Oral Presentation Lowitja Institute International Indigenous Health and Wellbeing Conference 2016

Researching right way...our way: Towards an Indigenous research ethics of practice (#74)

Chelsea J Bond 1 , Ali Drummond 2 , Marnee Shay 2 , Deb Duthie 2
  1. The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies Unit, The University of Queensland , Brisbane, QLD, Australia
  2. Queensland University of Technology, Kelvin Grove, QLD, Australia

Western research has long been recognised as a ‘dirty word’ within Indigenous communities (Tuhiwai-Smith 2012, xi). Having operated as an apparatus of colonial control via overt racist pseudo-scientific theorising of the 19th century, contemporary research practices which discount Indigenous knowledges, methodologies, strengths realities and aspirations are still present in the academe. In more recent decades, there has been a growing body of literature responding to the moral imperative to do Indigenous research ‘right way’. This has included the development of ethical guidelines to inform Human Research Ethics Committees of how to review health research involving Indigenous peoples as well as a range of ‘how to’ guides explaining how to engage Indigenous communities in research; how to supervise Indigenous research personnel; and how to undertake Indigenous health research. However rarely does this literature explore Indigenous health research ethics from the perspective of Indigenous researchers for Indigenous researchers. Further, there is seldom consideration of the ethics of practice that Indigenous researchers must adhere to when working within their own nation or with other Indigenous nations.

This presentation will explore some of the ethical tensions experienced by a team of emerging and early career Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander researchers from diverse disciplines of population health, social work, nursing and education. Aimed at Indigenous researchers, Indigenous research assistants, and Indigenous postgraduate students, this session will collaboratively explore what an Indigenous research ethics of practice might look like. Some of the tensions to be explored include:

  • The role of Indigenous knowledges and research methodologies within Indigenous health research;
  • Whether an emancipatory agenda is integral to ethical Indigenous health research;
  • Engaging with diversity of communities within Indigenous communities;
  • Considering the grounds for ‘low-risk’ Indigenous health research;
  • Managing research ethics and Indigenous relationality in the research enterprise;
  • Acting with integrity in regards to our own Indigeneity and community research agendas;
  • Navigating ethical practice as community members, practitioners and researchers.