Planting the Seeds: Insights for Researchers Interested in Working With Indigenous Peoples

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Macklin, C. D., Marchand, C., Mitchell, E., Price, R., Mitchell, V., & Bryant, L. (2021). Planting the Seeds: Insights for Researchers Interested in Working With Indigenous Peoples. International Journal of Indigenous Health, 16(1). doi:10.32799/ijih.v16i1.33193

"Health research in Canada carries a history of exploitation and cultural insensitivity in its approaches, resulting in a deeply rooted mistrust among Indigenous Peoples. Communities are signalling the urgent need for health research to be conducted in a more conscientious way. To address these gaps, our team of three Elders and three researchers co-developed a series of workshops in the province of British Columbia, Canada, in 2019 to increase participants’ knowledge and skills for conducting culturally responsive health research. Workshops examined power and privilege; self-awareness/self-reflection; Indigenous and Western worldviews; cultural safety; allyship; and research principles and practices. Activities were experiential and privileged Indigenous knowledges. An Indigenous-informed evaluation captured participants’ experiences via online surveys. Participants described workshop learnings as deeply impacting ways they approach research practice. Thematic analysis of participant reflections revealed three overarching themes: bringing together the mind and the heart; self-reflection and initiating change; and understanding cultural safety as a lifelong journey. Lessons learned by facilitators included the importance of applying Indigenous ways of knowing to create safe spaces for healing and learning; empowering participants to critically self-reflect; and rooting the work in ceremony. The ethical responsibility to allow time and space for meaningful dialogue was crucial for aligning with Indigenous protocols of coming together. This project demonstrates that experiential workshops, co- facilitated by Elders and researchers, are an innovative, effective, and Indigenous-centred approach for providing education on how to engage in culturally safe and culturally resonant research."