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Indigenous Resources


Indigenous Resources

This guide will help you find information relevant to Indigenous topics in Treaty 6, Treaty 7, and Métis ancestral lands.

What terminology should I use?

Please note that terminology, particularly as it relates to Indigenous peoples, can be tricky to navigate. A term that might be acceptable to some might be offensive to others, and a term that was once commonly used may be offensive.

Additionally, some terms have specific legal definitions. For more detail, see Indigenous Peoples terminology guidelines for usage.

When searching for information, it's important to consider the terminology you use.

Names & Languages

When searching for information, remember that names of Indigenous nations and languages often change over time and spellings may vary. You may need to conduct multiple searches using a variety of search terms to find information about a particular Indigenous nation or language.

Changes Over Time

  • Names of languages change over time and also vary by different groups and academic disciplines
    • Example: Dane-zaa Záágéʔ is also called the Beaver language
    • Example: Dakelh is also called the Carrier language
  • Names of dialects also vary
    • Example: Plains Cree is also known as the Y-dialect or Nehiyawewin

Spelling Variations

  • Consider spelling variations, especially for languages that have had multiple (or no) written systems
  • Classification systems in libraries and archives may use different spellings and ordering systems
    • Example: Stó:lō, Stó:lô, Stó:lõ, Stahlo, Staulo, Stolo, Stohlo, Sto:lo (group of people)
    • Example: Tsuut’ina, Sarcee, Sarsi, Tsuu T’ina, Tsu T’ina, Tsúùtínà (language)

Keyword Searches & Subject Headings

When searching for information, you may need to use a variety of keywords and subject headings to find information about a particular Indigenous nation or language.

Keyword Searches

Combine keywords about your topic AND keywords relating to the concept of Indigenous identity.

For example:

"First Nations"  Aboriginal  Native  Métis  Indigenous  Indian  Inuit


  • Use quotation marks to search for a phrase
    • Example: "First Nations"
  • Use a question mark to truncate a term to search for words with the same stem
    • Example: Aborig? retrieves Aboriginal, Aboriginals, Aborigine, etc.

Subject Headings

Subjects headings are a tool designed to help researchers find similar materials. A subject heading is an assigned word or phrase that is used to describe a specific concept.

Within the catalogue or database, every resource about a specific topic will have the same subject heading assigned. Searching using subject headings (instead of using keywords) means that you don't need to worry about synonyms or spelling variations.

If you find a book or article that supports your research, be sure to check the subject headings and browse for other resources with that subject heading.

Red Deer Polytechnic Library recognizes that our catalogue and resource descriptions contain language that reflects the biases, norms, and perspectives of the time in which they were created. In particular, for resources about persons and groups, this language is often outdated and harmful. These descriptions also incorporate controlled vocabularies, such as the Library of Congress Subject Headings, which include some headings (e.g., Indians of North America), that are offensive or inappropriate. We use international standards for description, but support and actively participate in efforts to update and change these practices as we strive for descriptions that are inclusive, respectful, and do not cause harm. We acknowledge the critical importance of community consultation in these efforts, and as residents on Treaty 7 and Treaty 6 territories and Métis Region 3 we commit to working together with our local communities to make these changes.

Permissions and Acknowledgement:

This guide contains content adapted with permission from X̱wi7x̱wa Library and X̱wi7x̱wa Library. If you use any of the information, please ensure to comply with the terms and conditions of use imposed by the owners or licensees of those materials.

Creative Commons License This guide is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.