Conducting Indigenous research in Western knowledge spaces: aligning theory and methodology

Year: 2016

Author: Singh, Myra, Major, Jae

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

Abstract:
Walking in-between two worlds as an Indigenous researcher, navigating Western epistemologies/methodologies and Indigenous epistemologies/methodologies can have its challenges and sometimes tensions. Indigenous methodologies have been increasingly taken up by both Indigenous and non-Indigenous researchers. Indigenous methodologies seek to ensure that research is culturally safe and culturally respectful through recognition of Indigenous world views, respect, and accountability. It is no longer research on or about Indigenous people, rather it is becoming research for and with Indigenous people.In this presentation, I reflect on my experiences as an Indigenous researcher, studying the experiences of Indigenous students in higher education, and working within an overarching Western theoretical framework of poststructuralism while using Indigenous methodologies, including the data gathering strategy of Yarning. I discuss the contradictions, tensions and points of connection that emerged when working across epistemological and theoretical boundaries in the research design process. I describe the ways in which an Indigenous research paradigm was interwoven with poststructuralism. The presentation draws on the work of other Indigenous researchers such as Martin and Mirraboopa (2003, p. 205) who talk about using the strength of Aboriginal heritage but not ‘resisting or opposing western research frameworks and ideologies’. Indigenous epistemologies/methodologies and Western epistemologies/methodologies do not have to be used to the exclusion of the other, they can be used effectively to complement and support each other. This presentation contributes to understandings about the tensions and contradictions that Indigenous researchers face in working with and between epistemological and cultural worlds. It demonstrates that Indigenous epistemologies/methodologies and Western epistemologies/methodologies do not have to be used to the exclusion of the other, they can be used effectively to complement and support each other and enrich research for and with Indigenous people.Martin, K., & Mirraboopa, B. (2003). Ways of knowing, being and doing: A theoretical framework and methods for indigenous and indigenist re‐search. Journal of Australian Studies, 27(76), 203-214.

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