What's in a name change - Macleans.ca

What’s in a name change

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Bill Curry considers the department formerly known as Indian Affairs.

At first glance, Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s reclassification appears to be in keeping with prevailing moves toward political correctness: replacing a label that doesn’t have much relevance any more with one more widely accepted. “Indian” is dated, in much the same way as Inuit are no longer called Eskimos. But there is power in naming. The semantic shift could have all sorts of consequences for native people from the laws governing their treatment, the services they get, and even their identities.