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APA Citation Guide (7th edition): Cite Indigenous Knowledge

This guide shows you how to cite using APA 7th edition - many thanks to our colleagues at Columbia College BC for providing content!

Template for Citing Indigenous Elders & Knowledge Keepers

The Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association does not include specific guidelines for citing Indigenous Elders and Knowledge Keepers. Authors are instructed to cite such exchanges as personal communication for which there is an in-text citation but not an entry on the References page. This demeans the importance of oral contributions and excludes vital information such as the Nation of the Elder. For additional information about how and why the template below was created, see this article.

In 2021, Lorisa MacLeod  and staff at NorQuest College’s Indigenous Student Centre created a template for citing Indigenous knowledge in APA style. Although it isn't recognized by the Association, we encourage you to use it. These citation guides are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.

Template for Citing Indigenous knowledge: 

Reference Page:

Last name, First initial. Nation/Community. Treaty Territory if applicable. Where they live if applicable. Topic/subject of communication if
     applicable. personal communication. Month Date, Year.


Cardinal, D. Goodfish Lake Cree Nation. Treaty 6. Lives in Edmonton. Oral teaching. personal communication. April 4, 2004.

In-Text Citation:

Follow the format for a direct quotation or paraphrase as appropriate.


Name of Elder/Knowledge Keeper with year of communication.

Delores Cardinal described the nature of the... (2018).


The nature of the place was... (Cardinal, 2018).


MacLeod, L. (2021). More than personal communication: templates for citing Indigenous Elders and Knowledge Keepers. KULA: Knowledge
     Creation, Dissemination, and Preservation Studies
, 5(1).