The APA Style Guide recommends caution when using sources about Indigenous Peoples, because many writers published material about Indigenous Peoples without considering Indigenous Protocols regarding the ownership of information (APA, 2020). Younging recommends excising extreme caution when referencing any work, but especially academic works published prior to 1990, as many of these older works published information that either breaches Indigenous Protocols or misrepresents information (Younging, 2018).
If you are using a historic source and are unclear if the author has collected information using Indigenous Protocols or you suspect there may be factual errors, there are a couple options available to you.
- Do not use the source. Using the source perpetuates Indigenous Protocol violation and the sharing of misinformation.
- Use the source, but indicate in the paper that this source is problematic and state why you find the source problematic. You can do this directly in the paper or in a footnote. When you use information in this way, you should have a good reason for doing so.*
- Use the source in combination with modern sources that follow Indigenous Protocol to either confirm or deny information found in problematic sources. When using this option, you should also include a note directly in the paper or a footnote cautioning readers about possible Indigenous Protocol violations in the historic source.
We will discuss how to determine if Indigenous Protocols have been followed in subsequent chapters.
*Suggestion for problematic content from Kayla Lar-son at Xwi7xwa Library at the University of British Columbia. Modified by Rachel Chong at Kwantlen Polytechnic University Library.