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

Sandra Styres, Dawn Zinga, Sheila Bennett, Michelle Bomberry

2010 Canada

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.

Indigenous research, Indigenous ways of knowing, community‐based research, power‐sharing research, Hodenosaunee research method, research ethics