Atla Open Press has frequently received inquiries from authors about referring to the Indigenous peoples of the Americas.
Both “American Indian” (which, in a North American context, must include the descriptor “American”) and “Native American” are generally accepted terms. However, while the latter can be ambiguous in scope, both are primarily used in reference to populations resident in the contiguous United States. Populations resident in Canada are more commonly termed “First Nations,” with the exception of the Inuit and the Métis, who are referred to separately. Within US territory, Native Hawai’ians, Native Alaskans (a broad term incorporating many culturally and linguistically distinct peoples), Samoans, and Chamorros are generally referred to separately.
At the largest, most inclusive scale, it is often preferred to use the term “Indigenous” with a geographic specifier—i.e., “Indigenous peoples in Canada,” “Indigenous peoples of the United States,” “Indigenous peoples of the Americas,” etc.