Professor Aimée Craft of the Common Law Section of the University of Ottawa’s Faculty of Law leads an in-depth discussion of Indigenous research methodologies, exploring what “Indigenous research” really means. This presentation was featured on the first day of the 4th Autumn School on the Methodology of Research in Law.
“If we think about core principles that apply to Indigenous research, they’re all founded in ideas of relationship, and particularly in reciprocity and respect.”Aimée Craft Associate Professor, University Research Chair Nibi miinawaa aki inaakonigewin – Indigenous governance in relationship with land and water, Common Law Section, Faculty of Law
Drawing distinctions between research that is about Indigenous Peoples and research that is either led by Indigenous researchers or that uses Indigenous methodologies, Professor Craft emphasizes that relationships form the foundation of Indigenous research. Using examples from her own work on decolonizing water governance, and her extensive experience working with Indigenous nations and communities, Professor Craft sheds light on specific approaches to research with, for and by Indigenous communities, paying special attention to the ethical questions and community dynamics that must be taken into account to create effective research methodologies. She discusses the importance of researchers having a strong grounding in the systems of knowledge in which they work, such that they be responsive to community needs whenever they undertake work that either engages with or that is led by Indigenous communities.
Ultimately, Professor Craft points to the importance of reciprocity and respect in Indigenous research, noting that relationships built through research with Indigenous communities are rich, lifelong relationships.