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Indigenous Education

This guide has been created for all members of the NorQuest Community.

Indigenous Information Literacy

Information literacy is the basis for library and classroom skills. It is a set of abilities that enable individuals to:

  • evaluate and choose information critically from a range of sources;
  • use information effectively and ethically;
  • create new knowledge in given information environments--academic, professional, and personal.

Critical literacy represents an approach to information literacy that takes into consideration the social, political, and economic contexts that influence how we evaluate and choose information.

Critical literacy is of particular importance in putting anti-racism, anti-discrimination, and decolonization into practice. The sense of credibility we often give to certain types of perspectives is rooted in colonial, Eurocentric attitudes that hold white, able-bodied, heterosexual, cisgender men in the highest regard. Often we unconsciously treat these attributes as the norm associated with terms like expert, academic, or professional. The voices of women, BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and people of colour), people with disabilities, people who identify as LGBTQ2S+, or other marginalized identities are commonly underrepresented or undervalued, even when their lived experiences are the focus of work.

By approaching information critically—with the background and perspective of the subject, author, institution, or publication in mind—we can re-examine what it means to be a credible source on a topic.

Critical Literacy in Practice

Questions to Ask While Researching and Evaluating Information:

  • Who created this information and what are their credentials?
  • Why was this information created?
  • When was this source created and is it still current?
  • Is the author part of the community they are writing about?
  • Who is claiming to be an authoritative figure on the topic?
  • Whose voices are being privileged?
  • Can I find any authors to cite who are part of BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, people of colour) communities, LGBTQ2S+ communities, or be inclusive to other voices? 


Search Tips and What to Look For:

  • Look for community-produced reports, books, etc.
  • Check community websites. Consult with their own heritage or research departments. 
  • Look for wording or statements about community involvement – this includes acknowledgement of Free, Prior, and Informed Consent (FPIC)
  • Look for wording like community-led or community-based
  • Look for recognition of community as being a crucial part of the research process. Is the community identified as an active participant in the research? 
  • Look for any recognition of Indigenous ownership of Information or intellectual property rights

Further Reading