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IST: Indigenous Studies

This guide presents selected print and electronic resources in Indigenous studies available through the Camosun College Library and open access web sites.

Indigenous Studies resources at the Camosun Library

Welcome to the Camosun College Library Indigenous Studies Guide. This guide provides links to a variety of resources for students seeking information related to Indigenous Studies. 

Where to find books, e-books, & scholarly articles

Use the tools on this page to start your search for books, e-books, and academic articles on Indigenous-related topics.

Single Search tool

A tool that searches the Camosun catalogue and majority of Camosun databases. Use the "advanced search" function to increase the complexity of your keyword search or to limit your results to print and electronic books. 

A-Z Database list: Indigenous Studies

Tailor your search to humanities and history-specific databases by searching the A-Z Databases list. Access the list from the library homepage, clicking on the "Articles & databases" tab, and selecting the "Databases - search for articles, e-books, media" link. 

Once at the A-Z Databases list, you can search for databases by name alphabetically, or use the "filter by subjects" drop-down menu to search by discipline. Select from databases including JSTOR, Humanities Abstracts with Full Text, and Academic Search Complete.


Screen cap image of A-Z Database index with the subject field filtered to "Indigenous Studies"

Politics of naming

Like most post-secondary libraries, the Camosun Library uses international standards for classifying and describing information. The majority of the publications and databases for which it provides access also use these same standards. Libraries use subject headings as words to describe and organize things and ideas. When you search the library databases, your keywords are checked against and for related subject headings.

Library categorization systems influence the information we access and the ways we think about words and their meanings. Vocabularies and classification systems are designed to make information accessible to library users. However, many Western information categorization and organization systems are rooted in colonial practices, express Western world views, and uphold values of white supremacy. 

Who determines what subject headings are used is also very political. Much of the library and publishing world relies on the American Library of Congress system of cataloguing. The Library of Congress’s subject headings and vocabulary perpetuates many colonial ideas. Many of its terms are outdated, racist, or derogatory and have not been updated. This is especially true when referencing specific Indigenous communities or groups. Names that were created for Indigenous groups by cultural outsiders may still be in use. 

If you are searching for information on an Indigenous topic, you may need to search a number of terms – many of which may seem outdated or inappropriate – to find information. Two subject terms used frequently in our Library catalogue are "Native Peoples – Canada" and "Indians of North America". These are standard terms used in most academic libraries, even though they don't accurately reflect the current language used to describe Indigenous peoples in Canada today.

Below are some of the terms used to describe resources related to Indigenous topics:

  • Indigenous peoples*
  • Native peoples*
  • Indians of North America
  • Native American
  • Aboriginal
  • Métis
  • Inuit 
  • First Nations
  • American Indians

If you're looking for information on a specific people, search for that group: Haida, Salish, Métis, etc.

Be careful about alternate spellings: for example, Nisga or Niska or Nisga'a. Find the most resources by searching for all the different spellings together using "or": Niska OR Nisga OR Nisga'a

*Note: You will notice the lower-case "p" in "peoples" in these subject terms. These Library of Congress (LOC) subject terms have not been capitalized to demonstrate respect as we have formulated in Camosun  Style Guide. While many libraries are working to update and change LOC terms, the Library of Congress itself is slow to change and has not yet addressed capitalization as a means of indigenization and/or respectful description.