Journal of Academic Ethics

, Volume 8, Issue 4, pp 233–242 | Cite as

Cultural Missteps and Ethical Considerations with Indigenous Populations: Preliminary Reflections from Northeastern Ontario, Canada

  • Robert J. Schinke
  • Lawrence Enosse
  • Duke Peltier
  • Jack Watson
  • Nancy Lightfoot


Within this submission the authors share their experiences as a blended research team with Aboriginal community and mainstream academic researchers. The team has collaborated since 2004 on several externally funded research projects. Initially, the team engaged in research through mainstream methodologies. In the process, the community co-researchers and participants were silenced through mainstream cultural practices that were unfamiliar and meaningless in Wikwemikong culture. More recently, the team has employed a community conceived de-colonizing methodology, developed from within Wikwemikong Unceded Indian Reserve. Within this submission, the authors will highlight their initial cultural missteps, followed by more recently utilized culturally relevant approaches. It is proposed that what might be ethically sound research with mainstream participants and among mainstream researchers can silence and subvert practices among those from marginalized groups/cultures. Provisional suggestions are offered for researchers interested in co-researching in Aboriginal communities.


De-colonizing methodologies Aboriginal Ethical research 



The authors would like to thank the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada for their generous support of the study as an Aboriginal Program. In addition, this project would not have been possible without the support of Wikwemikong Unceded Indian Reserve.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Robert J. Schinke
    • 1
  • Lawrence Enosse
    • 2
  • Duke Peltier
    • 2
  • Jack Watson
    • 3
  • Nancy Lightfoot
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Human KineticsLaurentian UniversitySudburyCanada
  2. 2.Wikwemikong Unceded Indian Reserve (Number 26)Manitoulin DistrictCanada
  3. 3.West Virginia UniversityMorgantownUSA

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