A Reconciliatory Approach to Research

Research in relation to Indigenous peoples in Canada has historically been a site of contention. In response, over the past 30 years, Indigenous activists, academics, and their allies challenged research in the service of colonial policy and practices (Mosby 2013; Denzin, Lincoln and Smith 2008; Deloria 1969). The ensuing debates have occasioned increasing attention to research ethics (PRE 2014), Ownership, Control, Access and Possession principles (NAHO 2007), and honouring community priorities (Denzin, Lincoln and Smith 2008). Building on this welcome trend, our project takes direction from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC 2015) and conceptualizes research rooted in restitution (working in the service of Indigenous communities) with an eye to the transformation of society (restoration of respectful relations). As researchers we agree with the TRC that we have an obligation to ensure we can live together—Indigenous people and Canadians—with dignity and respect. Against this backdrop, academic-Indigenous partnerships fostered by this grant will provide an opportunity for researchers, including Indigenous scholars and graduate students, to conduct grounded, policy-relevant research with Indigenous organizations and communities. In order to address the concrete challenges in land claim implementation that continue to prevent respectful relations, the partnership is designed along a series of questions that address specific gaps in existing knowledge and contribute innovative policy solutions (see analytic frames and five research areas below).

Deloria, Vine. 1969. Custer Died for Your Sins: An Indian Manifesto. New York: Macmillan.

Denzin, Norman; Yvonna Lincoln and Linda Tuhiwai-Smith (Eds), 2008. Handbook of Critical and Indigenous Methodologies. London: Sage.

Mosby, Ian. 2013. “Administering Colonial Science: Nutrition Research and Human Biomedical Experimentation in Aboriginal Communities and Residential Schools, 1942–1952,” Social History 46(91): 145-172.

National Aboriginal Health Organization (NAHO). 2007. Ownership, Control, Access and Possession. Ottawa: NAHO. As accessed at: http://cahr.uvic.ca/nearbc/documents/2009/FNC-OCAP.pdf

Panel on Research Ethics (PRE). 2014. Tri-Council Policy Statement: Ethical Conduct for Research Involving Humans (TCPS II). Ottawa: Government of Canada. As accessed at: http://www.pre.ethics.gc.ca/eng/policy-politique/initiatives/tcps2-eptc2...