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Indigenous Studies: Getting Started

Databases and resource information on First Nations and Aboriginal issues in Canada.

Image Credit: Justin Tang / THE CANADIAN PRESS. Retrieved from The Star.


This guide provides help for Sheridan students studying topics related to the Indigenous People's of Canada. Below, you'll find lists of resources that are available through the Sheridan Library, or on the web. Use the tabs across the top of the page for additional information for your research.

In this Guide:

Books provide comprehensive overviews and discussions on broad topics.

Articles from peer-reviewed journals tend to focus on academic research and studies. Trade journals focus on professional applications for discussion. Newspaper journals focus on public-interest stories. You can find examples of all three of these types of articles through the databases below.

Although newspapers and magazines are not considered scholarly, they do offer insights into public or professional debates, events and initiatives.

Encyclopedias and dictionaries are excellent places to find out background information. Like Wikipedia, but more academically acceptable. Use only one or two terms at a time to describe your topic. Try both broad and narrow terms.

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Before you begin

Before you start your search, keep in mind that over the years various names have been given to the original inhabitants of Canada and other indigenous groups around the world. As a result, any of the following terms could be used:

  • Indians of North America - the standard subject heading still used by libraries when cataloguing books
  • Native peoples, Native Canadians
  • First peoples
  • Aboriginal peoples - popularized in Australia, and frequently used in British Columbia
  • Indigenous peoples - popularized by international organizations and generally used in an international context
  • First Nations / Inuit / Metis - legal designations for separate, distinct indigenous groups within Canada

In addition to these, indigenous peoples can also be identified by anglicized names for specific nations or bands (ex. Iroquois, Huron), linguistic or cultural groups (ex. Prairie or Woodlands tribes), or by the names they call themselves in their own language (ex. Anishinaabe, Haudenosaunee). For the full list of First Nations bands, see Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada > First Nation Profiles. For a list and description of common nations and cultural groups in Canada, see Historica Canada > Aboriginal Peoples.

On Library Shelves

picture of library call numbersWhile most of our content is online, you may find it helpful to use one of our print books, DVDs and reference works. Our printed materials are organized by call number, which corresponds to a subject area. The call number can be found on the spine of the book.

Browse these call number areas for relevant material:


Native Peoples of America (History)

Also see Education, Religion, Social Sciences, Health, and Criminology sections within the collection for subject-specific discussions affecting current-day First Nations.

Sheridan sits on the traditional territory of the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nations, Anishinaabe Nation, Huron-Wendat and the Haudenosaunee Confederacy.

Centre for Indigenous Learning and Support

Room B127, Trafalgar Road Campus

905-845-9430 x5553
Visit the website