Section 2: Ways to Indigenize Research


In this section, you gained some depth in how an Indigenized research project can be planned. You have also been made aware of the importance of how metaphor and imagery can help a research project gather, analyze, and disseminate results in a respectful way. The following activities examine how you can make your research interconnected, respectful, relational, responsible, and reciprocal.


Activity 1: Informing your research project

Type: Individual

Time: 1 hour

Review the Canadian Copyright Act, the Status of the Artist Act, and the website of the Canadian Artists’ Representation/Le Front des artistes canadiens to learn more about the rights of artists and best practices and standards around the use of artworks.

Review the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) and the Calls to Action of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC). Interpret how UNDRIP and the TRC Calls to Action relate to community negotiation and protocols in relation to your research project from beginning to end.

Visit the Intellectual Property Issues in Cultural Heritage, Canada Council for the Arts Research Library, and the World Intellectual Property Organization websites. Check the resources, reports, and proceedings sections, and identify at least three resources that inform your research project.


Activity 2: Language revitalization and your research

Type: Individual or group

Time: 1–4 hours

Visit the First Peoples’ Cultural Council website and identify various community agencies and resources for language revitalization and learning to look for resources that relate to your research project.

Connect with a First Nations, Métis, or Inuit community to explore how various words and phrases might be translated. Note any differences between the literal meanings of English words and phrases and those from the Indigenous language. Consider how this might change the research goals, objectives, and activities.


Activity 3: Working in a decolonized way

Type: Individual

Time: Ongoing

Read Decolonization Is Not a Metaphor (Tuck & Yang, 2012) and reflect on what needs to be “unsettled” in your research design and process for gathering and sharing data. Are there areas of your research design that are collaborative and respectful?


Activity 4: Working in an interconnected way

Type: Individual

Time: Ongoing

Using SPECIALTYPATHLIST, explore who needs to be involved in the research partnership agreement. For example, use the list to ask if there are any social, political, economic, cultural, or other benefits or implications of this research.


Activity 5: Indigenous metaphor as a way to present research

Type: Group

Time: 1–5 hours

Locate research and other examples of where an Indigenous tradition was used as a metaphor. Locate resources created by the Indigenous community from which the tradition is derived and contrast its use as a metaphor.


Activity 6: Introducing yourself in a different way

Type: Group

Time: Ongoing

  1. As an Indigenous researcher, learn to introduce yourself using your home language to share your kinship and roles in your community.
  2. When possible, connect with local Indigenous language speakers to learn how to greet local communities in their traditional language.
  3. Visit First Voices to see the diversity of Indigenous languages spoken across the province. Identify, learn, and practise basic introductory phrases in the local Indigenous language..
  4. Connect with several different communities that speak the same language but may have dialect differences. Explore words and phrases that might be translated from English to the local Indigenous language. Compare and contrast any differences in words and phrases from each community. Are words and phrases spelled differently for each dialect group? How might this be reconciled if several communities are participating in the research project?


Activity 7: Building, sharing, and understanding intent

Type: Group

Time: Ongoing

If you have developed a research inquiry, present it to various audiences (e.g., instructors, students, advisors), and gauge response and understanding of intent.


Activity 8: The 5 R’s in your research

Type: Group

Time: 1–3 hours

Watch this half-hour video from Julie Bull, Inuk researcher, The Intersection of People, Policies and Priorities in Indigenous Research Ethics. Discuss the following questions about research approach:

  • What do “ethical” and “opaque” mean in a research plan?
  • How can you use the 5 Rs in your research process?
  • In what ways is your research influenced by policies and litigation?


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Pulling Together: A Guide for Researchers, Hiłḵ̓ala Copyright © 2021 by Dianne Biin; Deborah Canada; John Chenoweth; and Lou-ann Neel is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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