision to institute this change was made after consultation with Indigenous CBC staff from across the country.

In Canada many organizations have been switching from Aboriginal to Indigenous to reflect this common usage – including The Aboriginal Peoples Choice Music Awards, now the Indigenous Music Awards; Aboriginal and Northern Affairs, now Indigenous and Northern Affairs. Many universities have made the switch to Indigenous Studies, from Aboriginal or Native Studies.

Internationally, almost a decade ago, the UN adopted the United Nations Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. And now that Canada has adopted UNDRIP, there is even more weight given to Indigenous.

Note that Indigenous and Aboriginal both refer to all First Nations (status and non-status), Inuit and Métis in Canada, and it is correct to use either term in our news coverage.

None of this negates our preference for using specific details (e.g., “Cree”, “Nisga’a” or “Inuit”) rather than general labels such as “Indigenous” whenever possible.

It’s a good time to remind everyone that CBC also made a significant change to our style guide six months ago when we chose to capitalize the words Indigenous and Aboriginal – recognizing that when we use these terms, we speak about a distinct community (or more accurately, distinct communities), often with official representation and a regular place in the national debate.

CBC’s Indigenous Digital Unit continues to be a trail blazer and game changer. The unit, in conjunction with CBC’s Indigenous staff across the country, has lead the way with award-winning cross-platform projects like  MMIW , coverage of significant events like Standing Rock, and an engaged, dynamic and growing Facebook community.

The stories featured on the online site – many of them original journalism – have garnered more than 11 million page views since it re-launched almost three years ago.

Thanks a lot.
John Bertrand
Senior Managing Director
Prairie/ North Region