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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.

The Researcher

A common requirement of western thought asks researchers to perceive work from an unbiased opinion, however Indigenous and decolonial research asks people to begin with self in relation to research to form an awareness of these biases.

Bias is "a particular tendency, trend, inclination, feeling, or opinion, especially one that is preconceived or unreasoned."

Retrieved from Gender & Sexuality Dictionary available

The risk of proceeding with research without this  exploration can result in the reproduction of harmful and extractive research. Note the following resources to begin this work:

"Positionality is the social and political context that creates your identity in terms of race, class, gender, sexuality, and ability status. Positionality also describes how your identity influences, and potentially biases, your understanding of and outlook on the world."

Retrieved from Gender & Sexuality Dictionary available

"Developed by professor Kimberlé Williams Crenshaw, intersectionality explores how elements such as gender, race, sexuality, class and income intertwine and interact, creating different levels of oppression, privilege and discrimination."

Retrieved from Anti-Racism & Related Discourses available:

X̱wi7x̱wa has created the following toolkit to assist researchers in assessing resources:

Indigenous Lands & Territories

Who we are is just as important as where we are, especially when it comes to our research. Learning more about the land we are on helps us understand our relationship and responsibilities within our work and research. The following resources are meant to assist folks learn more the relationship between ourselves, place, and Indigenous communities. 

The following resources are relevant to UBC Vancouver:

The following resources are relevant to UBC Okanagan:

Research Protocol Agreements

Indigenous Research Protocol Agreements:

Institutional Research Agreements:

Ownership, Control, Access, Possession (OCAP)®

The First Nations Principles of OCAP®more commonly known as OCAP® – assert that First Nations have control over data collection processes, own, and control how this information can be used. This is a widely referenced framework for First Nations governance over research, community knowledge, and data. Developed in 1988. 

Ownership: First Nations own their cultural knowledge, data, and information collectively.
Control: First Nations have the right to control all aspects of research and information management processes that impact them.
Access: First Nations have the right to access (and control access to) their own information.
Possession: First Nations have the right to physical control of their own information.

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. 

Finding Materials in the UBC Catalogue

IMPORTANT: the dominant structure for organizing information is from a western perspective, for this reason you may need to use outdated (sometimes offensive) terminology to find resources; do not hesitate to contact us for assistance navigating this.

Try these basic strategies to begin your research in the UBC Library Catalogue.

Keyword Searches

Combine keywords relating to the concept of Indigenous identity AND keywords about research. For example:

  • "First Nations"
  • Indigenous
  • Aboriginal
  • Indian
  • "Indians of North America"
  • Native
  • Inuit
  • Métis
  • Musqueam (or any nation)
  • "Research method?"
  • Pedagog?
  • "Research ethic?"
  • "Traditional knowledge"
  • Methodolog?
  • Praxis

Helpful Hints for Keyword Searches

  • Use quotation marks to search for a phrase.
    Example: "First Nations"
  • Use a question mark to truncate a term to search for words with the same stem.
    Example: Method? retrieves Method, Methods, Methodology, Methodologies, Methodological, etc.

Try these basic strategies to begin your research in the UBC Library Catalogue.

Subject Headings

Subject headings are a tool designed to help researchers find similar materials. These are only some examples of the many subject headings that X̱wi7x̱wa Library uses. Spend a few minutes exploring them when you find a book in the catalogue that supports your research.

Browse Catalogue > Subject begins with:

Try these basic strategies to begin your research in the UBC Library Catalogue.

Browse Call Numbers

X̱wi7x̱wa Library uses a unique Classification Scheme

Materials on Indigenous research methodologies generally have call numbers beginning with the letter P. Additional relevant classes include: 

CXZ - Native American Intellectuals
E - Education (General)
PA - Indigenous Knowledge Systems / Intellectual Property 
PD - Libraries
PDA - Archives
PDC - Museums
T - Worldview
WKA - Contemporary Indigenous Art History and Criticism
Y - Literature (General)
YC - Literary Criticism

Critical Research/Literacy & Indigenous Methodologies

Researchers must think critically about who they are citing, learning from, and the relationships authors have with the content and communities they are writing about/perspectives they are writing from. 

"Critical literacy requires us to go beyond what we read on the page and to consider the larger narrative in which a text is situated, asking questions about who created a text and why. Critical Indigenous literacy asks us to think about authorship and identity in relation to the stories and teachings we trust as readers. It also asks readers to think critically about Indigenous representations (or lack thereof) within a text." 

Retrieved from Critical Literacy on Indigenous Children's Literature LibGuide available:

Critical literacy & research:

Indigenous Methodology resources:

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