Indigenous people have long used their own words to name their people, nations, and territories. Contemporary researchers strive to be respectful and use this terminology when referring to Indigenous peoples. However, there have been times when authors have referred to Indigenous peoples using words that were inappropriate and/or disrespectful. You may encounter these words when you do research.This is especially true if you are doing historical research or looking for articles written in the past.
When selecting words to use in a database search, you may need to use both old and new terminology, as well as general and specific words to find relevant material.
Here are a few examples:
In addition to using keywords, Boolean operators such as AND, OR, and NOT, can aid your search.
Putting those together in a database search example: (Ojibwe OR Ojibwa OR Chippewa OR Anishinaabe) AND "United States" AND treaty
Different databases and disciplines will use different terms. Many databases have an official list of subject terms. When you're in a database, look for "index" "subject" or "thesaurus" links. Those will get you to the database's list of terms and often provide details on how that term is used.
Example from SocINDEX:
Here are entered general works on the aboriginal peoples of the United States. Use only if a narrower term does not apply (e.g., "Cherokee (North American people)"). Works on the aboriginal peoples of Canada are entered under "Aboriginal Canadians" and works on the aboriginal peoples of Mexico are entered under "Indigenous peoples of Mexico."
Indigenous topics span multiple subjects and disciplines, so for some topics, it can be helpful to search some of our broad databases, or start with LibrarySearch.
LibrarySearch is our library's discovery tool and searches across our collections and databases. It's a great place to start for topics that cross disciplines or which you're not sure which database to start with.
Once you've run your search, you can use the Refine functions on the left side of the screen to narrow your results by date, subject, publication type, and more.
Use these databases to search across multiple subjects