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Indigenous Studies: Citing Elders and Knowledge Keepers

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.

Citing Elders and Knowledge Keepers

Citing sources (books, journal articles, people, etc.) is very important when you are conducting research and writing a paper.  If you are quoting someone then you need to let the reader know where the information came from.  It is particularly important if you have spoken with an Elder or Knowledge Keeper and have their permission to cite or quote them.  Norquest College in Edmonton, AB was one of the first academic libraries in Canada to develop and share templates for citing Elders and Knowledge Keepers using APA and MLA formats.  While these are not officially recognized by APA and MLA, students, instructors, and researchers can follow the templates.  Unlike other personal communications, it's recommended that Elders and Knowledge Keepers be cited in-text and in the reference list.

Additional information about the importance of acknowledging Indigenous voices in academic research is in a published article titled More Than Personal Communication Templates For Citing Indigenous Elders and Knowledge Keepers that is available here.  

APA 7th edition

MLA 9th edition

Other sources

Please Note: If you are unsure about following protocol for approaching an Elder or Knowledge Keeper for teachings then ask them ahead of time or review the Authentic Engagement of First Nations and Métis Traditional Knowledge Keepers.  This document, published by the Wîcihitowin Conference Committee, provides guidance on protocols and is available here