First Nations 100

This guide will provide you with a starting point for research in your subject area.

Step 1: Define Your Topic

To help you in this process, use specialized encyclopedias and handbooks located in the reference collection, or chapters from a current textbook to give you a short overview of your research subject. The articles in these sources are written by experts on the topic and they often include references to other useful sources at the end of the article. You can be assured that the references listed there are authoritative sources and well worth consulting for your paper. Remember to watch for and note important keywords and synonyms relating to your topic. Some reference books that may be useful include:

Ref FC 23 .C36

Canadian Encyclopedia (also online)

Ref FC 3804 .E52

Encyclopedia of British Columbia (also online)

Ref FC 3805 .F67

B.C. Almanac Book of Greatest British Columbians

Ref E 77.9 .A72

Archaeology of Prehistoric Native America: an Encyclopedia

Ref E 54.5 .K46

Encyclopedia of American Indian contributions to the world

Ref E 76.2 .E53

Encyclopedia of North American Indians

Ref E 77 .H25

Handbook of North American Indians

Ref E 76.2 .G74

Encyclopedia of the First Peoples of North America

Ref E 98 .E2 E52

Encyclopedia of Native American Economic History

Ref E 77 .G15

Gale Encyclopedia of Native American Tribes

Ref E 76.2 .N36

Native America in the Twentieth Century

Ref E 77 .P89

Native Americans: an Encyclopedia of History, Cultures and Peoples

Ref G 1116 .S1 H582

Encyclopedia of Canada's Peoples

Ref E 76.2 .G74

Encyclopedia of the First Peoples of North America

Ref E 78 .B9 A26

Aboriginal People of British Columbia: a profile

Step 2: Look for Books

Begin your research by checking for your topic in the library catalogue. When searching group names you will likely encounter variant spellings, e.g. Gitxsan ,Gitksan or Kitksan. Search for variant spellings together by typing the Boolean operator or between each term, e.g. Carrier or Lheidli T’enneh.

When you find an appropriate title in the catalogue, click on View and then click on appropriate relevant Subject terms at the bottom of the record to see if there are any other items available on your topic.

Subject terms in the library catalogue are based on Library of Congress Subject Headings (LCSH) or the Canadian Subject Headings. The Library of Congress standard way to describe the First Nations is by "Indians of North America", and then the Geographic region. e.g. Canada, British Columbia, etc. Ensure that you also search the names of groups.

Some useful Library of Congress Subject Headings to search include:

  • Carrier Indians
  • Fur trade - Canada – History
  • Indian reservations
  • Indian women
  • Indian youth
  • Indian reservations
  • Indians of North America
  • Indians of North America – Canada
  • Indians of North America – Northwest coast of North America
  • Indigenous peoples
  • Indigenous peoples – Canada
  • Metis
  • Native peoples
  • Native peoples - Canada
  • Native peoples - Canada - Residential schools

If you don't find enough appropriate material on your topic in the CNC Library, check bibliographies to find references to other works that have been published on your topic. Then once again check the CNC Library catalogue, other local libraries or order the items from out of town libraries via the Interlibrary Loan service. Obtaining books or journals via Interlibrary Loan can take up to two weeks, so do your research early.

Some useful bibliographies include:

Ref E 92 .S97

Canadian Indian Policy: a critical bibliography

Ref E 92 .G72

Public policy and aboriginal peoples, 1965-1992

Ref E 78 .N78 G78

Native North Americans of the northwest coast: a critical bibliography

Other Reference Sources

Ref E 78 .C2 A263

Aboriginal peoples in Canada in 2006: Inuit, Metis, and First Nations, 2006 Census (also online)

Ref E 98 .R3 G46

Dictionary of Native American Mythology

Ref E 76.2 .W36

Word dance: the language of North American culture

Ref E 78 .N78 S446

Understanding Northwest Coast Art

Ref E77 .W195

Atlas of the North American Indian

Ref E 78 .B9 H32

Handbook of Indians of British Columbia

Ref RA 418 .E354


Encyclopedia of Medical Anthropology


Ref HQ 1115 .R69

Routledge International Encyclopedia of Women

Ref E 99 .S72 S8

A Sto:lo-Coast Salish Historical Atlas

Ref PM 641 .C46

Central Carrier Bilingual Dictionary

Ref E 98 .P76 S73

Statistical Record of Native North Americans

Ref RA 407.5 .C3 C36

Health and aboriginal data from Statistics Canada

Step 3: Use Periodical Articles

Periodicals offer excellent information. To locate articles in your subject area, use the online indexes . Click on the Library's Journals link and navigate to the First Nations Periodical Index , which mainly provides citations, or the Ebscohost online Canadian Reference Centre and the Proquest online Canadian Business and Current Affairs Index for articles published after 1982 - and the paperbound Canadian Periodical Index for articles published before 1982. Once you have located article citations, if the article is not in fulltext online, click on the Where can I get this? button to see if the journal is available in either the CNC or UNBC libraries. If the article is not available locally, get it from another B.C. library by clicking on the Check other library catalogues button to request the item online via Interlibrary Loan. Remember to order interlibrary loan items early!

Step 4: Check First Nations Websites

From the Library page click on Web Subject Sites – First Nations to find a list of recommended First Nations websites
Have fun! If you have comments or suggestions, email me at