You are here

First Nations research resources: Background information

Dictionaries and terminology

  • See First Nations Terminology guide
  • Dictionary of Indian tongues containing most of the words and terms used in the Tshimpsean, Hydah, & Chinook, with their meaning or equivalent in the English language [microfiche]
  • Glossary of Treaty-Related Terms [print]
  • Historical dictionary of early North America [print]
  • Naskapi Lexicon (Naskapi Development Corporation, Québec)
    Maliseet-Passamaquoddy Dictionary (University of New Brunswick)
  • Terminology
    From Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada. "Includes terms generally used by Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada (AANDC)" such as Aboriginal Self-Government, Band, Métis, Non-Status Indian, etc.


  • British Museum Encyclopedia of Native North America [print]
  • Canadian Encyclopedia: Indigenous Peoples. Examples of entries include: Idle No More, Indigenous Women's Issues in Canada, and The White Paper, 1969
  • Continuum encyclopedia of native art [print]
  • Encyclopedia of British Columbia -- under subjects look for articles titled: "First Nations of BC", "Art, Northwest Coast Aboriginal"; under index look for articles on " aboriginal demography", "aboriginal rights", "First Nations Languages", or names of individual groups, e.g. Bella Coola First Nation, Haida, etc. [online or print]
  • Encyclopedia of Canada's Peoples
  • Encyclopedia Mythica -- section on Native American Mythology
  • Encyclopedia of Minorities in American Politics: Hispanic Americans and Native Americans (vol. 2) [online or print]
  • Encyclopedia of Native American healing [print]
  • Encyclopedia of Native American Legal Tradition [online or print]
  • Encyclopedia of Native Music: more than a century of recordings from wax cylinder to the Internet [print]
  • Encyclopedia of Native American religions: an introduction [print]
  • Encyclopedia of Native American shamanism: sacred ceremonies of North America [online and print]
  • Encyclopedia of North American Indians [print]
  • Encyclopedia of World Cultures - Vol. 1- North America [print]
  • Encyclopedia Smithsonian
  • Encyclopedia of American Indian contributions to the world: 15,000 years of inventions and innovations [print]
  • Gale Encyclopedia of Native American Tribes [print]
  • A guide to the Indian tribes of the Pacific Northwest [print]
  • Handbook of North American Indians, 17 volume set [print]
  • Macmillan encyclopedia of Native American tribes, 2nd ed. [print]
  • Native American literatures: an encyclopedia of works, characters, authors, and themes [print]
  • Reference Encyclopedia of the American Indian, 10th ed. [print]
  • Other general sources:
    • Gale Virtual Reference Library -- connect, then select "Social Sciences." TIP: Either search all encyclopedias as part of this database or to search a particular title, check the box on left side "search within this publication".
    • International Encyclopedia of the Social & Behavioral Sciences: IESBS [online or print]
    • Oxford Reference Online -- 100 general reference works plus material in language, science and medicine, humanities and social sciences, business, and professional areas.
    • Sage eReference -- over 40 encyclopedias
    • Sage Research Methods Online -- access to research methods online from books and numerous reference sources. E.g. search for "oral history"



Guides to First Nations research

  • Native Canadian anthropology and history a selected bibliography [online and print]
  • Indigenous genealogy - includes information on how to research your Indigenous genealogy
  • Sharing the Knowledge: A First Nations Resource Guide -- an annotated guide and bibliography focused on current and historical social and justice issues facing First Nations peoples. Strong focus on British Columbia and Canada [print]
  • Stolen Lands Broken Promises: Researching the Indian Land Question in B.C (2nd edition, 2005) -- a guide and bibliography focused on land claims in British Columbia, produced by the Union of BC Indian Chiefs. Includes a timeline, glossary, and index. [online and print]
  • Indigenous guides for First Nations' research