Principles of Partnership


The principle of respect means that research partners must value and prioritize Indigenous epistemologies, knowledge, cultural protocols, and healing practices. Indigenous “scientists” and expert knowledge already exist within Indigenous communities and should be involved throughout the research partnership.


Research with Indigenous communities should acknowledge the community’s strengths and its stalwart resilience in the face of multiple assaults on tribal autonomy and integrity.


Inquiries and investigations that respond to the community’s identified needs, issues, and concerns; Respect community’s role in defining problems and strategies. For research partners to achieve relevance, they must actively engage the community from the earliest phases of the research endeavor in conceiving the aims of the project.


Reciprocity should characterize the research partnership, which should be collaborative and mutually respectful, with knowledge exchanged in both directions. Western and Indigenous knowledge should be reciprocally shared, mutually understood and respectfully exchanged.


Responsibility to give back to the community beyond data/knowledge sharing; Cultivate and build Indigenous capacity to engage in “western” research methodologies. Embracing mutual and developmental growth in research practices and policies. In building accountable relationships transparency in expectations and capabilities are ongoing and developmental processes.


Retraditionalization involves incorporating traditional and ancestral knowledge and methods into the formulation of research questions and the process of scientific inquiry. Building on the principles of respect and relevance, it involves the practice of co-embracing hybridized methodologies while maintaining an Indigenous core.


Actively engage in decolonizing research practices. Truly indigenist research collaborations involve scientific revolution. Research partners and community members, by actively seeking to decolonize and indigenize the research process, can transform the structure and nature of knowledge production. This can be facilitated by challenging colonial or racist research practices within institutions (Mihesuah &Wilson, 2004). Decolonizing research practices include holding the researchers accountable as well as the institutions where research takes place.


The principle of reflection involves taking an active stance to acknowledge the intersection of oppression and privilege.