Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

Indigenous Studies

This guide provides resources related to the interdisciplinary field of Indigenous Studies.

Introduction

When looking for sources to inform our research, it is important to critically examine where we are looking for information and who we are positioning as authorities when we cite their work.

Indigenous Peoples and Indigenous Knowledges have been historically excluded and/or discounted in western research practices. One way to counter this systemic bias is through indigenizing research by reading and citing Indigenous authors.

This guide provides some strategies for finding Indigenous voices through the OC Library catalogue and elsewhere.

Featured Video

Angela Sterritt shares the harmful effects of erasure and how Indigenous peoples have been erased by being portrayed as people who "once were" or by not being portrayed at all. She shares how her experiences made her want to become a journalist "to change the world and how people see Indigenous people as less than. I decided at that time that I would start telling the stories of our people accurately."

Finding Indigenous Voices in OC Library

IMPORTANT: the dominant structure for organizing information is from a western perspective, for this reason you may need to use outdated (sometimes offensive) terminology to find resources related to Indigenous peoples.

When you have found articles that may be of interest, evaluate them using the guidelines listed in the Evaluate Sources section.

Keyword Search Terms

Combine keywords related to the concept of Indigenous identity and research methods with keywords related to your area of interest.

For example:

Indigenous Aboriginal "First Nations"
Inuit Métis "Indians of North America"
Indian Native Name of Nation or Community (e.g. Secwépemc)

AND

Subject area (e.g. healthcare, ecology, language, education)

Each topic guide in Indigenous Studies includes examples of keywords that may be helpful in refining your search. (e.g. Indigenous Research Methodology, Indian Residential Schools, Indigenous Food Sovereignty, etc.)

Search Tips

  • Use quotation marks to search for a phrase (e.g. "traditional knowledge").
  • Use an asterisk to search for words with the same stem (e.g. method* retrieves method, methods, methodology, methodologies).
  • Terminology changes over time. You many need to search for alternative spellings of a word, for example: Sto:lo, Stó:lô, Staulo, Stahlo or you may need to search for alternate words, for example: Kwakiutl/Kwakwaka'wakw or Nootka/Nuu-chah-nulth

Author Search

Indigenous organizations or associations may perform their own research and produce publicly available reports, discussion papers, articles, etc. One way to search the catalogue for Indigenous perspectives is by using the names of these organizations and associations as an author search term.

Example: Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami is the national representational organization for Inuit rights.

Examples of Indigenous organizations and associations are provided further down in this guide.

Reverse Citation

Indigenous scholars will often cite other Indigenous scholars in their work. Google Scholar will show you when an article/book has been cited by other scholars - also known as reverse citation. When you click on the "cited by" link, you will see a list of resources that have cited the original resource. You can then evaluate them to determine if they were written by/with Indigenous authors.

Places to Start

These are suggestions of places to start your search for Indigenous voices and perspectives.

  • Scholarly Journals section of the Indigenous Studies guide for a selection of journals covering Indigenous topics.
  • Indigenous Organizations/Associations and Indigenous newspapers (see below).
  • Indigenous podcasts (see below) as well as featured podcasts on the various Special Topics areas in the Indigenous Studies guide.
  • Indigenous publishers websites. A list of publishers is available in the Indigenous Literature guide.
  • iPortal: Indigenous Studies Portal Research Tool from the University of Saskatchewan.
  • Post-secondary websites may maintain lists of Indigenous faculty members. Look for Indigenous faculty working in your discipline.

Evaluating Academic Sources

When looking for sources written by Indigenous authors/researchers or for sources that research Indigenous peoples and related issues, there are different ways to evaluate the sources for credibility.

There is a history of research being conducted on Indigenous peoples rather than with and/or by Indigenous peoples. This has led to breaches of Indigenous protocols through the inappropriate publishing of oral traditions and traditional knowledge as well as misrepresentation of Indigenous peoples and cultural traditions. For this reason, Gregory Younging in his book Elements of Indigenous Style, cautions against referencing works published prior to 1990 without re-evaluating and/or acknowledging the positionality of the authors and research methods employed.

In Indigenous Information Literacy, Rachel Chong outlines some ways to evaluate sources, including:

  • Author: Does the author situate themselves? This may include family history, personal journey leading to research, acknowledgement of teachers/mentors, which Nation(s) they are from, or identifying as a settler or newcomer.
  • Research Practice: What protocols did they follow in their research? Did they consult with community and Elders? Did they offer gifts of reciprocity? Did they follow Indigenous protocols? Did their interactions with community change their perspectives?

Examples

In "The Old Foods are the New Foods!": Erosion and Revitalization of Indigenous Food Systems in Northwestern North America, the authors discuss their research practice and situate one of the authors as Indigenous: (emphasis added)

"The information included here is drawn from interviews with Indigenous knowledge holders, from personal and participatory observation of both authors, and from literature sources, including our own publications...The methods we have used in our research...following ethical standards and with respect for our collaborators' intellectual property. The first author, Styawat (Leigh Joseph) is Indigenous, a member of the Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish) First Nation, and in some parts of this paper, the wording reflects her own voice, in the singular, as an Indigenous woman."

In Understanding Indigenous Food Sovereignty through an Indigenous Research Paradigm, the authors are situated and their research methods are discussed: (emphasis added)

"Three of the researchers involved in this project are Indigenous; one is a Settler."

"The framework that guided this research consisted of an epistemology that focused on experience, or the involvement of the participants in their own food projects; a methodology based on respect, reciprocity, and relational accountability whereby we situated ourselves in our research, contributed a narrative chapter to a Masters thesis, and hosted an Indigenous food gathering for research participants to attend; and perhaps most importantly, an approach to analysis that was based on metaphor, and the medicine wheel; a method of analysis that was decidedly "wholistic" (Absolon, 2011)."

News Sources

Though news articles are not peer-reviewed, you may find Indigenous news sources helpful in understanding different perspectives than what is presented in mainstream media; discovering topics that are important to Indigenous people; or finding Indigenous experts in various disciplines.

Podcasts

These are just some Indigenous podcasts. There may be others that are more closely related to your specific area of interest (e.g. language, ecology, education). Or you may find podcasts with Indigenous guests speaking on a topic of interest. Check the other subject areas within the Indigenous Studies guide for featured podcasts/podcast episodes.

This site is maintained by the librarians of Okanagan College Library.
If you wish to comment on an individual page, please contact that page's author.
If you have a question or comment about Okanagan College Library's LibGuides site as a whole, please contact the site administrator.