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Indigenous Studies

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Blackfoot Crossing, Alberta

Citing Indigenous Elders and Knowledge Keepers

APA (more information in the column to the right) has recently added specific directions for citing Traditional Knowledge or Oral Traditions of Indigenous Peoples. These may be found in "Section 8.9 Personal Communications" of the APA Publication Manual, Seventh Edition.

MLA (more information in the column to the right) citation style does not have a format for citing Indigenous Elders and Knowledge Keepers. 

Thank you to Lorisia MacLeod, at Norquest College, who has developed the MLA citation template below in the spirit of wahkôhtowin and reconciliation.

MLA Style

Unlike most other personal communications, Elders and Knowledge Keepers should be cited in-text and in the reference list.


The MLA in-text citation format should be:

Delores Cardinal described the nature of the... OR The nature of the place was... (Cardinal).

Reference List

The citation format for the reference list follows the following format:

Last name, First name, Nation/Community. Treaty Territory (if applicable). City/Community they live in (if applicable). Topic/subject of communication (if applicable). Date Month Year. 

For Example: Cardinal, Delores, Goodfish Lake Cree Nation. Treaty 6. Lives in Edmonton. Oral teaching. 4 April 2004.


Note: If you would like to approach an Elder or Knowledge Keeper for teachings, remember to follow protocol. If you are unsure what their protocol is, please ask them ahead of time.

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