Wilson (2008). Relational Accountability. (Research is ceremony: Indigenous research methods.)

Wilson, S. (2008). Relational Accountability. In Research is ceremony: Indigenous research methods (pp. 97–125). Black Point, NS: Fernwood Publishing.

“At a higher level are sacred stories, which are specific in form, content, context and structure. These stories themselves must be told at different levels according to the initiation level of the listener. Only those trained, tested and given permission to do so are allowed to tell these stories, which must never vary in how they are told.” (p 98)

“The second level stories are like the Indigenous legends that you may have heard or read in books. There are certain morals, lessons or events that take place, but different storytellers shape them according to their own experience and that of the listener.” (p 98)

“The third style of story is relating personal experiences or the experiences of other people.” (p 98)

“The next step is for me to talk more in depth about what relational accountability means. In essence this means that the methodology needs to be based in a community context (be relational) and has to demonstrate respect, reciprocity and responsibility (be accountable as it is put into action).” (p 99)

[“Way of Applying an Indigenous Research Paradigm” (p 100) …]

[Transcription and edited dialogue among several participants, as noted. –oki]

[Author:] “… talking circles … We won’t necessarily follow each other in a circle, but we will use the same underlying rules of non-judgemental listening and non-interference, … try to build upon our ideas rather than debate over right and wrong.” (p 100)

[Author:] “But if the researcher is separated from the research and it is taken away from its relationships, it will not be accepted within an Indigenous paradigm. The research will not show respect for the relationship between the research participants and topic.” (p 101)

[Author:] “We start to feel removed from our relationships and relational accountability when we are always having to deal with white academics, the white system of academia and get taken further and further from our community and intuitive way of doing things.” (p 104)

[Author:] “The rules of how to do things probably are so easy and make perfect sense to someone who is raised in and is used to the system.” (p 105)

[Stan:] “And the other word is ‘_pastahowin_,’ which means the breaking of a sacred law. This action also will invoke natural justice and will surely befall the perpetrator.” (p 107)

[“Topic: How We Choose What To Study” (p 108) …]

[Cora:] “We put it in here, and we try to reach ourselves and young people who do not have those connections. That’s an important point, young people who grow up in the city as Indigenous people and don’t have those connections to the land. That’s scary to me because I don’t know where their life source is going to come from.” (p 109)

[“Methods: How We Gather Information” (p 110) …]

[Peter:] “They were faced with certain conditions or problems that they needed solutions to, and they went and prayed for an answer, and received an answer and got direction. And that was here answer. That it came from up there. They didn’t have to run trials; they didn’t have to experiment, which is the scientific method of trying to make discoveries. They had their own methods.” (p 111)

[Jane:] “Sometimes when you go into doing research, you don’t want to come with a set of questions. Especially to an Elder. So you enter into conversation. And hopefully they will let you use a tape machine or allow you to take notes. But sometimes even those things are obstrusive and invasive, so you have to rely on your memory, and you have to rely on the things that are coming through you at that time, and the words that the Elder is saying. And from there, extrapolate from what the Elder is saying. And that is conversation. That is a valid tool. Because it is contextual. It helps build relationships.” (p 113)

[Author:] “Because of knowledge is formed in a relationship, it can’t be owned.” (p 114)

[Stan:] “But if they give you the knowledge and they want you to use their name, it is understood that their name should be used.”

[Peter:] “Ya, but say for instance that an Elder is talking about residential school abuse or something like that. They are not just passing on knowledge; they [page break] are passing on experiences that happened to them. So even if you ask them if you can use their name, they are going to say yes. But maybe they don’t want their name to be used. Or maybe it shouldn’t be used.” (p 115-556)

[Peter:] “And the other problem I had in my research was that I was able to get consent, but they were reluctant to sign any forms. And the consent was, they talked to me. That was consent. And they trusted me, but they didn’t trust the form and they didn’t trust the university. They felt that the consent form that came out of the ethics review was protecting the university and not them.” (p 116)

[“Analysis: How We Interpret Information” (p 116) …]

[Author:] “I think that’s an important part of why Indigenous people need to do Indigenous research, because we have that life-long learning that goes into it. Or why gay or lesbian people need to be developing Queer Theory because they have that life-long relationship with it.” (p 122)

[“Presentation: How We Transfer Knowledge” (p 122) …]

[Author:] “As fixed objects, ideas lose the ability to grow and change, as those who hold relations with the ideas grow and change themselves. They lose their relational accountability.” (p 123)

[Lewis:] “I’ve talked with graduate students here who have walked the stage [at convocation –oki], got to shake hands with the president, and they are saying, ‘I feel there is something missing. …'” (p 124)

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