Research Ethic

Culturally Sensitive Research Methods

Our research protocols emerge out of a sensitivity to and awareness of the long history of exploitation by Western researchers of native peoples.  The primary goal of the project is to ensure that village communities benefit as much as possible from our research.

The AKSIK research ethic is grounded in the principle of Free, Prior, and Informed Consent as outlined in the United Nations Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.


Activities are done without coercion or exploitation.


Consent of governing bodies is requested 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.  Later, research results are delivered to the tribes in a timely manner.


Consent is obtained on two levels: First, all project components and research results are discussed with the tribal councils in each village.  Consent is then sought from the councils.  Second, consent is sought from individuals participating in the project, consistent with Internal Review Board requirements of our university.

Consistent with our research ethic, AKSIK projects emerge out of consultations with tribal councils and villagers in Savoonga and Shaktoolik about the focus of the subsequent research initiative.  The research initiatives found under the Projects tab exemplify this progression: after documenting the Impacts of climate change in the two villages the tribal councils and villagers wanted to rank their Key Vulnerabilities to the changes.  That work revealed that Storms and changing Wind patterns are particularly important to them and are thus the focus on our current research.