Elements of Indigenous Style
A Guide for Writing By and About Indigenous Peoples


Cover image (Elements of Indigenous Style)

Elements of Indigenous Style offers Indigenous writers and editors—and everyone creating works about Indigenous Peoples—the first published guide to common questions and issues of style and process. Everyone working in words or other media needs to read this important new reference, and to keep it nearby while they’re working.

Gregory Younging, a member of the Opaskwayak Cree Nation in northern Manitoba, is the publisher of Theytus Books, the first Indigenous-owned publishing house in Canada. Elements of Indigenous Style began as the house style Gregory developed at Theytus. Gregory also teaches in the Indigenous Studies Program of the University of British Columbia, Okanagan, and he served as assistant director of research to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada.

This guide features:

- Twenty-two succinct style principles.
- Advice on culturally appropriate publishing practices, including how to collaborate with Indigenous Peoples, when and how to seek the advice of Elders, and how to respect Indigenous Oral Traditions and Traditional Knowledge.
- Terminology to use and to avoid.
- Advice on specific editing issues, such as biased language, capitalization, and quoting from historical sources and archives.
Case studies of projects that illustrate best practices.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents
Elements of Indigenous Style 1
Foreword 5
Preface 7
Introduction 9
1 Why an Indigenous style guide? 11
2 A history of the portrayal of Indigenous Peoples in literature 18
3 Contemporary Indigenous cultural realities 27
4 The cultural rights of Indigenous Peoples 35
5 Culturally appropriate publishing practices for Indigenous authors and content 40
6 Terminology 60
7 Specific editorial issues 84
Appendix A Summary of Indigenous style principles 109
Appendix B Draft principles of the Indigenous Editors Circle 115
Appendix C Compilations of names of Indigenous Peoples 117
APPENDIX D Gnaritas Nullius No One’s Knowledge The Essence of Traditional Knowledge and Its Colonization through Western Legal Regimes 119