• Aboriginal Peoples

    Original peoples of Canada and their descendants. The Constitution Act of 1982 says there are three groups of Aboriginal peoples in Canada: First Nations, Inuit and Métis.

    First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples have different cultures, languages and spiritual beliefs. 

  • Advocate

    An advocate is a person who supports somebody else. In Canada, there are people who are called "Advocates" for children and youth. This advocate is a person who  a child or youth can talk to if they need support, especially when the child or youth's rights are not being respected.

  • Assistance

    Assistance means the same thing as "giving help" to someone.

  • Child

    The word "child" is used to describe young people. Different people have different ideas about the age when a person is no longer called a "child" and when they are called another word such as "youth" or "adult".  The definition of "child" under the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child includes anyone who is below the age of 18 years. 

  • Child welfare

    The best place for children to grow up is with their families but sometimes families have a hard time and need support to keep their children safe.  Child welfare describes the services provided to families to keep children safe. In many cases, child welfare can provide services to the family so the child can live safely at home but sometimes the child has to live with extended family, friends or a foster parent while their parents address some of the problems they are having.  Young people who live with foster families or in group homes are called "children in care" or "youth in care". 

  • Child/youth in care

    "Child in care" or "youth in care" means that a child or youth who is cared for through the child welfare system. This child or youth might live with a foster family, in a group home or with extended family members. 

  • Convention

    A convention is a agreement made between countries who decide that they should all do something a certain way.

    For example, the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) is an agreement between the governments of many different countries, who have decided that they want all the children in their countries to have the same basic rights. 

  • Culture

     Culture "involves the language, customs, ideas and art of a particular group of people. It also includes religion, dress, means of livelihood and lifestyle." (p. 32 UNDRIP for Indigenous Adolescents).

  • Declaration

    "A declaration is an agreement among countries about a specific issue that requires urgent action. It tells us what governments must do or not do around such an issue.” (p. 5, UNDRIP for Indigenous adolescents)

  • Discrimination

    Discrimination means that a person (or a group of people) is being treated unfairly or differently because of things such as their age, race, gender or ability.

    For example, if an Indigenous kid is not able to get the same kind of dental care as a non-Indigenous kid, this is discrimination based on race. If a kid in a wheelchair is excluded from joining the rest of their class in an activity, this is discrimination based on ability. If a girl is treated differently at her work just because she is a girl, this is discrimination based on gender. 


  • Equitable

    When something is equitable, it means that things are fair and that things are done in a way that meet different peoples' needs. 

  • First Nations

    First Nations are one of the three Aboriginal groups in Canada. Sometimes you may hear the word 'Indian' but many people are offended by that word.

    First Nations people belong to different nations. For example, someone might say, "I'm Ojibway" or "I'm Algonquin." There are 634 First Nations communities in Canada, which you may know as 'reserves.'

    To learn more, visit the Assembly of First Nations website.  

  • Human rights

    “’Rights’ are things every child should have or be able to do. All children have the same rights. These rights are listed in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. Almost every country has agreed to these rights. All the rights are connected to each other, and all are equally important. Sometimes, we have to think about rights in terms of what is the best for children in a situation, and what is critical to life and protection from harm. As you grow, you have more responsibility to make choices and exercise your rights.” (UNCRC in child friendly language)

  • Indian Act, the

    This is the law in Canada, first created in 1876, which sets out things the Federal Government must do for First Nations peoples and lays out rules for the management of First Nations reserves. The Act has been changed several times, most recently in 1985. (AFN)

  • Indigenous

    Its meaning is similar to Aboriginal Peoples, Native Peoples or First Peoples. Indigenous peoples are descendants of the original people or occupants of lands before these lands were taken over or conquered by others. Many indigenous peoples have maintained their traditional cultures and identities (e.g., way of dressing, language and the cultivation of land). Therefore they have a strong and deep connection with their ancestral territories, cultures and identities  (p. 5 UNDRIP for Indigenous Adolescents).

  • Inuit

    Inuit are the Aboriginal People of Arctic Canada. Inuit live primarily in the Northwest Territories, Nunavut and northern parts of Quebec and throughout most of Labrador. Inuit live in communities and settlements. Inuit never lived on reserves, therefore the terms on-reserve or off-reserve do not apply to Inuit only to First Nations.

  • Métis

    This is the French word for "mixed blood". The Constitution Act of 1982 recognizes Métis as one of the three Aboriginal Peoples. Historically, the term Métis applied to the children of French fur traders and Cree women in the Prairies, of English and Scottish traders, and Dene women in the north, and Inuit and British in Newfoundland and Labrador. Today, the term is used broadly to describe people with mixed First Nations and European ancestry who identify themselves as Métis. Note that Métis organizations in Canada have differing criteria about who qualifies as a Métis person. (NAHO)

  • Reserve

    The Indian Act describes a reserve as areas of land that have been set apart for the use and benefit of a First Nations community. The federal government of Canada holds the responsibility over these lands and the people who live there. 

  • United Nations

    “The United Nations (UN) is an international organization founded in 1945 after the Second World War by 51 countries, with headquarters in New York in the United States of America. Today this number has increased to 193 countries. The UN is a platform for countries to discuss and take decisions on a number of important issues. It plays a key role in keeping peace throughout the world and helping governments work together to improve the lives of people who live in their countries. Countries that form part of the UN are called ‘Member States’ and take decisions through the United Nations General Assembly, which is very similar to a world parliament. Sometimes these decisions are documented as declarations.” (p. 5, UNDRIP for Indigenous adolescents)

  • United Nations Declaration on Indigenous Peoples

    “The Declaration explains how the rights of indigenous peoples – including indigenous young people – are to be protected by governments around the world. It applies to indigenous peoples as individuals and as a group.” (p. 4, UNDRIP for Indigenous adolescents)

  • Youth

    Youth is a word to describe young people who are between being a child and being an adult. Different people have different ideas about when someone should be called a "youth".