Indigenous-centered Research and Contemporary contexts


Obviously, research in this particular class is going to be limited due to time and such. However, this does not override the following in terms of conducting research on an indigenous issue. To begin an historical evolution of an issue, we need to consider some important aspects regarding research. As well, our questions, sources, and use of these will effect how we conduct research if we are interested in assuring survival.

  1. Is research necessary?
    • What are the alternatives?
    • What will this research accomplish
  2. What is the problem that research will ACCOMPLISH?
    • Why is it necessary?
    • Who is it necessary for?
    • When is it necessary?
    • Where is it necessary?

These variables will contextualize the research project, guide the approach, guide the cultural contexts, and ultimately, determine if the research will be successful.

What are the LEAST necessary aspects to consider when embarking on an indigenous research project?

Historical aspects—What is the evolution of the problem? How did this evolution come to be part of the State of Native America?

  • pre-colonial issues
  • colonialism
  •  post-colonial
  • tribal/community/indigenous contexts and how their trajectories of existence have been impacted by issues and events—this section is a cornerstone for an indigenous-centered research project. This indigenous-centered perspective places the crux of the problem from the perspective where indigenous sensibilities are paramount TO western conventions of research assumptions.

How will the researcher become informed about the evolution of the problem?

Sources—think about the cultural biases associated with the following and how you will INTERROGATE, INTERPRET, and ENGAGE with the following types of sources:

  •  indigenous
  • anthropological
  • qualitative
  • quantitative
  •  popular
  •  government
  •  oral
  • religious
  • unseen
  • hearsay
  •  literature
  •  film
  • past research projects
  •  etc.

This section is when you will begin to engage with living people. The inherent part of this section in HOW you will MANAGE your sources.

Cultural aspects—A major component of the indigenous research project. How will indigenous sensibilities be REGARDED, UITILIZED, VALUED, and INTERNALIZED in your research project? (This section is dependent on the previous section in which you INTERROGATE, INTERPRET, and ENGAGE with your sources).

REGARDED- Based on your problem, you will regard information as a necessary component that is articulated by the indigenous community, sometimes disgarding, using part of, or using sources en toto.

UTILIZE- Which sources are inherent for SARP in this research? How will indigenous sensibilities be USED to highlight, interpret, and offer solutions to the problem?

VALUED- How will your research VALUE this information? Which indigenous bits are vital for solving the problem? What is at stake? For this section, these aspects CANNOT be denied in terms of disgarding. These aspects are the heart of the project and are part of the reason why this research is implemented—with this being the aim:

  • life giving/sustaining
  • maintaining balance
  • maintaining community
  • SARP
  • Language
  • Identity
  • Environment
  • culture
  • ensuring survival

INTERNALIZED- At this point there is a consciousness that is internalized which makes everything up to this point, THE WAY. Your research becomes validated by those that are researched, for those who are researching, and for the communities that the research impacts.