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Indigenous Peoples Histories and Archives

Finding Primary Sources at UBC

UBC's Library, Archives, and Rare Books & Special Collections (RBSC) are each separate institutions. RBSC Archives holds archival materials collected by UBC, while the UBC Archives holds material created by UBC departments and professors. You will have to search each institution separately to find all the primary source materials held at UBC.

UBC Library

In the UBC Library Catalogue, try combining your topic keywords with one of these terms.

  • biograph?
  • autobiograph?
  • "first person"
  • interview?
  • perspectiv?
  • diary OR diaries
  • autoethnograph?
  • narrativ?
  • photograph?

For Example: "Residential schools" AND Autobiograph?

Search Tip: Use quotation marks to search for a phrase (e.g. "First Nations"). Use a question mark to truncate a term to search for words with the same stem (e.g. Biograph? retrieves Biography, Biographies, Biographical, etc.). 

UBC Archives 

UBC Archives has put together a guide to finding First Nations Historical Resources in the UBC Archives. Note that further searching within finding aids may be necessary to locate this material.

UBC Rare Books & Special Collections

The best way to search for this material is to use Rare Books & Special Collections database search. RBSC's search does not use phrase (e.g. "residential school") or truncated (e.g. residential school?) searching. Try a simple keyword search (e.g. Residential school). 

Conducting Research at RBSC

Rare Books and Special Collections (RBSC) staff are available to assist researchers in locating archival or published material, to advise on research questions and to carry out copying requests. To contact a RBSC staff member, please see our directory.

If you are not able to come to RBSC yourself, you may wish to hire an independent consultant to conduct research on your behalf. The following links are intended to help you locate a researcher. (Please be aware that RBSC cannot guarantee the work of the service providers listed here.)

Independent research consultants

Indigenous Citation and Style Guides

Citing Elders

The formal MLA and APA style do not have a format for Indigenous Elders and Knowledge Keepers. 

Norquest College has developed the following citation styles in the spirit of wahkôhtowin and reconciliation, and we thank them for sharing their template.

APA Style

Unlike other personal communications, Elders and Knowledge Keepers should be cited in-text and in the reference list.

In Text:

The in-text citation format should follow the same guidelines as noted in the paraphrase and direct quote tabs: 

Delores Cardinal described the nature of the... (2004). OR The nature of the place was... (Cardinal, 2004).

Reference:

The citation format for the reference list follows the following format:

Last name, First initial., Nation/Community. Treaty Territory if applicable. Where they live if applicable. Topic/subject of communication if applicable. personal communication. Month Date, Year.

For example: Cardinal, D., Goodfish Lake Cree Nation. Treaty 6. Lives in Edmonton. Oral teaching. personal communication. April 4, 2004.

MLA Style

Unlike most other personal communications, Elders and Knowledge Keepers should be cited in-text and in the reference list.

In text:

The in-text citation format should be formatted as:

Delores Cardinal described the nature of the... OR The nature of the place was... (Cardinal).

Reference Citation:

The citation format for the reference list follows the following format:

Last name, First name., Nation/Community. Treaty Territory if applicable. City/Community they live in if applicable. Topic/subject of communication if applicable. Date Month Year. 

For Example: Cardinal, Delores., Goodfish Lake Cree Nation. Treaty 6. Lives in Edmonton. Oral teaching. 4 April 2004.

Note: If you would like to approach an Elder or Knowledge Keeper for teachings, remember to follow protocol or if you are unsure what their protocol is, please ask them ahead of time.