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Indigenizing Citations at Camosun

Camosun Style: Indigenizing Citations at the Camosun Library

Welcome to the Camosun College Indigenizing Citations Guide. This guide provides a variety of resources for students and instructors interested in indigenizing and decolonizing their written work.

Guide values

This guide is built on the knowledge that “Indigenous [P]eoples have the right to the dignity and diversity of their cultures, traditions, histories and aspirations which shall be appropriately reflected in education and public information” (Article 15.1, United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, 2007). As such, for Camosun, this guide is inspired by the work of Opaskwayak Cree editor and scholar, Gregory Younging and Métis from manitow-sâkahikan (Lac Ste. Anne) legal scholar and educator, Chelsea Vowel, and their contributions to citations, writing style, and language.

The following examples, knowledge, and direction is provided by Indigenous teachers and scholars from the Camosun community, and the languages of the lək̓ʷəŋən and W̱SÁNEĆ Traditional Territories – the land in which Camosun is rooted.

Some key values informing this guide come from the college’s work on Indigenization: 

  • Indigenization is a relational process of incorporating Indigenous ways of knowing, being, and doing into all levels of the college, from services to the classroom.
  • Indigenization seeks to make Camosun as welcoming and relevant to Indigenous learners as we can be, and to prepare non-Indigenous students, graduates, and employees to better understand, live alongside of, and work with Indigenous Peoples.
  • Citing well means recognizing and respecting the different ways we engage with knowledge, with various teachings, and one another.  

Reasons to Indigenize your citations

The power of citation

The ways in which we structure information holds power. Decisions around who to cite  and how  communicate the values we ascribe to certain knowledge and the people and groups who hold it. For example, the decision whether or not to include a resource in a footnote, bibliography, or both, assigns value to that piece of knowledge. 

Indigenizing your citations will help you:

  • Show respect for Indigenous Knowledge Keepers and protect Indigenous Knowledge.
  • Demonstrate the diversity of credible types of knowledge.
  • Understand whose voice you are privileging when you are citing, and provide different pathways to privilege different types of information.
  • Show that information is contextual, that it comes from a specific place and way of knowing.
  • Identify that knowledge is embedded within complex relationships: scholarship is a conversation, it can be a web, a lineage, there are many versions and forms knowledge can take.
  • Challenge the dominance of Western modes of knowledge dissemination. 
  • Explore multiple ways of communicating knowledge. 
  • Render visible the structural bias existing in systems of knowledge organization.
  • Find a starting place for "doing" Indigenous Education – to help you be empowered in this complex and ongoing task.
  • Create citations as a form of reciprocity or an act of reconciliation.
  • Acknowledge the importance of where information is found in order to make a citation in any style.

Indigenized citation practices at Camosun

Enhancing your citations

These guidelines build upon and enhance (rather than replace) standard citation styles, such as APA, MLA, and Chicago Manual of Style. When writing your papers and projects, you should still follow the designated citation style(s) required as directed by your course instructor. Students wishing to Indigenize their citations as outlined in this guide should check with their instructor first.

In some cases Camosun's Indigenous style and standard style(s) will not agree. In these cases, Camosun's Indigenous style should take precedence over the guidelines of the conventional style. For example, Indigenous style uses more capitalization than standard styles – the use of increased capitalization may seem strange at first, however signals respect given to certain concepts, people, and ideas. To find out more, visit the "Indigenous Style Elements" tab on this guide.

It may seem that standard citation styles are fixed, with little room for interpretation. This however, is not the case. The interpretation of all citation guidelines are subjective, not hard and fast rules. It is our hope that the Camosun Style will help students understand:

  • How information is given value (or diminished) by their inclusion/exclusion in different elements of citation (for example foot notes vs. reference lists or in-text citation vs. works cited lists).
  • The complexity of knowledge production in academic environments and its relationship to reconciliation. 

It is helpful to keep in mind that Indigenous style is part of a conversation that aims to build a new relationship between Indigenous Peoples and settler society. Indigenous style can enhance existing citation practices and help contribute to ongoing conversations about decolonizing educational practices.