Research with Indigenous communities

The University of Manitoba’s new Vice-Provost of Indigenous Engagement, Dr. Lynn Lavallée, spoke on campus last year about some of the transgressions that have taken place when conducting research with Indigenous communities.

Prof. Adele Perry, author of Aqueduct: Colonialism, Resources, and the Histories we Remember, said researchers need to understand where they came from. Not acknowledging that before beginning research can get in the way. She also mentioned a post on Facebook by an Indigenous scholar that says “Stop researching us! Start citing us!”

Prof. Karen Busby discussed the Independent Assessment Process for survivors of residential schools. They needed to provide evidence of what occurred in the schools and how that affected their lives in order to receive compensation through the Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement. With more than 38,000 claims, this has created the most extensive archive of residential schools. The Supreme Court of Canada will determine what should be done with the records. Should they be kept or destroyed? No consent was sought when the testimony was given for the use of these documents in archives. The decision will be announced on Oct. 6, 2017.

Questions: 

What research methods would you use when working with First Nation communities?
Informed consent through the use of plain language so the community you are working with understands all elements of the research. Researchers should be working with the community, receiving guidance and developing long-term relationships.

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