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Indigenous Topics

Resources on Indigenous art, history, and contemporary movements

Finding resources on Indigenous topics in the Library

Historically the bulk of materials about Indigenous topics were catalogued under the subject heading of Indians of North America.

The ECU Library has begun the process of Indigenizing our collection and the language we use to describe items in our collection. We are undertaking a phased project to decolonize the name and subject terms for Indigenous peoples and topics. Several other BC libraries have already begun work in this area and we will follow their lead. The UBC X̱wi7x̱wa Library has created a list of Names for BC First NationsThe Greater Victoria Public Library built upon the work done at X̱wi7x̱wa Library, and also work done by the Manitoba Archival Information Network at the University of Manitoba, to create a list of BC-centric alternative terms for use as the authorized headings of Indigenous names and topics. In addition, the Canadian Federation of Library Associations’ Indigenous Matters Committee – Red Team (Working Group on Classification and Subject Headings) and the National Indigenous Knowledge and Language Alliance (NIKLA) have released the First Nations, Métis, and Inuit – Indigenous Ontology (FNMIIO), which will also be a reference for us when treating names not found on the UBC X̱wi7x̱wa and GVPL lists.

One of the changes we will make is to the subject headings for BC First Nations, to reflect the names they use to call themselves. For example: Kwakiutl Indians will be changed to Kwakwaka'wakw. For tips on pronunciation, visit the BC Government Guide to the Pronunciation of Indigenous Communities and Organizations in BC. 

The ECU Library uses the Library of Congress Classification system to arrange items on the shelves according to their subject matter. We recognize that there are issues with the ways that LCC, as a colonial structure describes and arranges works on Indigenous peoples.

Currently, items can be found in the following call number ranges:

  • E51-73 = Pre-colonization
  • E75-99 = Indigenous Peoples of North America 
    • E78 A-Z = By state, province or region
    • E91-95 = Government relations
    • E92 = Canada
    • E93 = United States
    • E94 = Law
    • E95 = Treaties
    • E96-97.65 = Education
    • E98 A-Z = Other topics 
  • GN 380 = Indigenous Knowledge
  • JV 305 = Indigenous peoples and colonialism
  • KE 7709 = Law relating to Aboriginal Peoples
  • KE 7742 = First Nations Law
  • N 6538 A4 = Indigenous art and artists. (note that not books on Indigenous art and artists will be in this section. Many works will be found in other areas of the N section. Try searching for the artist's name if you are not finding resources in this browsing area).

Many of the terms used to describe published works are outdated, too general, or not terms that are preferred by the community they are describing. We are working to update the subject headings in our catalogue. Once the project is completed, this list will be updated. For now, here are some subject headings where you can find general resources related to Indigenous art and other topics. Click on the links to connect to the full list of resources on the topic in the library.

General subject headings       604-844-3840        520 East 1st Avenue, Vancouver, BC