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Aboriginal refers to the “first, earliest, existing from the beginning.” It is commonly used to refer to the indigenous peoples of Australia. Without a capital “a”, “aboriginal” can refer to an indigenous person from anywhere in the world. The word means “original inhabitant” in Latin.


Aboriginal with a capital “A” should only be used when referring to native peoples of Australia. When referring to any group of native people, the terms Native Peoples, Aboriginal, First Peoples and Indigenous Peoples are appropriate. The wisest thing to do is to refer to people by their specific ancestry. So, if you know a particular person is Choctaw, Navajo, Lumbee, etc., call them that rather than using an umbrella term.

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