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Indigenous Studies

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


Two-spirit is a pan-Indigenous term that encompasses concepts of sexual, gender and/or spiritual identity. This term was agreed upon at the 3rd annual inter-tribal Native American/First Nations gay and lesbian gathering in Winnipeg, Manitoba in 1990. The adoption of two-spirit was meant to differentiate between Indigenous and non-Indigenous experiences, as well as to take the place of offensive terms imposed by European colonizers. Within Indigenous communities which hold two-spirit concepts, these individuals often have culturally-specific ceremonial and social roles. The term two-spirit is not meant to replace any culturally specific terminology or concepts already in use within Indigenous communities. Nor is it meant to be an all-encompassing term for all Indigenous individuals with LGBTQIA+ identities. For example, an individual may identify as two-spirit or Indigiqueer or both or neither. (sources: [1], [2], [3], [4])

The term Indigequeer (now more often spelled as Indigiqueer) was created by Thirza Cuthand to title the Vancouver Queer Film Festival’s Indigenous/two-spirit program in 2004. They used it as a way to acknowledge that not all LGBTQIA+ Indigenous people feel that two-spirit describes their identity. (sources: [1], [2])

Finding Resources at 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the dominant structure for organizing information is from a western perspective, for this reason you may need to use outdated (sometimes offensive) terminology to find resources related to Indigenous peoples; please contact us if you'd like assistance navigating this.

Combine keywords related to the concept of Indigenous identity 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)


"Two Spirit" or "Two Spirited" or "two-spirited" Queer or "Queer theory" Gender or "Gender studies"
Sexuality "Sexual orientation" Indigiqueer
Identity LGBT or LGBTQ or LGBTQ2S Gay
Lesbian Transgender Decolonial/Decolonialism

Search Tips:

  • Use quotation marks to search for a phrase (e.g. "queer theory").
  • Use an asterisk to search for words with the same stem (e.g. decoloni* retrieves decolonial, decolonialism, decolonize).
  • 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

Subject headings are a tool designed to help researchers find similar materials. These are only some examples of the many subject headings that Okanagan College Library uses. Spend a few minutes exploring them when you find a book in the catalogue that supports your research.

Search by Subject Terms

  • Two-spirit people
  • SOCIAL SCIENCE / LGBTQ+ Studies / Gay Studies
  • Indians of North America -- Sexual Behavior
  • Indian gays -- North America
  • Sexual Minorities -- Fiction
  • Queer identity

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