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Native American Studies: Indigenous Knowledge in Scholarship

Indigenous Research Methods

Indigenous research methodologies are place-based methods of gathering and disseminating data with attention to the paradigm (world view), and cultural values of the researcher, and the community where the research is taking place. Indigenous Research Methodologies differ from the Western approach because they flow from tribal knowledge. Information is gained through relationship — with people in a specific Place, with the culture of Place as understood through our own cultures, with the source of the research data, and with the person who knows or tells the story that provides information. The researcher acknowledges a personal relationship with the story itself and how it is interpreted by both the teller and the researcher. In colonial academic models, the research project and data are separated from the researcher, who is merely an onlooker.

Citing Indigenous Elders and Knowledge Keepers

NorQuest College Library has developed this citation style in the spirit of wahkôhtowin and reconciliation stipulating that unlike other personal communications, Elders and Knowledge Keepers should be cited in-text and in the reference list. The in-text citation format should follow the same guidelines as noted in the paraphrase and direct quote tabs: 

Delores Cardinal described the nature of the... (2004).
The nature of the place was... (Cardinal, 2004).

The  reference list citation format is:

Last name, First initial., Nation/Community. Treaty Territory if applicable. Where they live if applicable. Topic/subject of communication if applicable. personal communication. Month Date, Year.

For example:
Cardinal, D., Goodfish Lake Cree Nation. Treaty 6. Lives in Edmonton. Oral teaching. personal communication. April 4, 2004.

Note: If you would like to approach an Elder or Knowledge Keeper for teachings, remember to follow protocol or if you are unsure what their protocol is, please ask them ahead of time.