Seeking new paradigms in Aboriginal education research: methodological opportunities, challenges and aspirations

Year: 2016

Author: Shay, Marnee

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

It is only relatively recently that Aboriginal peoples in Australia are represented in the academe, creating knowledges that speak for, and not of us. Internationally renowned Maori scholar, Professor Linda Tuhiwai Smith, was groundbreaking in her use of critical discourses needed for indigenous peoples globally to reclaim our knowledges and experiences through research. The emergence of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander scholars in Australia presents hope and opportunities for our communities to utilise the possibilities that ethical, Indigenous-driven research can have in interrogating complex and ongoing issues created by colonialism. Research that theorises Aboriginal epistemic and ontological research paradigms in Australia is in its infancy. Moreover, discipline-specific theoretical frameworks and methodologies are still emerging. This paper discusses Indigenous Standpoint Theories and Yarning as a research methodology in education research. Using autobiographical reflections from my doctoral research, I present a range of practical implications that arise when the “researched” shifts to the researcher in Western-dominated spaces such as schools. I will critically analyse the question, are Aboriginal researchers able to conduct research that is motivated by our agendas, ideas and aspirations in a discipline that perpetuates imperialism, racism and exclusion?