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Traditional Governance

Search strategies

In Summon's "Advanced search," search by keyword and subject term

In the subject term space, search the nation you want information about (ex. Nlaka'pamux, Anishinaabe, Inuit). X̱wi7x̱wa resources will typically have the most up-to-date preferred name of a community as the subject term (ex. Nuu-chah-nulth), whereas resources outside of X̱wi7x̱wa will have Library of Congress subject terms (ex. Nootka).

In 'keyword', search for a variety of terms with the nation subject term. Indigenous traditional governance is informed by all aspects of Indigenous life, and so searching for multiple terms will yield helpful results. Below are possible keywords to search:

  • governance
  • traditional governance
  • law
  • history
  • leadership
  • land-based
  • ceremony
  • oral tradition
  • oral history
  • philosophy 
  • stories
  • song
  • language
  • dance
  • mythology
  • religion
  • spirituality
  • treaties
  • folklore
  • resurgence
  • revitalization

Alternatively, you can use Boolean search operators in this order:

(SubjectTerms:(Nlakapamux)) AND (Governance)

Indigenous Systems of Knowledge

Littletree, Sandra, Miranda Belarde-Lewis, and Marisa Duarte. 2020. “Centering Relationality: A Conceptual Model to Advance Indigenous Knowledge Organization Practices.” Knowledge Organization, 47(5), 410-426.

This diagram is meant to help understand Indigenous systems of knowledge, but can give examples as to the kind of activities and philosophies that underlie principles of traditional governance. The diagram is read from the inside-out: everything is informed by relationality/wholism, which extends to peoplehood, Indigenous ways of knowing (the verbs, the doing), expressions of ISK (the nouns that come from the doing), and finally institutions, like X̱wi7x̱wa, which often hold those expressions of knowing (like books). Everything is cradled by the three R's: Respect, Responsibility, and Reciprocity.



"...When we talk about Indigenous legal traditions at this point in history, we are necessarily talking about an undertaking that requires not just articulation and recognition, but also mindful, intentional acts of recovery and revitalization." Friedland & Napoleon, Gathering the Threads.