Upcoming Special Issues

Reconciling Research: Perspectives on Research Involving Indigenous Peoples

The practice of seeking out answers to questions about ourselves, others, and the world around us is common to all human cultures. But the questions we ask, who is seen as having the authority to produce answers, and what are “legitimate” ways of answering are uniquely encoded within the culture and its dominant worldview. As a result, there are fundamental differences in the way in which knowledge is constructed under Western and Indigenous paradigms. Researchers who work with Indigenous peoples or on Indigenous issues face numerous challenges in engaging with these paradigms and translating them into methodology. The outcome of these discussions, deliberations, and decisions will ultimately shape the extent to which research enlightens, particularly with respect to policy.

Western science remains the dominant way in which knowledge is produced globally. It is bolstered by an expansive infrastructure that supports it—through the training and credentialing of researchers; criteria related to hiring, promotion, and tenure; research funding; research publication and dissemination, and so forth. Researchers face tremendous pressure to produce research that meets the standards of Western science; yet, many Indigenous and non-Indigenous researchers have recognized that Western science is rooted in colonialism.

At the same time, Indigenous peoples have strongly advocated that their traditional ways of knowing be recognized, particularly in research involving their people. They have argued that these approaches can decolonize research, help to preserve knowledge and culture, and address many of the inadequacies found in Western science.

There have also been movements toward the development of ethical guidelines that relate specifically to Indigenous Peoples in order to protect their rights in research and to its products, given the history of exploitation.

This special issue explores issues and perspectives related to research involving Indigenous peoples.

The special issue will be published in two parts: the first in spring 2017 and the second in fall 2017 (Northern Hemisphere).