Skip to main content

ENGL 068 & FNFS 100 | 2019 Spring: Search Strategies for the Research Paper

Resources to support research for ENGL 068 (M. Calvert)

Indigenous Peoples and Research: Key Words & Subject Terms Background

Use LibrarySearch to find books, videos, theses, government documents and other resources in the Library collection.

Different terms/keywords may be effective when searching for Indigenous topics, depending on:

  • time period of study
  • date of publication
  • country/region of study
  • whether the search is for general (e.g. Aboriginal) or specific information (e.g. Snuneymuxw).

The term "Indians of North America" was widely used by libraries in the first part of the twentieth century, and may be useful to retrieve information from that period.

In BC the term First Nations is frequently used in contemporary academic/educational environments. The Canadian government favours the terms Indigenous or Indigenous Peoples, which also includes Métis and Inuit.

In the United States the term Native Americans is quite commonly used, whereas in Canada the term Native Peoples gained popularity in the later twentieth century.

Your searches will be more productive if you are aware of these various search terms and make them work for you.

LibrarySearch: Find articles, books and more

Use LibrarySearch to discover books, articles and more. Enter words that describe your topic:  

For a broad Indigenous search, try this search query: 

("first nations" OR aboriginal OR indigenous OR "indians of north america" OR "native peoples")

For a broad Metis search, try this search query:

(metis OR "mixed race" OR "non-status indian" OR "road allowance people" OR halfbreed OR "half breed" OR "mixed blood" OR "mixed descent" OR michif)

See also: First Nations Names Authority List for BC from Xwi7xwa Library at UBC.

Video tutorials:

Indigenous Peoples: Key Words and Search Strategies

General Topics

This search can be used to retrieve information related to Indigenous peoples broadly:

("first nations" OR aboriginal OR indigenous OR "indians of north america" OR "native peoples")

You can combine it with words that represent other ideas. For example:

("first nations" OR aboriginal OR indigenous OR "indians of north america" OR "native peoples") "language revitalization"

Note: Indians of North America may be abbreviated to 'indians', but then results pertaining to India may also be retrieved.

Searching for specific cultural groups

Spelling variations for specific cultural groups may vary over time for numerous reasons. Common spelling variations, misspellings in publications, and outdated terms for referring to specific cultural groups are often found in historical primary sources and in library subject terms. To correctly and accurately represent cultural groups and and place names has been in response to recent and continuing efforts. To conduct an effective search, develop an "OR" statement to reflect possible spelling variations and names throughout history. When searching for information about a particular people, it helps to consider possible alternate spellings.

e.g. (Kwakiutl OR Kwagutl OR Kwagiutl)

e.g. (Nisga OR Niska OR Nishga OR "Nisga'a")

What We Did in Class

Class Discussion - Keywords and Concepts for the Research Topics

For a broad First Nations search:

("first nations" OR aboriginal OR indigenous OR "indians of north america" OR "native peoples")

Consider related terms for a concept to expand your search:

smallpox; epidemics; diseases

"intergenerational trauma"; epigenetics; inherited trauma; historical trauma

Use quotes to search an exact name, title or concept:

"sixties scoop"

Consider related terms:

"child welfare"; adoption; stolen children; "stolen generation"

("native children" OR "indian children")