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'Ilhe tul'nuxw / Let's Find out: Introduction to Library Research for Indigenous Topics

'Ilhe tul'nuxw / Let's find out. Selected resources to guide research in Indigenous / Xwulmuxw studies & decolonization

2013 Fall: Libraries in the 21st Century and Indigenous Methodologies

Eileen Edmunds

Dana McFarland


I. What is a library in the 21st century? Some questions to explore:

  • What do you understand about libraries right now? What do you wish you knew?
  • What are your expectations? What do you wish libraries were like?
  • What relationships could or should there be between libraries and indigenous knowledge?


II. What are "indigenous methodologies"? A list of words and "phrases" to try when looking for information related to indigenous methodologies.

  • sense of belonging
  • storywork
  • ceremony
  • critical theory
  • lens
  • statement
  • political
  • approach
  • philosophy
  • influence
  • ethics, ethical (ethic*)
  • research
  • "in the academy"
  • "indigenous law"
  • ethnology
  • critique
  • "social science methods"
  • agenda
  • methodology
  • "conceptual framework"
  • grounded
  • "scientific method"
  • ethnography
  • interviews
  • "pure research"
  • marxist
  • "action research"
  • perspective
  • observation
  • participation
  • "participant observation"
  • historical
  • contemporary
  • retrospective
  • analogy: forage or shop for ingredients, bring them home, choose which way you'll cook them up -- all of these things determine what you make. Are you allergic to anything? Opposed to cooking with a microwave? Who are the great cooks that I admire and what tools and approaches do they use?

Combine these with other terms that describe the First Nations-related topic that you are interested in, e.g.

"indigenous methodologies" decolonization

"participant observation" "sense of belonging" "first nations"

 Compiled in class, 2013 September 16

2012 Spring: Search Terms: Self Government

A list of words & phrases to try when looking for information related to self government

Compiled in class 2013 February 6


Combine these with other terms that describe the First Nation(s) group or geography or jurisdiction that you are interested in.

  • "self government"
  • decolonization
  • "self determination"
  • governance
  • rights
  • freedoms
  • nationhood
  • sovereignty
  • survivance
  • resurgence
  • transmotion
  • resistance
  • education
  • ("decision-making" OR decisionmaking OR "decision making")
  • treaties
  • (government OR governments)
  • "self-governing agreements"
  • politics
  • "political organizations"
  • identity
  • traditions
  • law
  • legislation
  • policy
  • "pre-treaty"
  • "post-treaty"
  • "pre-Confederation"
  • "post-Confederation"
  • ("memorandum of understanding" OR mou)
  • by geography e.g. "British Columbia", plains, arctic
  • by culture group e.g. Haida, (Athapaskan OR Athapascan OR Athabaskan OR Athabascan)
  • ...

2014 Fall: Libraries in the 21st Century and Research in Indigenous Topics

Dana McFarland


I. What is a library in the 21st century? Some questions to explore:

  • What do you wish you knew more about in libraries?
  • What are your expectations? What do you wish libraries were like?
  • Online information: What's there, what's not there... yet, or ever.
  • What relationships could or should there be between libraries and indigenous knowledge?


II. Finding First Nations-related information. Words are significant. Let's talk about this...

  • ("first nations" OR aboriginal OR indigenous OR "indians of north america" OR "native peoples")


  • Combine with other terms that describe the First Nations-related topic that you are interested in, e.g.
    • Stories of Resilience: oral history of residential school survivors.
    • Aboriginal Children in Foster Care: how many are there in BC, and what factors lead them there?
    • Expressions of Identity in the GBLQT indigenous community in Vancouver: how do they express their identity?
    • An autobiography of an indigenous Deaf person: exploring culture of Deafness and education.
    • How the land contributes to health and healing of individuals with addictions.
    • Murdered and missing Aboriginal women.
    • ?

Tips from our conversation:

  • "Don't start eating the berries too soon!" Getting distracted... use tools like emailing things to yourself, save to folder, USB etc.
  • Use the Library as well as google - good place to start - LibrarySearch
    Video tutorials:
  • Try the FN library guides for a starting point for many topics e.g. language revitalization, residential schools
  • Kathleen Reed's Stats guide for Indigenous statistics
  • Keep a research journal for yourself - including search terms, which databases -- so as not to get lost. Document the trail.
  • Keep in mind that not everything may be online, esp. historical or local information. And perhaps with indigenous topics not everything should be online.
  • Get in touch with librarians when you have questions!

 Compiled in class, 2014 September

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