18. 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.
  • Consult the UniSQ Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Protocols regarding culturally appropriate terminology and language.

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 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 “pers. comm.” and the date of the communication.

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 Year)

b) (Correspondent Initial. Correspondent Surname, Nation/Country and/or Language Group, Location Year, pers. comm., Day Month).

c) No entry.


a) (Logan Libraries 2021)

b) (M.Waters, Gomeroi, Toowoomba 2020, pers. comm., 6 August)


Mel Waters (Gomeroi, Toowoomba 2020, pers. comm., 6 August) has shared her understanding of…


a) As per type of source.

b) No entry.

c) No entry.


Logan Libraries 2021, Aunty Flora Cook, online video, viewed 5 May 2021, <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7V4sthsfn0w>.


USQ Harvard AGPS Referencing Guide Copyright © by University of Southern Queensland. All Rights Reserved.

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