Culturally sensitive research methods
Our research protocol is patterned after the ethical principle of Free, Prior, and Informed Consent (FPIC) as laid out in the United Nations Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP).
Our activities are done without coercion or exploitation.
Consent of governing bodies is sought before starting each step of the project.
Full explanations of scope, duration, location, and reason for the research is given to the tribes and participants. Research results are delivered to the tribes in a timely manner.
Consent is sought one two levels. First, all project components and research results are discussed in consultation with the tribal councils in each village. Consent is then sought from the councils. Second, consent is also sought from individuals participating in the project consistent with Internal Review Board (IRB) requirements of our university. Villages and individuals can withdraw from this program at any time, including withdrawing parts or entire videos from this website.
Our research methodology follows this progression:
1. Establish contacts in each village
Meet with tribal council presidents or acting member to learn about the needs and desires of the community. If those needs overlap with the goals of our project, then ask council member(s) to recommend a Village Coordinator, someone who can coordinate research activities, including setting up interviews and meetings with governing bodies, and arranging transportation and lodging.
2. Seek consent from tribal leadership
Meet with tribal councils, and other layers of government like Native Corporations or village governments where appropriate, to explain the project and ask for their consent to continue. If consent is granted, then begin interviews of individual village members.
3. Share research findings in a timely manner
Meet with tribal councils to report on research results and ask for their consent to publish those results on the website and in any other form (e.g. peer-review literature or newspaper editorials). Host a public meeting, that includes all those who were interviewed the year before are invited, to view the videos and website and ask again for consent to publish their statements on the internet.
4. Continue to ask for consent at each stage of the project
Meet with tribal councils to seek advice on how to continue the project and/or adjust the project's direction according to emerging needs. If consent is not granted, the project is terminated. Or, if any individual wishes for their interview to be deleted from the website, do so as soon as possible.
5. Partners must agree to follow these protocols
We expect to partner with other organizations as this work progresses, but only with the understanding that they too are bound by these protocols.
Our research protocols emerge out of a sensitivity to and awareness of the long history of exploitation by Western researchers of native peoples. Our protocols, and overall purpose of this research, are designed first to ensure that the communities benefit as much as possible from the project, and second that academic publications are generated.