A Guide for Researchers is intended for the following audiences and learners:

  • Indigenous researchers who work within post-secondary and Indigenous communities
  • Non-Indigenous researchers who work with Indigenous communities and participants
  • Post-secondary research departments, teaching faculty, and those who work in community partnership roles that involve the development and sharing of knowledge and research

Each researcher approaches research with a different way of knowing, being, and doing. There is no one way of conducting Indigenized research, because it is based on place, relationships, and shared values.

To create a trusting relationship with Indigenous communities, researchers need to acknowledge the importance of using Indigenous language to build shared meaning. Gregory Cajete (2000), a Tewa scholar, stresses the importance of language to Indigenous Peoples: “Indigenous people are people of place, and the nature of place is embedded in their language” (p. 74). In British Columbia, there are 34 languages spoken across the province, as well as Michif and Chinook Jargon. This number does not include the many dialects of each language and language family, which are increasing as First Nations communities are reclaiming and revitalizing their language.

Almost all Indigenous languages have similar words or phrases that are used for proper introductions. Depending on the situation and context, introductions can either follow a formal protocol or be an everyday or common greeting. As we go through this resource together, let us begin by setting a context and building a dialogue. Gilakas’la is a Kwaḱwala phrase that translates in several ways depending on the context in which it is spoken. It can be a welcome or greeting, a form of engagement, or to give thanks, because it translates to “Come, breathe of the same air.” Inherent in understanding the meaning of Gilakas’la is knowing that we are coming together for some purpose. We tell each other our names, where we are from, and our family and ancestral lineage. After we announce our intentions and where we come from, we can then enter into a discussion to clarify the purpose we wish to embark upon together. In this same way, we see this guide as a form of introducing ourselves. Gilakas’la.



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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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