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Indigenous History: Research strategies

Using keywords to search for information

The terms you use to find books and articles on Indigenous People will depend on the type of tool you're using, for example, the library catalogue, OneSearch or a specific database.

When you're searching in the Library catalogue for books or streaming videos, the library uses subject terms to classify books by topic. Below are the list of terms that are used for research focused on Indigenous peoples.

Subject headings in the Catalogue: Native peoples, Indigenous peoples, Native, Indian, Inuit, Métis, Indians of North America.

When you're using OneSearch,  you can use keywords such as: Indigenous, Aboriginal, First Nations, Inuit, Métis, Native, First Peoples, Indian.

If you're using a particular database, like Academic Search Complete, you can start with known keywords, like the ones listed above for OneSearch, but once you get your results, take a look at the specific subject terms assigned to that article. The subject terms used in Academic Search Complete, for example, include: First Nations, Métis, Inuit, Native Americans, Aboriginal Australians, Indigenous peoples, names of specific nations. 

A note about Indigenous subject headings

We recognize that some of the subject headings from the Library of Congress Classification system, which are used to find materials in our catalogue, use problematic, outdated, and inappropriate terminology to refer to Indigenous peoples. Please note that work is underway in libraries to change and update this terminology. This process is expected to take some time due to the millions of records impacted by this change. For more details about this issue, please see the Library and Archives Canada page on Canadian Subject Headings for Indigenous Peoples, and the SFU Indigenous Terminology Guide.