Beyond CBPR: Reseach from and Indigenous Paradigm


Indigenous methods are an alternative way of thinking about the research process, and they differ from the Western CBPR approach since they flow from tribal knowledge (Smith, 1999; Wilson, 2008; Kovach, 2009). “Although these methodologies vary according to the ways in which different Indigenous communities express their own unique knowledge systems, they [Indigenous methods] do have common traits” (Louis, 2007, p. 130). They involve a tribal epistemology, meaning that information is gained through a relationship with Indigenous people in a specific community. While these research methods and methodologies are aligned with several Western qualitative approaches, there are distinctions. Some of those distinctions include a relationship with the source of the research data, or the person who knows and tells the story. Another distinction is the relationship that the researcher has with the story, how it is told, and how the knower and the researcher interpret the story. I believe that researchers who conduct research with Indigenous communities have accountability to that community’s ethics, epistemology, ontology, and methodology. Also giving back to the commuity and the commuity leads the research topics.
Because the passion for doing research with an Indigenous methodology comes from the heart of the researcher, this focuses my work from the cultural knowledge, beliefs, behaviors, experiences, and realities of the Canadian Northeast Woodlands First Nations. They are my ancestors, the Mi’kmaq, Abenaki, and Huron-Wendot peoples. The Mi’kmaq and Abenaki are two of the five tribes 3 that belong to the Wobanaki Confederation and are known as the “People of the Dawnland.”