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Indigenous Studies: Grey Literature

This guide is a useful starting point for many Indigenous Studies topics. The University of Regina is located on Treaty 4 territory with a presence in Treaty 6 territory as well as the traditional homeland of the Métis.

What is Grey Literature?

Grey literature are resources "Produced on all levels of government, academics, business and industry in print and electronic formats, but which is not controlled by commercial publishers." (Source). Since grey literature is not published in these traditional sources, it can be difficult to find.  However, grey literature is a very important resource in several disciplines and can include needs assessments, evidence reviews, policy reports, and statistical analysis. Grey literature does not usually undergo a peer-review process so material should be evaluated carefully. 

Government Publications

Government information can be found in the Dr. John Archer Library in various formats (e.g., paper, electronic, microformats). It is generated by local, provincial, national, and international governments and Intergovernmental Organizations (IGOs).  Government publications are not like books and traditional articles in journals and magazines but instead appear in these formats:

  • briefing notes
  • laws
  • regulations
  • reports
  • statistics
  • surveys

Government publications are considered primary research.  They cross many disciplines and are often cited in journal articles, reports, and books.  Materials at the federal government level are available at Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada.  The Government of Saskatchewan's Publications Centre has materials about First Nations, Métis, and Northern Affairs.

Think Tanks

Think tanks, or policy institutes, are agencies that are staffed by researchers, scientists, economists, and academics who conduct and publish research on various public policy issues.  Think tanks can be associated with universities or governments, or they can be stand-alone private organizations. Their documents are often cited as gray literature because they are not always available in subscription based databases.  One type of think tank is independent, non-partisan, and not for profit.  Some think tanks classify themselves as independent nonprofit entities but many have a stake on the political spectrum and can be funded by benefactors.  Other think tanks are sponsored and funded by governments to meet long-term technical needs in research and development and systems development.

Below are a few popular cited think tanks in Canada and the U.S.  A listing of Canadian think tanks is here, some U.S. think tanks are here, and European policy institutes are here

Aboriginal Healing Foundation (AHS) It was an Aboriginal-managed not-for-profit corporation that was given a $350 million dollar grant by the federal government of Canada.  Its mission was to support Aboriginal people and investigate abuses in the residential school system.   The AHS produced many reports that are available on its site. Its mandate ended in 2014.

Brookings Institute  It is a liberal think tank that conducts research in economics, government administration and various areas in the social sciences.  Founded in 1916 as the Institute for Government Research (IGR), the present-day institute formed in 1927 and is headquartered in Washington, D.C.  

Fraser Institute  It is an independent, non-partisan research and educational organization headquartered in Vancouver, B.C. and was established in 1974.  Often categorized as politically conservative, the Fraser Institute publishes peer-reviewed research into economic and public policy issues including taxation, government spending, health care, school performance, and trade.

Pembina Institute It was founded in Alberta in 1985 and focuses on developing clean energy policies in Canada.  It also has a fee-based consulting service.

Yellowhead Institute It is a First Nation-led research centre based in the Faculty of Arts at Ryerson University in Toronto. Privileging First Nation philosophy and rooted in community networks, the institute is focused on policies related to land and governance.

Subject Guide

Profile Photo
Michael Shires
Archer Library Building
Treaty 4 Territory and Homeland of the Metis.

What is Google Scholar?

There is much scholarly content in the Open Web.  However, it can be difficult to find with doing a simple Google search.  Google Scholar searches for scholarly material (articles, reports, dissertations, patents, etc.) in several sources including some library databases, open access repositories, and government sites.  A LibGuide that explains Google Scholar is here.