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Decolonization & Anti-Racism

In support of UBC's Indigenous Strategic Plan (ISP) this guide assists in finding and facilitating decolonial & anti-racist research. Here you will find key resources, search strategies, & additional open access information sources.

Using Databases and Journals

Searching within databases and journals can be more time consuming than using UBC's search tool, called Summon, but there are advantages to this research strategy: 

  • Databases and journals are usually limited by academic discipline, which means you will retrieve fewer results but they may be more relevant.
  • Databases are highly structured, which means you can perform complex searches using controlled vocabulary.

Each database may have their own way and limitations of searching within the database. Some may use "And," "Or," quotation marks and other search strategies listed on the books & media tab, but some may not. If you are not getting the results you expected within a database, make sure the search is worded the way the database works. Contact a librarian for assistance with this task.

TIP: Searching databases with the keywords recommended in this research guide is a good starting strategy. However, be aware that some databases may use different terminology. When you find a relevant article, check the subject headings and article description for terminology that could be useful in a new keyword search.

The first keywords you try often do not produce great results. Developing keyword search terms is an iterative process and your keywords will become more relevant as you begin to understand the topic area.

Terms: what are the differences?

Researchers, please note that terminology utilized to find resources requires you to use a broad range of terms however when publishing/creating current research/projects, some of these terms are offensive (ex. Indian) and not used in everyday communication. For this reason it is important to know what terms you are using and why (both when researching and participating in knowledge production). The following information is brief and pulled from on terminology,  see their site for a better understanding of the following:

Aboriginal: this is a Canadian term that refers to First Nations, Inuit, and Métis peoples rooted in 1982 for Section 35 of the Canadian Constitution. As a search term you will also find resources relevant to Australia. 

First Nations: this is a Canadian term that refers to Aboriginal (see above) peoples who are neither Métis nor Inuit rooted in 1970s and ‘80s to replace 'Indian' (see below). 

Indian: this is a Canadian term that refers to the legal identity of a First Nations person registered under the Indian Act. It should only be applied when referring to someone who has status under the Indian Act. 

Indigenous: this term refers to Aboriginal groups at an international, transnational, or global context with origins in the 1970's and ties to movements of solidarity at the United Nation. 

Native: "a general term that refers to a person or thing that has originated from a particular place." 

Note: see the 'Terminology' tab of this guide. 

General Indigenous Studies Databases

Suggested Databases & Indexes