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Indigenous Studies

A research guide for finding high-quality resources about Indigenous topics

What are Primary Sources?

Primary sources are original materials or documents. In Indigenous studies, they could refer to a direct, first-hand account of an event; usually something that was created at the time of an event, or shortly thereafter. Examples include:

  • Diaries
  • Letters
  • Speeches
  • Interviews
  • Archives and manuscript material
  • Newspapers and magazines from that time
  • Photographs
  • Art
  • Video and audio recordings
  • Oral histories
  • Government publications

A secondary source would be something that interprets, analyzes, or comments on a primary source. Examples include:

  • Journal articles
  • Essays
  • Theses and dissertations
  • Academic books
  • Biographies
  • Stories or films produced about an historical event

Finding Primary Sources in Sofia (the library catalogue)

In WorldCat Discovery try combining your topic keywords with one of these terms:

"first person"
diary OR diaries

For example: "residential schools" AND diary

Primary and Historical Sources

McGill users have access to many collections that include primary sources relevant to Indigenous Studies. Be aware that many of these collections are written about, rather than by, Indigenous people; be sure to keep this in mind when analyzing these sources.


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