Wikipedia:Naming conventions (ethnicities and tribes)

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This guideline contains conventions on how to name Wikipedia articles about peoples, ethnicities and tribes. It should be read in conjunction with Wikipedia's general policy on article naming. This guideline explains how to handle cases where this format is not obvious, or for one reason or other is not followed.

Ethnic groups[edit]

There are several acceptable conventions for naming articles about ethnic groups. When deciding how to name such an article, consider the article title criteria. In general, the common English-language term for an ethnic group should be used, whether in nounal or adjectival form. In many cases, the most concise title will be a plural demonym, e.g. Bretons or Swedes. In cases where no plural demonym exists, or where that demonym is ambiguous, other forms can be used. As an example, the title Scottish people is used as opposed to the ambiguous Scots, which can refer to a language, and many other topics. Forms that require a definite article should not be used, e.g. French people is used instead of The French. Gendered terminology should also be avoided, e.g. English people is used instead of Englishmen.

Examples of usage on the English Wikipedia are provided below:

Pattern Examples
Plural demonym Koreans · Germans · Swedes
Adjectival with "people" French people · Wauja people
Singular demonym African American · Iyer
Parenthetical disambiguation Macedonians (ethnic group)


How the group self-identifies should be considered. If their autonym is commonly used in English, it would be the best article title. Any terms regarded as derogatory by members of the ethnic group in question should be avoided.


A people should not be called a "tribe" unless they are actually a tribe (subethnicity) rather than an ethnic group or a nation, even if references commonly call them tribes, as that label can be offensive when used inaccurately. Examples of true tribes are the Walla Walla tribe of the Sahaptin people, the Bukusu tribe of the Luhya people, and the Naphtali tribe of the ancient Hebrews. In the case of an article on a tribal government with 'tribe' in its name, the word 'tribe' is capitalized, as in Spirit Lake Tribe.


In articles describing multiple ethnic groups, "peoples" is pluralized, for example, Aboriginal peoples in Canada.


Disputes over how to refer to a group are addressed by policies such as Verifiability, Neutral point of view, Article titles, and English. Undiscussed, unilateral moves of widely edited articles are discouraged.