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

Wilson, S. (2008). Relationality. In Research is ceremony: Indigenous research methods (pp. 80–96). Black Point, NS: Fernwood Publishing.

“‘… most Indigenous societies will always introduce themselves as ‘I am Lewis Cardinal, my grandparents are these people, my father is this person, my mother was this person.’ … I think that is a real foundational thing, to say who I am. Who I am is where I’m from, and my relationships.'” (p 80)

[“Building Relationships at the Indigenous Scholars Conference” (p 81) …]

“This is how Indigenous communities work — a key to being included is not only the work that you have done in the past but how well you have connected with others in the community during the course of your work.” (p 81)

“This again is how things should be, starting and finishing with a prayer and sharing of food.” (p 83)

[“Relations with People” (p 84) …]

[“Relations with the Environment/Land” (p 86) …]

“Knowledge itself is held in the relationships and connections formed with the environment that surrounds us. This reinforces the earlier point that knowledge, theories and ideas are only knots in the strands of relationality that are not physically visible but are nonetheless real.” (p 87)

“Vine Deloria Jr. (1973) discusses this point when he states that Indigenous people place greater importance on space (or the place and environment that we occupy) than we do upon time in the western sense of the word.” (p 88)

“… I will now talk about how the relationships we form with our cosmos result in the spiritual nature of our existence and therefore of our research as an extension of ourselves.”

[“Relations with the Cosmos” (p 89) …]

“It is important that I address spirituality as a distinct issue only because many people in dominant society, research and academia, especially in the fields of human services and psychology, are so devoid of this aspect of humanity.” (p 89)

“For many Indigenous people, having a healthy sense of spirituality is just as important as other aspects of mental, emotional and physical health. Until very recently, mainstream Australian and Canadian society tended to compartmentalize spirituality as being distinct from other forms of health and learning (Coleman, 1998).” (p 89)

[Use of technology, per Lewis Cardinal (personal communication)…]

“‘This machine here is made from mother earth. It has a spirit of its own. This spirit probably hasn’t been recognized, and given the right respect that it should. When we work in a world of automated things, we forget that… everything is sacred, and that includes what we make.'” (p 90)

[“Relations with Ideas” (p 91) …]

“It is impossible for knowledge to be acultural (Meyer, 2001).” (p 91)

[Peter:] “… this thing that we are talking about between the western and the Native, it becomes a real problem for our young people in school, because they are asked to take a position on something.”

[Stan:] “Violating their cultural norm.” (p 93)

[per Lewis Cardinal (personal communication) …]

“‘They look for that deeper part of themselves, and I think that is something basic for all of humanity. … surrounded and influenced heavily by the western tradition so that informs how we interact within our communities …'” (p 94)

Selected References

  • Coleman, H. (1998). Achieving Balance in the Classroom: Student Perceptions of a Successful University Unit. Unpublished honours thesis. Lismore, Australia: Southern Cross University.
  • Deloria, V. (1973). God Is Red: A Native View of Religion. New York: Grosset and Dunlap.
  • Meyer, M. (2001). Acultural Assumptions of Empiricism: A Native Hawaiian Critique. Canadian Journal of Native Education 25(2): 188-198.
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