Smith (2012). Articulating an Indigenous Research Agenda. (Decolonizing Methodologies: Research and Indigenous Peoples.)

Smith, L. T. (2012). Articulating an Indigenous Research Agenda. In Decolonizing Methodologies: Research and Indigenous Peoples (Second edition, pp. 127-142). Dunedin: Otago University Press.

“To imagine self-determination, however, is also to imagine a world in which indigenous peoples become active participants, and to prepare for the possibilities and challenges that lie ahead.” (p 140)

“What researchers may call methodology, for example, Maori researchers in New Zealand call Kaupapa Maori research or Maori-centred research. This form of naming is about bringing to the centre and privileging indigenous values, attitudes and practices rather than disguising them within Westernized labels such as ‘collaborative research’.” (p 141)

“Community-based projects are often conceptualized, funded and directed by researchers who have been trained within a discipline or paradigm, and are often employed by a research organization. Also, university researchers who work within the protection of such notions as academic freedom and academic research can legitimate innovative, cutting-edge approaches that can privilege community-based projects. In other words, the two pathways are not at odds with each other but simply reflect two distinct developments. They intersect and inform each other at a number of different levels.” (p 141)

[“Community Research” (p 141) …]

“Some writers refer to these multiple layers of belonging as ‘nested identities’. Gerald Alfred, for example, conceptualizes Kahnawake identity as including ‘localized Kahnawake, national Mohawk, broader Iroquois, and pan-Native’.1 He says, ‘Thus people of Mohawk descent who live in Kahnawake have a multi-layered identity which incorporates each one of the ‘communities’ he or she has inherited, and which also includes the broader Native — or the more common ‘Indian’ — identity flowing from their racial affiliation and identification as the indigenous peoples of North America.’2” (p 142)

“Processes are expected to be respectful, to enable people, to heal and to educate. They are expected to lead one small step further towards self-determination.” (p 144)

[“_Iwi_ and Indigenous Nation Research” (p 144) …]

[“The Case Study of an Indigenous Research Initiative inside the Academy” (p 145) …]

[“Training Indigenous Researchers” (p 149) …]

“Although our communities have a critical perspective of universities and what they represent, at the same time these same communities want their members to gain Western educations and high-level qualifications. But they do not want this to be achieved at the cost of destroying people’s indigenous identities, their languages, values and practices.” (p 149)

[“Insider/Outsider Research” (p 152) …]

“Most research methodologies assume that the researcher is an outsider, able to observe without being implicated in the scene. This is related to positivism and notions of objectivity and neutrality. Feminist research and other more critical approaches have made the insider methodology much more acceptable in qualitative research. … insiders have to live with the consequences of their processes on a day-to-day basis for ever more, and so do their families and communities. For this reason insider researchers need to build particular sorts of research-based support systems and relationships with their communities.” (p 152)

“I never really did justice to them in the report I eventually wrote as an assignment; I [page break] never quite knew how, never possessed the skills or confidence at that time to encapsulate the intricacies of the researcher/researched relations, or my own journey as a novice researcher.” (p 153-154)

“Not all indigenous communities are averse to such projects; they tend to be persuaded not by the technical design, however, but by the open and ‘good’ intentions of the researchers. They also expect and appreciate honesty. Spelling out the limitations of a project, the things that are not addressed, is most important.” (p 155)

Selected References

  • 1. Alfred, G. R. (1996), Heeding the Voices of Our Ancestors, Oxford University Press, Toronto, p. 18.
  • 2. Ibid., p. 19.
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