Guidance for Researchers: Understanding how to approach Indigenous and other remote communities and form relationships based on trust
Working with Indigenous communities and other remote community groups often requires special considerations, as highlighted by the following excerpts from Chapter 9: Research Involving the First Nations, Inuit and Métis Peoples of Canada of The Tri-Council Policy Statement: Ethical Conduct for Research Involving Humans (TCPS 2) (2018).
Research involving Indigenous peoples in Canada has been defined and carried out primarily by non-Indigenous researchers. The approaches used have not generally reflected Indigenous world views, and the research has not necessarily benefited Indigenous peoples or communities. As a result, Indigenous peoples continue to regard research, particularly research originating outside their communities, with a certain apprehension or mistrust.
The landscape of research involving Indigenous peoples is rapidly changing. Growing numbers of First Nations, Inuit and Métis scholars are contributing to research as academics and community researchers. Communities are becoming better informed about the risks and benefits of research. Technological developments allowing rapid distribution of information are presenting both opportunities and challenges regarding the governance of information.
Building reciprocal, trusting relationships will take time...
...respectful relationships, collaboration and engagement between researchers and participants may also be an important source of guidance for research involving other distinct communities. The need to respect a community’s cultural traditions, customs and codes of practice may extend beyond First Nations, Inuit and Métis communities.
Researchers may find the following resources helpful if they intend to approach Indigenous communities and form respectful relationships based on trust:
Resources provided by the Tri-Agencies, Government of Canada, and United Nations
Government of Canada: The Tri-Council Policy Statement: Ethical Conduct for Research Involving Humans (TCPS 2) (2018) - Chapter 9: Research Involving the First Nations, Inuit and Metis Peoples of Canada
Senate Canada: How Did We Get Here? A Concise, Unvarnished Account of the History of the Relationship Between Indigenous Peoples and Canada (Interim Report). Ottawa: Standing Senate Committee on Aboriginal Peoples (2019)
Resources from First Nations Governments and Organizations
Resources developed by Michael Smith Health Research BC
Books, Journal Articles, and Other Publications
Castelden, H. et al. (2012). “I spent the first year drinking tea”: Exploring Canadian university researchers’ perspectives on community-based participatory research involving Indigenous peoples. The Canadian Geographer, 56(2): 160-179.
Online Courses and Other Resources
Memorial University: For researchers: Doing Indigenous research in a good way * This is an excellent, comprehensive webpage with an extensive list of FAQs. UNBC researchers may find some of the information on the page useful, although it should be noted that some information may be out of date and some of it is quite specific to the region which Memorial University serves (Newfoundland and Labrador).
The Office of Research and Innovation welcomes the input of the entire UNBC community on the content of this page. If you are aware of additional helpful resources that you would like us to consider including, please email your suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you!