Article Title

“We’ve Been Researched to Death”: Exploring the Research Experiences of Urban Indigenous Peoples in Vancouver, Canada


The belief among many Indigenous Peoples of being over-researched, often through questionable research practices, has generated mistrust towards researchers. Despite growing critiques of conventional research practices, understanding of Indigenous Peoples’ contemporary research experiences remains limited. The research this article describes was undertaken by a community organization led by Indigenous Peoples who use illicit substances. Community researchers facilitated talking circles to explore the research experiences of peers living in a highly-researched inner-city neighbourhood in Vancouver, Canada. While participants reported distrust towards researchers, this wariness did not preclude participation in research given a context of extreme poverty. Participants noted lack of transparency in research and perceived research as having little benefit to their community. We argue for increased support for Indigenous-led approaches to research that emphasize community concerns and meaningful community participation.


The authors thank the study participants for their contribution to the research, as well as current and past researchers and staff with the Western Aboriginal Harm Reduction Society, the Vancouver Area Network of Drug Users, and the British Columbia Centre on Substance Use. This study was supported by the UBC Peter Wall Institute for Advanced Studies/Solutions Initiatives and Canadian Institutes for Health Research Foundation Grant (FDN-148476). This article is dedicated to Tracey Morrison for her contribution and commitment, and for her endless advocacy in sharing this research; her selflessness will always be remembered.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

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