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Two-Spirit & Indigiqueer Studies

Using Databases

Searching within databases can be more time consuming than using Summon, but there are advantages to this research strategy: 

  • Databases 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.

The following databases are useful for finding articles related to this topic. For a more comprehensive list, see the Articles page of our First Nations and Indigenous Studies research guide. 

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. 

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.

Selected Articles

General Databases

Tips for searching databases

Try some of these tips for searching in databases to make your research go a little smoother.

  • Search using subject headings

Searching by browsing subject headings allows you to see material that has been described as being about a certain subject. For example, in the LGBT Life with Full Text database, researchers can browse through articles with the subject "two spirit" by clicking "SU Subject Terms" from the dropdown menu of the search bar.


Click on a result and scroll down to the list of subject terms. Click on "two-spirit people" to browse articles by subject. 



To search by subject using UBC's search tool, select "Advanced Search" in the bottom right-hand corner.


Click "Subject Terms" from the "All Fields" dropdown menu. Enter keywords relevant to your topic. You can also refine your search further by discipline, year and content type. To narrow your search further, use multiple subject terms (Be cautious here. Too many subjects will be too narrow). Click "AND" beneath the search bar to search with two subject keywords. Hit the "+" button to add more search fields.


Find a resource you're interested in and click "more info."


From here, scroll down until you find the list of subjects the resource is about. Click one of the links to browse material by subject area.

  • Do multiple searches with multiple keywords

Every database uses different subjects and keywords to describe articles. Combine different keywords related to your topic and do at least several searches to find the most relevant results in the specific database you are using.

Note the language and words used to describe relevant articles by specific databases and use these phrases when searching.

Broad keyword suggestions for Two-spirit and Indigenous Queer studies include: 

  • Indigenous
  • Queer
  • Queer theory
  • Spirituality
  • Gay
  • Lesbian
  • Gender
  • Gender studies
  • Transgender
  • Aboriginal
  • Native
  • Identity
  • Sexuality
  • Sexual orientation
  • Two-spirit (sometimes "two spirit", "two spirited" or "two-spirited")
  • Colonial(ism)
  • Decolonial(ism)
  • Decolonizing
  • Race
  • LGBT
  • POC (people of colour)


  • Look at "suggested" articles

Often, databases will suggest similar articles that can be relevant to your research. Try checking them out to see if they are helpful to your research!