News & Events


August 5, 2013

Vision to Action: Partnership Summit

2013_07_12_IWRI_newsletter (1 of 4)IWRI hosted the Vision to Action Partnership Summit, May 22–24, 2013, at the beautiful Kiana Lodge in Suquamish, Washington.  One-hundred-thirty-one participants of the Summit included 26 staff, faculty and students from IWRI and the UW, and 106 invited guests including tribal community members, Native and non-Native researchers, and non-Native allies and research partners.DSC_0001

Several project-related pre-meetings were organized in conjunction with the Summit:  Research for Improved Health; Tribal College and Universities; Indigenous HIV/AIDS Research Training program; Indigenous Substance Abuse, Medicines, and Addictions Research Training Fellows; Research Training and Education Core; and the National Center of Excellence (P60) Advisory Board.

DSC_0105-EditThe Summit opened with a welcome from Marilyn Wandry of the Suquamish Tribe and a greeting and presentation about the P60 grant by IWRI Directors Karina Walters, PhD, Tessa Evans-Campbell, PhD, and Bonnie Duran, DrPH. They were followed by an inspiring and thoughtful keynote address by Dr. Malia Villegas of the National Congress of American Indians in Washington, D.C. The evening was capped by a traditional feast of fresh, local shellfish.2013_07_12_IWRI_newsletter (2 of 4)

The second day of the Summit began with a keynote address by Dr. Greg Cajete of the University of New Mexico, which was followed by two visioning sessions facilitated by Polly Olsen and Bill Aal.  Utilizing the theme of traditional basket weaving, the sessions were designed to encourage examination and evaluation of current research partnerships from an indigenous perspective and prioritize areas of focus for the remaining sessions.

IMG_0803The afternoon sessions were designated for partnership-building based on common themes identified in the morning sessions.  Upon request by a participating elder, however, the sessions were replaced by an impromptu talking circle.  The following comments best illustrate the outcome of the afternoon’s discourse.  “The relationship between research and the Native community has its struggles.”  “It was refreshing and inspirational to hear all the diverse, yet also similar experiences, and realize that we still have much healing to do.”  Creating the space for open, even painful, dialogue and the willingness to adjust to accommodate the needs of the community representatives “showed a great commitment to real community-based participatory research methodology.”

2013_07_05_iwri_group (1 of 1)Overall satisfaction among attendees was high, though some expressed dissatisfaction that the scheduled sessions were not completed as planned.  Among the evaluation comments, “networking” was mentioned most frequently as the greatest benefit of the Summit, followed by “meeting” and “connecting with” people as close seconds.  Eighty percent of respondents stated that they formed new partnerships at the Summit.  And 84% stated that they plan to develop partnerships with contacts they met at the event.IMG_0143-Edit

Keynote speakers were described as “amazing,” “awesome,” and “inspiring.”  Dr. Villegas’ talk encouraged participants to commit to supporting each other and collaborating more.  Dr. Cajete’s talk motivated many participants to refocus their curriculum and research projects with a stronger, vibrant use of traditional indigenous knowledge.  To view recordings of the talks, use on the IWRI website:

IMG_1063While the agenda was altered somewhat, the general goals of the Summit–to harness partnership synergy, strengthen community relationships, provide opportunities for partnership development and guide the next steps of IWRI’s National Center of Excellence grant–were achieved.DSC_0105-Edit

The IWRI staff is certainly grateful for all the positive feedback and gratitude from the participants and our partners – you are why we do what we do!