According to the Publication Manual, the method of citing Oral Traditions and Traditional Knowledge of Indigenous Peoples varies depending on whether the information has been recorded, and if so, how (8.9):
- In select cases, this information can be cited using a variation of the personal communication citation. More information on this can be found under the How Do I Cite . . .? tab.
- If the information has been recorded and is retrievable by readers, e.g., on video or audio, or printed in an interview transcript, book, or article, it is cited in the text and a reference list entry is created in the correct format for the resource type.
- If the information has not been recorded and is not retrievable by readers, e.g., in the case of an oral teaching, APA Style recommends creating an in-text citation with as much information as is necessary to describe the content and to contextualize the information. Because the information cannot be retrieved by the reader, no reference list entry is used.
- If information was provided directly by an Indigenous person, APA Style recommends using a variation of the personal communication citation. Provide the person's full name, the specific Indigenous group or nation to which they belong, if that information is available, and the date of the communication, e.g.: "We spoke to Diana Cardinal (Mohawks of the Bay of Quinte, Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory, Ontario, personal communication, November 2019) about . . . ". Alternately, writers can use signal phrases to provide the information, e.g.: "We spoke to Diana Cardinal, of the Mohawks of the Bay of Quinte, about . . . ". It is important to confirm that the person agrees to have their name included, and that they confirm the accuracy and appropriateness of the information being shared.
- For Indigenous writers who are sharing their personal experiences or the Oral Traditions and Traditional Knowledge of their people, APA Style recommends that the writer describe themselves in the text, e.g., their nation or where they live, to contextualize the information. This can be done using signal phrases. A personal communication citation and reference list entry are not required in this instance.
There are additional resources available that focus on citing traditional knowledge. In her article "More Than Personal Communication: Templates for Citing Indigenous Elders and Knowledge Keepers", Lorisia MacLeod (James Smith Cree Nation) introduces citation templates for Indigenous Elders and Knowledge Keepers that MacLeod created in partnership with the staff of the NorQuest Indigenous Student Centre. MacLeod recommends the following citation format:
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.
A link to the full text of MacLeod's article appears on this guide under the "Additional Resources" tab.