20. First Nations and Traditional Knowledge

In this chapter:
Traditional Knowledge or Oral Traditions of First Nations peoples
  • Citing Traditional Knowledge or Oral Traditions of First Nations peoples varies depending on whether and how the information has been recorded. Cases that are usually non-recoverable from the readers perspective are not included in the reference list but are cited in-text or described in the writing. These cases use a variation of the personal communication citation.
  • Information that has been recorded is described as per the source type. Ensure that the information used is accurate and appropriate to share before citing those works.
  • To describe Traditional Knowledge or Oral Traditions that are not recorded, provide as much detail in the in-text citation as is necessary to describe the content and to contextualize the origin of the information. Because there is no recoverable source, a reference list entry is not used. Ensure that the person agrees to have their name included in your paper and confirms the accuracy and appropriateness of the information you present.
  • To describe personally held Traditional Knowledge contextualise the information you are sharing in the writing. No in-text citation or reference list entry is used.
  • First Nations people using personally held Traditional Knowledge should consider if the information shared is appropriate and allowed to be shared. It is often useful to collaborate with other First Nations people to address any questions that may arise.

a)      Recorded If the information has been recorded and is recoverable by readers (e.g., video, audio, interview transcript, book, article), cite it in the text and include a reference list entry in the correct format for that type of source.

b)      Not Recorded – Interview Provide the person’s full name and the Nation or specific First Nations group to which they belong, as well as their location or other details about them as relevant, followed by the words “personal communication,” and the date of the communication. Note: this is a narrative in-text citation where the author is incorporated into the text as part of the sentence and the citation appears in brackets immediately after the author name.

c)       Not Recorded – Personal Knowledge If you are a First Nations person and are sharing your own experiences or the previously unrecorded Traditional Knowledge or Oral Tradition of your people, describe yourself in the text (e.g., what Nation you belong to, where you live) to contextualize the origin of the information you are sharing. Do not use a personal communication citation or provide a reference list entry because you do not need to cite personal information.



a) (Author Surname/Organisation, Year)

b) Correspondent Full Name (Nation/Country and/or Language Group, Location, personal communication, Month Day, Year).

c) No entry.


a) Aunty Flora, an Erubam Le woman from the Torres Strait Islands, practices culture… (Logan Libraries, 2021).

b) Mel Waters (Gomeroi, Toowoomba, personal communication, August 6, 2020) shared experiences…



a) As per type of source.

b) No entry.

c) No entry.


a) Logan Libraries. (2021, March 17). Aunty Flora Cook [Video]. YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7V4sthsfn0w


UniSQ APA 7 Referencing Guide Copyright © by University of Southern Queensland. All Rights Reserved.

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