Indigenous Studies: Oceania


Introduction to Indigenous Studies and Oceania

Indigenous Studies is a highly interdisciplinary fields that focuses on history, culture, politics, issues, spirituality, and contemporary lives of the Native peoples of regions colonized by European settlers. Using a critical lens Indigenous Studies draw from historical, anthropological, literary, political science and law sources to examine the relationship with colonizing societies, fight for political sovereignty, give voice to Indigenous ways of knowing, and work for the good of Native peoples.

Indigenous Studies encompasses Native American and American Indian Studies. The resources in this guide focus on Oceania, which includes Melanesia, Micronesia, Polynesia, and Australia. For resources specific to American Indians and North American Indigenous groups try the American Indian Studies - Advanced Guide.

From the UMN American Indian Studies department: Through the exploration of Indigenous narratives, heritage, and history, we strive to restore and promote the importance of American Indians in everyday life.

Search terms and strategies

Whether you are searching in library databases, the library catalog, Google Scholar, or just plain Google, creating a good search query will help you to find relevant information. 

General search terms

General terms work well when starting your research, finding information that is not about a specific tribe, community or group, or when using a smaller database.

  • Indigenous peoples 
  • Pacific Islanders
  • Pacifika
  • Aboriginal peoples (Australia)
  • Torres Strait Islanders (Australia)
  • Indigenous Australians (Australia)
  • First Peoples (Australia)
  • Chamorro (Guam, Northern Marianas)
  • Marshallese (Marshall Islands)
  • Maori (New Zealand)
  • Hawaiians

Subject Headings

Subject headings can be particularly helpful when search library catalogs, archives, and digital collections. Databases may use different subject headings. You can pair a subject heading search with additional topics, events, and concepts like education, folklore, language, history, legal status, music, politics and government, social life and customs, and treaties.

Each item on the bulleted list below links to the UMN Libraries Search by subject heading.

Creating a search query

For most databases and even Google you can combine search terms to write a search query that databases understand. A good search query will give you a good selection of highly relevant results. Below are a few examples.

  • Use quotation marks to search words as a phrase, ex. "Torres Strait Islanders"
  • Use the word AND to link together concepts, ex. "Torres Strait Islanders" AND treaties
  • Use the word OR to search for synonyms, ex. "Torres Strait Islanders" OR "Indigenous Melanesian"
Last Updated: Apr 2, 2024 2:00 PM