Skip to Main Content

Four Directions Writing Guide

Citing Traditional Knoweldge

How to Cite Traditional Knowledge

                                           teachings of the medicine wheel













(From : Teaching by the Medicine Wheel: An Anishinaabe framework for Indigenous education)


APA - American Psychology Association

In APA format, traditional Indigenous knowledge which is taught orally may be cited as being a part of an interview or other personal communication. 

Citing from Interviews, Email, and Other Personal Communication

No personal communication is included in your reference list; instead, parenthetically cite the communicator's name, the phrase "personal communication," and the date of the communication in your main text only.

Ex 1: (E. Robbins, personal communication, January 4, 2001).

Ex 2: A. P. Smith also claimed that many of her students had difficulties with APA style (personal communication, November 3, 2002).

** From Owl Purdue

MLA - the Modern Languages Association

In MLA format, traditional Indigenous Knowledge may be cited as an interview, an oral presentation or a sound recording (if the teaching was recorded on a sound recording device).

An Interview

Interviews typically fall into two categories: print or broadcast published and unpublished (personal) interviews, although interviews may also appear in other, similar formats such as in e-mail format or as a Web document.

Personal Interviews

Personal interviews refer to those interviews that you conduct yourself. List the interview by the name of the interviewee. Include the descriptor Personal interview and the date of the interview.

EX 1: Smith, Jane. Personal interview. 19 May 2014.


Speeches, Lectures, or Other Oral Presentations (including Conference Presentations)

Provide the speaker’s name. Then, give the title of the speech (if any) in quotation marks. Follow with the name of the meeting and organization, the location of the occasion, and the date. Use the descriptor that appropriately expresses the type of presentation (e.g., Address, Lecture, Reading, Keynote Speech, Guest Lecture, Conference Presentation). Remember to use the abbreviation n.p. if the publisher is not known; use n.d. if the date is not known.

EX 1: Stein, Bob. "Computers and Writing Conference Presentation." Purdue University. Union Club Hotel, West Lafayette, IN. 23 May 2003. Keynote Address.

**From Owl Purdue

Chicago Style

In Chicago Style, traditional Indigenous knowledge may be cited either as an unpublished interview or as a personal communication.

Unpublished Interviews

Footnote or Endnote: 

  1. Alex Smith (retired plumber) in discussion with the author, January 2009.

  2. Harvey Kail, interview by Laurie A. Pinkert, March 15, 2009, interview 45B, transcript.

Personal Communications

Footnote or Endnote: 

  1. Patricia Burns, e-mail message to author, December 15, 2008.

Vancouver Style

Personal communication 

Do not number this type of reference; instead cite the name of the person and date of communication in parentheses in the text. Use this method to cite a conversation or to cite notes taken by a student in class.

EX 1: Recommendations based on inadequate evidence often require reversal when sufficient data become available, (John Doe, April 1, 2002) while timely implementation of recommendations based on strong evidence can save lives.

 For More Information on Vancouver Style



Gdoo-maawnjidimi Mompii Indigenous Student Services  



  Student Learning Support

  • Writing Support
  • Study Skills and Transition Support