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, Wikipedia:Article titles. 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]

Ethnic groups have several acceptable naming conventions. In the following table the pattern is based on an imaginary Elbonian ethnicity.

Pattern Examples
Elbonian people Basque people, Kurdish people, Wauja people
Elbonians American Jews, Romanians, Rusyns, Serbs, Taiwanese aborigines
Elbonian African American, Iyer
Ethnic Elbonians Ethnic Germans
Elbonians (ethnic group) Macedonians (ethnic group)

"Elbonian people" , "Ethnic Elbonians", "Elbonians" and "Elbonian" are all acceptable. Generally speaking, the article title should use the common English-language term for an 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 (sub-ethnicity) 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.