Learn how to ensure your writing is inclusive of Indigenous Peoples.
Using culturally appropriate language and behaviour can help create an environment that is respectful, safe and more equitable for Indigenous Peoples. If you are unsure about the appropriate language to use, such as how to write or pronounce an Indigenous name or territory, reach out and connect with verified sources and qualified people who can assist you.
One example of a verified source is our Fraser Salish Territory Acknowledgement guide, which contains all the appropriate land acknowledgements relevant to our region. For instance, the guide notes that when you are in Surrey, here is how you would acknowledge the territory:
“I would like to recognize that we are conducting our business today on the traditional, ancestral and unceded shared territories of the q̓ ic̓əy̓ (Katzie) [kut-zee], q̓ ʷɑ:n̓ƛ̓ən̓ [Kwantlen], kʷikʷəƛ̓əm (Kwikwetlem) [kwee-kwet- lum], Semiahmoo [semi-ah-moo] and sc̓əwaθən məsteyəxʷ Tsawwassen) [tsawah-sen] First Nations, and home to the Surrey-Delta Métis Association.”
Meetings, presentations and e-signatures
- Begin your meeting, event or presentation with a territorial acknowledgement. This demonstrates respect for Indigenous Peoples and is part of Fraser Health’s commitment to practice cultural safety and humility.
- Review our Fraser Salish Territory Acknowledgement guide.
- Add an acknowledgement in your email signature.
- Use Indigenous names and spellings for Indigenous individuals, communities and places, followed by colonial names in brackets.
- Example: “Indigenous person’s name” from Xwchíyò:m (Cheam First Nation).
- Ensure that you ask Indigenous Peoples how they would like to be introduced.
- See this First Nations A-Z listing for the names and spellings of First Nations communities in British Columbia.
Capitalization, punctuation and grammar
- Capitalize ‘Indigenous Peoples.’
- Avoid using possessive terms, as this is patronizing and implies that Indigenous individuals are owned.
- Do not use: ‘Fraser Health’s Indigenous communities;’ ‘Our Indigenous communities’
- Instead use: ‘Indigenous Peoples in the Fraser Health region.’
- Consult the Capitalization and formatting of Indigenous terms and Language and grammar resources for more information.
- Use the correct accents for the spelling of Indigenous communities.
- Example: ‘Métis.’
- Consult this Terminology in Indigenous content resource for a glossary of definitions as well as terms to use and avoid. For example, ‘traditional’ and ‘stakeholder’ are two common terms which should be avoided.
- See this Keyboard shortcuts to add language accent marks in Word article about how to type many common accent marks.
- Writing Guide for Indigenous Content (BC Government)
- Indigenous Peoples: Language Guidelines (University of British Columbia)
- Elements of Indigenous Style: A Guide for Writing By and About Indigenous Peoples (Gregory Younging)