Throughout this guide, a variety of words are used to describe resources relating to courses taught at Brandon University in programs such as Education, Health Studies, Art, Languages, Sociology, Native Studies, and History. This includes materials written by, about, and for people of Indigenous, Aboriginal, Métis, Inuit and non-Aboriginal backgrounds and cultures.
The ongoing legal use of the word "Indian" by the Government of Canada (ie. The Indian Act) necessitates its inclusion in our guide, despite our awareness of any offense it may cause. Also, American and international resources tend to use the terms "Native American" or "American Indian" rather than Indigenous, Aboriginal, or First Nations. This is important to keep in mind when doing research, as word choice greatly impacts catalogue and database search results.
For further information see the Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada page on terminology.
1. Break your search down into important keywords or concepts
ie. If your topic is: "How are Aboriginal women portrayed in movies?"
You might try these keywords:
Searches for any/some of these terms may return results. You also may build more complex searches if you want. These searches are constructed to return large numbers of results and may use specific operators/terms to include some options and exclude others.
One search commonly used combines 5 terms and is used on a number of databases:
(Aboriginal* OR Native* OR "First Nation*" OR Indigenous OR Indian*)
You can also substitute or add additional specific keywords such as Metis or Cree.
(Aboriginal* OR Native* OR "First Nation*" OR Indigenous OR Indian* OR Cree OR Metis)
Then combine options with your specific search:
(Aboriginal* OR Native* OR Indian* OR "First Nation*" OR Indigenous) AND Women AND (Film* OR Cinema OR Movie*)
This will search for any of the words in the first set of brackets, plus women, plus any of the words in the second set of brackets.
Search terms may be added or subtracted to the search to suit YOUR research needs.
Here are some other examples:
(Aboriginal* OR Native* OR "First Nation*" OR Indigenous OR Indian*) AND (justice OR law OR polic* OR legal)
(Aboriginal* OR Native* OR "First Nation*" OR Indigenous OR Indian*) AND "idle no more"
(Aboriginal* OR Native* OR "First Nation*" OR Indigenous OR Indian*) AND government policy health
Small differences in search strings may make a big difference in the number of results that are returned. Other operators may be available in some databases and not all search strings work the same way on every database. There is no perfect search. There are other complex search options. For example:
(Aboriginal* OR Native* OR Indian* OR "First Nation*" OR Indigenous) AND Women AND (Film* OR Cinema OR Movie*) NOT india
may work on some databases to remove from the results those which contain the term india. Or, a search might look like this
(Aborigina? OR Nativ? OR "First Natio?" OR Indigenous OR India? NOT india) AND Women AND (Fil? OR Cinema OR Movi?)
if your database requires other operators, used in a slightly different way. Or any other number of variations!
Need help? Ask us.