As a resident, I did a family medicine rotation in small town BC. A woman came in for her first prenatal visit. I began to fill in the prenatal record form, and paused at the box marked ethnicity. I was certain from her appearance that the woman was First Nations, but I didn't want to make any assumptions.

"What's your ethnicity?" I asked carefully.

"My what?" she replied.

"What's your race?" I tried again. She looked confused. "Are you . . . First Nations?" I asked, reluctantly reverting to a close-ended question.

"First Nations?" she repeated blankly.

"Are you native?" I finally prodded.

"I'm an Indian, if that's what you're getting at."