Academic journal article Canadian Journal of Education

Walking in Two Worlds: Engaging the Space between Indigenous Community and Academia

Academic journal article Canadian Journal of Education

Walking in Two Worlds: Engaging the Space between Indigenous Community and Academia

Article excerpt

Certainly in the past and even in the present day, the term research for Indigenous people has been fraught with strong, negative, emotional associations; however, despite the many remaining challenges there is a shifting within the landscape of academia to recognize that research on Indigenous issues must cultivate respectful and reciprocal relationships with those communities. In this study, we demonstrate that to conduct research collaboratively based on elements of respect, relationship, relevance, and reciprocity, all collaborators must walk in two worlds to balance the needs of communities with the systemic realities of academia. To illustrate our point, we focus our story on one project that is currently underway between the Six Nations of the Grand River Territory and Brock University. In our narrative we illustrate how the relationships that were fostered call into question commonly accepted university practices as well as engage community partners in understanding some of the limitations and possibilities in some of those practices. This article focuses on some tough issues; however, the collaborators in this project are in the process of forging something new that may serve as one example of how such partnerships can be authentically created.

Key words: Indigenous research, Indigenous ways of knowing, community-based research, power-sharing research, Hodenosaunee research method, research ethics

Pour les peuples autochtones, le mot "recherche" a ete et demeure toujours empreint de fortes associations emotives negatives; cependant, malgre les defis importants qui se doivent d'etre surmontes, on constate un changement au sein du monde universitaire : la reconnaissance que la recherche sur les themes et les realites des peuples autochtones doit d'abord et avant tout etre fondees sur des relations reciproques respectueuses avec ces communautes. Notre etude demontre que pour mener une recherche reellement collaborative fondee sur les elements du respect, de l'entree en relation, de la pertinence et de la reciprocite, l'ensemble des collaborateurs doivent se situer dans l'entre-deux assurant ainsi l'equilibre entre les besoins des communautes autochtones et les exigences du monde universitaire. Afin d'illustrer ce constat, nous vous partageons le deroulement et le denouement d'une collaboration reelle entre les Six Nations de la region de Grand River et des chercheurs de l'Universite Brock (Ontario). Notre expose narratif demontre comment la creation et le developpernent de liens authentiques entre les membres de la communaute des Six Nations et les universitaires ont remis en question des pratiques courantes de la culture universitaire et permis un espace discursif pour expliquer aux partenaires communautaires les limites et les avantages de certaines de ces pratiques. Cet article aborde donc des themes difficiles; cependant, les collaborateurs a ce projet sont a forger de nouveaux processus et de nouvelles pratiques de recherche qui peuvent servir d'exemple pour la creation de partenariats authentiques en recherche collaborative.

Mots-cles: recherche autochtone, modes de connaissance autochtones, recherches communautaires, recherche fondee sur le partage du pouvoir, methode de recherche Hodenosaunee, ethique en recherche.


Eurocentrism, a system characterized by intellectual privilege and epistemic narcissism, has played a central role in the colonization of peoples globally. Within academia, and in particular the research field, the underpinnings of this Eurocentric orientation have long played a central role. Intellectual privilege and an assumed perspective of some researchers have served not only to alienate those participant populations researchers sought to examine, but also to dismantle patterns of trust and rapport that might have been possible in respectful and truly collaborative endeavours. As such, Indigenous (1) populations generally have equated the term research synonymously with issues of misrepresentation, othering, exploitation, and co-optation. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed


An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.