Oki. Niisto nitanikkoo Tsapinaki nimok’tooto Kainaiawa. Greetings. My name is Gabrielle Lindstrom (nee Weasel Head) and I am from Kainaiwa. Niisto Siksikaitsitapi. I am from the Blackfoot-speaking tribes and a member of the Niitsitapi, Blackfoot Confederacy. I locate my identity within a Blackfoot tribal paradigm as part of a process of pushing back against the colonial forces that have shaped my worldview. The act of self-location, a common protocol in Indigenous research methodologies (Kovach, 2009), illuminates how my chapter is informed and interpreted from a distinct cultural worldview thus establishing my relationship and investment in the ideas that are contained herein.

As a Blackfoot woman and scholar who teaches and researches within the Western academic context, I am concerned with advancing the perspectives of a First Nations paradigm to highlight how many of the philosophies that shape Indigenous ways of knowing hold significant relevance for better understanding how the notion of integrity can buttress societal norms. An Indigenous paradigm is relationally-oriented. As such, the notion of integrity is holistic which means it is infused in all areas of life. As a Blackfoot scholar, I do not differentiate between academic integrity, social integrity or spiritual integrity. From a Euro-centric standpoint, the notion of integrity can be fragmented into a variety of social contexts and may be mobilized in equally fragmented ways. Academic integrity, a concept that is central to this chapter, is typically advanced and understood as a Western construct although it seems academic institutions rarely ascribe culturally defined roots to it. In contrast, Indigenous ways of conceptualising and mobilizing integrity are informed from vast, diverse and enduring knowledge systems that encompass not only how sources of knowledge are acknowledged but also places the notion of integrity as one of the ontological pillars that upholds honesty, transparency and truth-telling within a relationally oriented epistemology. Written from my perspective as a Blackfoot woman and scholar of Indigenous Studies, I invite readers to critically reflect on the ways that academic integrity, as an ethical pillar of the Western academy, relies on institutionalized protocols that privilege a specific methodology of citation and referencing that elevates the written word whilst excluding other ways of knowing. Moreover, discussions around academic integrity and the creation of an institutional culture of integrity within academia do very little in illuminating the power imbalances and hierarchical organization of knowledge that typify universities as sites of ongoing colonization.

The purpose of this chapter is to illuminate an Indigenous relational epistemology that is rooted in accountability in order to offer another way of understanding academic integrity. To this end and grounded in the literature, I first contextualize academic integrity and the problems associated with academic dishonesty through a critical values-based analysis. I then discuss Indigenous perspectives that surround the notion of academic integrity that include concepts such as tribal self-determination, Indigenous educational sovereignty, Indigenous values and knowledge, and briefly, the implications that Indigenous research methodologies hold in enacting Indigenous pedagogies. I also assert that the ways postsecondary institutions translate and mobilize academic integrity equates to complicity in ongoing colonization and disrupts institutional efforts aimed at indigenization and decolonization. Throughout this chapter, I argue that attempts to conceptualize and critically understand academic integrity from an Indigenous perspective require a paradigm shift and the visioning of differing but equally valid approaches. Movement towards a more equitable, critical and comprehensive understanding of how we, as scholars, are being accountable to those voices that inform and shape our own requires the consideration of a trans-systemic approach. Interwoven with critical reflections that emerge from an Indigenous tribal paradigm, I begin with a discussion of my understanding of academic integrity as drawn from the surrounding scholarship.

Conceptualization and Mobilization of Academic Integrity

To understand and appreciate the context within which Indigenous perspectives are advanced here, it is vital to establish how academic integrity is defined, conceptualized and mobilized in institutions of higher education. Bertram Gallant and Drinan (2008) have observed that academic integrity, although constituting broad contexts including financial aid corruption and research fraud, has been more associated with pedagogical concerns with a specific focus on how post-secondary institutions are addressing incidences of student plagiarism and cheating. In their recent annotated bibliography, Eaton et al. (2019) built on the work of others by outlining a set of previously identified fundamental values (International Center for Academic Integrity, 2021) that when taken together, comprise academic integrity as opposed to clear definitions. Earlier, Eaton and Edino (2018) highlighted the complications involved when attempting to arrive at a commonly understood definition of academic integrity. Instead, they pulled from the literature to conceptualize the broadened, related concept of educational integrity whilst issuing a plea to their readership to acknowledge “that complexities of educational integrity cross disciplinary boundaries and defy simplification” (p. 2). For the purposes of this chapter, I argue that to avoid simplification and open a space for Indigenous conceptualizations of academic integrity, this acknowledgement must also include culturally conceptualized notions that attend to the trans-systemic pedagogical contexts of Canadian universities. Moreover, a values-based understanding of academic integrity allows for broadening cultural relevance in ways that include Indigenous values. Yet, there must also be a critical understanding of what we place value upon. For example, in Western higher education, learning and knowledge are often understood within neoliberal contexts of monetary value and students’ desire to not “waste” their money on irrelevant knowledges. By contrast, Indigenous learning and knowledge acquisition are conceptualized and embodied within a holistic (Battiste, 2002; Battiste et al., 2002) and relational epistemology (Bastien, 2016). Traditionally, meaning-making practices that were enacted prior to colonization but certainly ones that hold relevance today (Wilson & Restoule, 2010), reified the notion that all sources of knowledge added value to the human experience and taught people their responsibilities within a “framework of moral and ethical relationships” (Bastien, 2016, p. 15). The notion of integrity permeated Indigenous lifeways and members of society were expected to act with integrity in all facets of life. This is in stark contrast to how integrity is both conceptualized and mobilized in our institutes of higher learning which I expand on below.

To mobilize and strengthen academic integrity institutionally, Bertram Gallant and Drinan (2008) conceptualize a four-stage model that considers distinct academic institutional cultures. Further, by using a pendulum metaphor, they attend to the fluidity of organizational structures within the institutions such as leadership changes and strategic planning priorities. This model is not exclusively concerned with student behaviors. Importantly, Gallant and Drinan (2008) include faculty and administrative behaviors. Robinson and Glanzer’s (2017) study drew on the model of an ethical culture (McCabe et al., 2012) to determine what aspects college students might deem as relevant factors that could possibly foster academic integrity. According to their examination, “The ethical culture can best be understood as a complex interplay among various formal and informal cultural systems that can promote either ethical or unethical behavior” (McCabe et al., 2012, p. 168). Robinson and Glanzer (2017) further identified certain codes used to define either academic honesty or dishonesty that are contained in student handbooks and other policy documents. These documents outline how a student is to behave in the learning milieu and the punishments that will be visited upon them if they transgress these codes. At the individual course level, the institutional codes are outlined as course codes that the instructor is free to create on their own or co-create with students. According to McCabe, et al. (2012), there is a need for building an ethical culture of academic honesty to minimize students’ cheating.

In both studies outlined above (Bertram Gallant & Drinan, 2008; Robinson & Glanzer, 2017) there appears to be an underlying assumption that the institutional and ethical culture are relevant to an Indigenous paradigm. This is problematic given the pattern of how Western education has been complicit in assimilating Indigenous students into Eurocentric culture (Makokis, 2009; Schissel & Wotherspoon, 2003). The notion of an ethical culture must be based on a plurality of cultural systems which holds potential for considering how Indigenous perspectives on academic integrity can be conceptualized and mobilized within institutes of higher education. Within the discourse surrounding academic integrity, there is clearly an appeal to the moral values of students but given that students in Canadian universities are taught from a primarily Western paradigm, it becomes necessary to critically examine the moral values underlying Western society before such an appeal can be acted upon. Hence, exploring the culture of universities as shaped by students, administrators, faculty and staff helps us to better determine how academic dishonesty is expressed and the ramifications for students who engage in behaviors that compromise their integrity as growing scholars. The notion of culture, as it is used by Robinson and Glanzer (2017) and others (McCabe et al., 2012) in the context of academic integrity is rather narrowly defined as “the institutional environment that encourages the development and maintenance of an ethical community” (p. 210). Assumedly, the ethical culture of academia emerges from a Western paradigm that has, at its core, a competitive and individually driven philosophy that runs counter to Indigenous ways of knowing and relational accountability (Cote-Meek, 2014; Smith, 2012). Robinson and Glanzer (2017) further assert that “how a social context shapes moral reasoning, desires, and behaviors” (p. 210) must be taken into account. The current social context of academia utilizes a punitive approach to academic dishonesty encompassed in direct disciplinary actions such as student suspension or expulsion from the institution. These punishments work against intrinsic motivation for moral and responsible behavior which begs the question: how are we rewarded for doing what's right when the policies around academic integrity revolve around punishing students for doing wrong? A promising answer can be found in the notion of an ethical culture, yet Robinson and Glanzer (2017) appear to take a templated, universal approach to understanding academic culture and assume that all members of this culture should conform to a singular value system without interrogating both the nature and power of this value system. Rather than considering ethnicity or cultural positioning, student participants in their study were categorized as per gender and age only—categories which hinder a more nuanced understanding of the cultural elements at play.

In the same vein, Bertram Gallant et al. (2015) argue that rather than the looking at the institutional and ethical culture to determine risk factors involved in academic dishonesty, educational researchers should start with student populations. Specifically, they argue that male international students in high stakes programs like engineering or computer technologies tend to be more at-risk of cheating and/or engaging in academic dishonesty than others. This analysis, while perhaps warranted, tends to diminish the role of academia in students’ academic dishonesty and reduces cheating to individual students—ultimately, the problem becomes the student and not the institutional values that work to foster competitive individualism within a punitive academic culture. Moreover, the authors adopt the view that cheating is intrinsic to student culture and part of psychological mechanisms that are impossible to change (Bertram Gallant et al., 2015). From an Indigenous perspective this is neither helpful nor hopeful since it not only essentializes students as inherently dishonest but assumes that negative qualities are beyond intervention. In an attempt to further analyze the factors involved, the authors surmise that “some cultures privilege the value of loyalty to peers and collaboration to navigate a difficult task” (Bertram Gallant, Binkin & Donohue 2015, p. 220). This assumption is also problematic since it further deflects responsibility from the institution and engages in a process of “othering” diverse ethnicities using culturally polarizing discourse. The authors suggest that it is up to the Western, Euro-centered academic institution to resolve difficulties presented by clashing cultural value systems. Bertram Gallant, Binkin and Donohue’s (2015) solution is not to change the punitive structures of the academy, but instead to offer education focused on socializing at-risk students in conforming to the institution.

Nonetheless, Bertram Gallant, Binkin and Donohue (2015) provide a useful segue to consider students’ standpoints. From a student perspective, fear of failing and feeling neither confident nor competent enough in their academic abilities to pass tests or write essays are all factors that must be considered especially in the context of assessment (Lindstrom et al., 2017). If the only reason a student does not engage in cheating behaviors is to avoid punishment, then this points to a concerning absence of both a deeper investment in their learning as well as intrinsic motivation to learn with integrity. From an Indigenous perspective, the qualities that encompass integrity are instilled in nation members from birth and reinforced throughout their lives via pedagogical strategies that nurture capacities for walking a life of integrity. Fear is not one of the motivating elements in Indigenous approaches to learning. Colonization and assimilation efforts have disrupted these capacities but for many Indigenous peoples, the qualities related to integrity are still passed on through Indigenous teachings. Today, fear culture is certainly a factor amongst all students, including Indigenous students, and one that institutions must consider as they mobilize strategies to strengthen academic integrity and work to quell the increasing number of post-secondary students engaging in academic dishonesty.

Rise in Academic Dishonesty

Robinson and Glanzer (2017) demonstrate that academic dishonesty is on the rise in college students with more than two-thirds reporting they’ve been involved in some form of academic dishonesty. In an earlier article focusing on academic integrity from an institutional standpoint, Bertram Gallant and Drinan (2008) argue that:

Pervasive student academic misconduct (e.g., cheating on examinations, plagiarism, falsification, and fabrication) can challenge the value of the university degree and cast public doubt on the validity of teaching and assessment methods. At the faculty level, unchecked teacher or researcher misconduct (e.g., lecture unpreparedness, results manipulation) can corrupt the integrity of the institution and stimulate public doubt regarding postsecondary education accountability. (Braxton & Bayer, 2004, p. 27)

Implicating students, faculty and the administrative arm of the institution, Bertram Gallant and Drinan (2008) call attention to how academic integrity must not only be nurtured in students, particularly undergraduate students, but also in the broader context of pedagogy, research and administration. As an Indigenous educator teaching Indigenous Studies courses, I face unique challenges in attempting to address academic dishonesty amongst students given that there are few culturally appropriate resources or institutional supports to build learner confidence. Moreover, some of the factors as to why Indigenous students may cheat or plagiarize and the punitive outcomes brought to bear in cases of academic dishonesty are deeply nuanced and perhaps not widely understood by administrators and educators. For example, the role of trauma and colonization goes largely unexamined in the literature on academic integrity. Indeed, there is a dearth of literature that attends to a rigorous exploration of both the prevalence of Indigenous students engaging in academic dishonesty and the nuanced complexities that drive these behaviors. These silent areas in the scholarship prevent educators from gaining deepened insights into whether or not the general rise in academic dishonesty is also present in the Indigenous student population. Lack of evidence-based insights and clear data trails mean that institutional supports geared to strengthening academic integrity from an Indigenous perspective cannot possibly be implemented in ways that will have a positive impact on Indigenous students or be consistent with an Indigenous paradigm. From a philosophical standpoint that is shaped by my cultural positioning as a Blackfoot woman, addressing academic dishonesty within a punitive framework makes little sense because it does not enable me to draw on culturally appropriate models of academic integrity that would help students to feel confident or competent in their academic skills. Instead, I am forced to follow the institutional codes that, I argue, do not necessarily address the reasons why students cheat but focus on punishment for transgressing these codes. Complicating matters further is the fact that, as Bertram Gallant and Drinan (2008) point out, academic dishonesty is not just a problem with students.

Citing several high-profile plagiarism cases, Palermo’s (2020) editorial and Eaton and Edino’s (2018) extensive literature review also highlight how academic dishonesty is not only a problem with university students but within the ranks of both well-established scholars and public servants. Although Palermo (2020) argues that “when we fail to attend to academic detail, including ethical norms, we are wrong and, while not being unlawful, we are wronging someone. Common sense, integrity, and sound executive skills should suggest we acknowledge the work of others” (p. 297), I am also reminded that common sense and integrity do not always guide student or faculty behaviors. Indeed, within academia, this poses a unique problem and one that must be addressed especially if faculty are implicitly expected to model integrity in scholarly pursuits whether that be in ethical research practices or scholarly publishing and writing. Role modeling is a central practice in Indigenous pedagogy and one through which young people learn the social and moral value systems of their First Nation (Battiste, 2002; McLaughlin & Whatman, 2015). In order to ensure that the knowledge and histories of First Nations are transmitted to the next generation, adults must act with integrity lest they risk disrupting not only the fidelity of Indigenous knowledges but also the loss of confidence of their pupils. In parallel to this notion, Bertram Gallant and Drinan (2008) assert that, “Given the multifaceted and integral role played by postsecondary education in Canada and around the world, the integrity of the work performed by its members is critical” (p. 27). Whether we conceptualize integrity from a Western or Indigenous paradigm, congruencies exist between the two worldviews in that compromising integrity has serious and reverberating impacts on knowledge systems. How, then, are we to understand what can drive academic integrity beyond Western-based psycho-social models?

Indigenous Perspectives

Within an Indigenous paradigm, integrity is best conceptualized through an oral system of knowledge and transmitted via Elder teachings. These teachings contain moral and ethical guidelines for living a good life in-relation to self, other living entities and the natural world. Within the context of academic integrity, Indigenous perspectives may be understood through a critical and deepened exploration of the traditional purposes of learning both prior to Western colonial influences and enduring practices that remain as relevant pedagogies. Australian educator Karen O’Brien (2008) states that in academia, “learning involves not understanding the ‘world itself’ but others’ views of the world” (p. 57) which is a world that holds little relevance for what Indigenous communities may value or what they may determine as meaningful knowledge. In other words, Indigenous students must learn about Western interpretations of our world which often lead students to struggle with the content which becomes reflected in poor grades and early school-leaving (Cote-Meek, 2014). These barriers are then seen as deficiencies of Indigenous students rather than inherent problems within the epistemological structures of academia. Learning within a Western context is underlain with notions of dominance and power. To be successful, one must be skilled at dominating highly complex vocabulary and discourses which in turn grants the learner the power to generate discrete knowledge that is often only accessible to others who wield similar power (O’Brien, 2008). Common assessments of student learning include written tests and essays yet these forms limit the myriad of ways that Indigenous students can demonstrate their new knowledge. By contrast, Indigenous learning takes a holistic approach by attending to the social, emotional, spiritual and mental aspects of the student in a culturally appropriate, collective context (McCarty & Lee, 2014). Indigenous learning also includes notions of autonomy, sovereignty and self-determination.

Indigenous Educational Sovereignty

McCarty and Lee (2014) advance the notion of educational sovereignty as part of both a culturally sustaining/revitalizing pedagogy (CSRP) and as a right of Native American students. CSRP attends to power imbalances by illuminating how the colonial legacy of schooling (Schissel & Wotherspoon, 2003) has led to asymmetrical power dynamics. For the purposes of this chapter, McCarty and Lee’s (2014) model of CSRP enables us to see how power functions in various educational relationships including those between education and student and institution and student. However, educational sovereignty in the context of academic integrity does not operate as an external factor outside of Western state-run education systems. As McCarty and Lee (2014) assert, it must overlap with Western pedagogies and curriculum. A commitment to mobilizing educational sovereignty requires constant negotiation between Western and Indigenous thought systems as well as a critical understanding of the role of colonization within relationships. Moreover, reclaiming and revitalizing what has been lost due to colonization is another important component of CSRP (McCarty & Lee, 2014).

Institutional dialogues around post-secondary education institutes’ accountability to historical antecedents and contemporary patterns of ongoing colonization within higher education set the stage for a praxis-based model that potentiates students’ capacity to develop a deeper, intrinsic sense of efficacy in their academic abilities. In the context of academic integrity, building an academic integrity framework that acknowledges and incorporates Indigenous educational sovereignty can be a starting point for ensuring that Indigenous perspectives surrounding academic integrity are being included. Educational sovereignty as a component of self-determination has long been the vision of Indigenous Elders. Indeed, Elders have always supported Western education and the opportunities it brings to Indigenous youth but not at the expense of cultural sustainability. Instead, the notion of accountability underpins educational sovereignty which in turn can offer an alternative vision of academic integrity. However, as McCarty and Lee (2014) remind their readers, accountability is also “interlaced with ongoing legacies of colonization, ethnocide and linguicide” (p. 103). Understanding the conceptual role of academic integrity as being complicit in the ongoing cognitive imperialism (Battiste, 2002) of Indigenous students is a vital component of the decolonial process of imagining (Laenui, 2000) another way towards a model of academic integrity that is grounded in Indigenous values of accountability and truth-telling.

Academic Integrity and Ongoing Colonization

In her discussion outlining the importance of cultural studies to foster social justice oriented and ethically accountable students, Rossiter (2012) advances the notion of response-ability as a conceptual lens through which pedagogical approaches can be planned and enacted. Further arguing that response-ability transcends an individual’s moral agency, Rossiter (2012) suggests that it encompasses a collective response to political and social consequences of colonial violence both in the historical and contemporary sense. This is important because it offers a useful bridge to reflect on the ways that academic integrity, as an ethical pillar of the Western academy, relies on institutionalized protocols that privilege a specific methodology of citation and referencing that elevates the written word whilst excluding Indigenous methodologies that are embedded within an ethic of truth-telling, orality and relational accountability.

While others (Bertram Gallant & Drinan, 2008; McCabe et al., 2012; Robinson & Glanzer, 2017) have argued for approaching issues related to academic integrity from a distinct institutional cultural ethos, Littlebear (2000) reminds us that “Culture comprises a society’s philosophy about the nature of reality, the values that flow from this philosophy, and the social customs that embody these values” (n. p.). This reminder is significant because it highlights a need for administrators and educators within higher education to begin to critically reflect on the institutional culture as one that flows from a distinct Euro-centered philosophy out of which post-secondary institutional values and norms become positioned. Indeed, it is Euro-centric philosophy that drove colonization eventually pushing Indigenous ways of knowing to the very margins of society (Battiste, 2002; Cote-Meek, 2014; Daschuk, 2013; Ermine, 2007). The marginalized status of Indigenous knowledges is not only reflected in the debates surrounding their validity and utility when compared with Western empirical knowledge but also in the citation methodologies that are central to any model of academic integrity. Currently, as some university websites concede, academic referencing guides do not have a standardized method for citing Indigenous knowledges. Because Indigenous knowledges are “held in a variety of formats: on the page, through oral histories, in physical items, and on the land” (Bak, Bradford, Loyer & Walker, 2017, p. 13), they challenge conventional citation styles. While some universities such as Ryerson University and the University of Toronto in Toronto, Ontario, Canada (see; offer students citation options to support Indigenous students’ academic success and assist all students in referencing traditional Indigenous knowledge sourced through Elder interviews, other institutions do not. Indeed, if students are wanting to reference Indigenous knowledges that are sourced from drum songs or land-based teachings, the current citation styles are insufficient for allowing students to reference them in accordance with academic guidelines. The inability to validate and reference Indigenous knowledges within the academic institution contributes to ongoing colonization in that it forces Indigenous faculty and students to limit sources of knowledge to those that can be most easily referenced as per current citation methodologies. In effect, Indigenous peoples and knowledges are being continuously assimilated into the Western system which has been a primary goal of colonization.

To counter ongoing colonization, our understandings of academic integrity must be broadened in order to make space for strategizing other ways of enacting models of academic integrity that are consistent with Indigenous ways of knowing. Movement towards institutional action requires a paradigm shift. To achieve this, we must ask different questions, pose alternate solutions, advance critical arguments that transform institutional priorities and incorporate Indigenous pedagogies in ways that meet all learners where they at. If this is to happen, then non-Indigenous faculty and university administrators must step into the humbling role of a learner and seek to understand Indigenous value-systems within a participatory and relational pedagogy.

Indigenous Core-Values and Teachings

As an educator teaching Indigenous Studies, connecting Indigenous values to students lives outside of the classroom has been a critical component of my pedagogy in emphasizing the relevancy of an Indigenous paradigm. Other Indigenous educators and scholars such McCarty and Lee (2014), in exploring Indigenous-led schools, identified how Indigenous nations’ distinct core-values formed the schools’ mission which guided the attitudes and behaviors of both students and teachers. Moreover, the values were incorporated into classroom pedagogies and curriculum in ways that fostered the students’ sense of cultural identity whilst also nurturing a collective sense of accountability to Indigenous values. Although establishing practices around values can be an effective way of connecting Indigenous ways of knowing to academic integrity, McCarty and Lee (2014) caution that there is a risk of homogenizing Indigenous values as being the same across all Indigenous nations. There must be vigilance on the part of educators and administrators to avoid essentializing Indigenous values. This is a challenge given the diversity of Indigenous nations yet it is one that need not be thought of as impossible to negotiate. Rather, exploring and understanding this diversity should be embraced since it allows those of us working in higher education to decolonize how we think about academic integrity.

As a Blackfoot educator, I often draw on the work of other Blackfoot scholars such as Leroy Littlebear (2000) and Betty Bastien (2016) not only because their teachings are familiar to me, but they are also regionally specific. Indigenous knowledge is local knowledge and emerges from Indigenous peoples’ reciprocal and participatory relationship with the lands (Simpson, 2017). By conceptualizing Indigenous knowledges within a local context, I am able to advance Indigenous values in the post-secondary classroom as a model for nurturing accountability and integrity in all areas on life.

In considering the value of honesty and how it is connected to integrity, Littlebear (2000) asserts, “For the purposes of social control, there is a strong expectation that everyone will share his or her truth (actually, “truthing” is a better concept) because people depend on each other’s honesty” (n.p.) in order to maintain shared ontological understandings of a collective reality and the place of human beings within a web of relational alliances. As participatory members of society, we depend on each other to be truthful and honest in all that we do. For the Blackfoot and other Indigenous nations, to do otherwise would mean creating a society based on false understandings. Ceremonies such as the Smudge and Pipe ceremonies entrenched truth-telling as part of the sacred ways (Treaty 7 Elders, & Carter, 1995). Through both sacred and social customs, “truthing” (Littlebear, 2000) became a way of life for Indigenous peoples and is one that is carried forward today through Indigenous pedagogies and the teachings of the Elders (Bastien, 2016). Truthing fosters a sense of accountability to others which in turn nurtures a web of interdependencies within which human-beings become responsible for maintaining balance and harmony in all of their relations (Deloria et al., 1999; Littlebear, 2000). The value of humility ensures that human-beings know their place within these interdependent relational alliances. As Cree scholar Leona Makokis (2009) points out, no other living being is dependent on human beings for their survival. Rather, without the waters, living earth and the plant people and animal people, human-beings would perish. As a universal truth, our dependency requires we maintain balance and walk with integrity (Makokis, 2009).

The values of truth and humility demonstrate an understanding of Indigenous knowledges and pedagogy as existing within a distinct model of integrity that is buttressed by ancient ways of knowing that remain valid and relevant in today’s world. Utilizing Indigenous research methodologies to further develop and cultivate Indigenous pedagogies offers a promising pathway for translating Indigenous perspectives on academic integrity into the university classroom and institutional culture.

Indigenous Research Methodologies, Pedagogies and Curriculum

Both Indigenous and Western scholars understand the importance of connecting research to classroom pedagogy (Louie et al., 2017; Macdonald et al., 2016; Maclaughlin & Whatman, 2015). Further, research has shown how restructuring assessments may help to deter cheating (Lindstrom et al., 2017). Robinson and Glanzer (2017) point to the role of the teacher and identify that “Teachers had one of the largest effects on students in our participants’ perception of academic integrity” (p. 217). From an Indigenous perspective, Marchant’s research (2009) demonstrates that teachers, regardless of whether they are Indigenous themselves, act as role models for Indigenous students. Easton et al. (2019) have shown how non-Indigenous faculty members may be consciously or unconsciously complicit in ongoing colonization through their curriculum choices which impact Indigenous students experiences in the classroom and hinder the advancement of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada’s (2015) recommendations for addressing colonial violence in the classrooms of higher education.

Although the examples offered above have different foci, they highlight how research can help to illuminate shared priorities with respect to both direct and peripheral issues surrounding academic integrity in ways that integrate Western and Indigenous perspectives. Further, I argue here that there should be a greater emphasis on building institutional capacity for the incorporation of Indigenous research methodologies in order to explore and advance Indigenous pedagogies and curriculum designs. Given that Indigenous research flows from a relational epistemology (Drawson et al., 2017; Kurtz, 2013; Suárez-Krabbe, 2011; Wilson, 2008), theoretical approaches and philosophical positioning within Western methodologies that intersect with Indigenous research paradigms, such as autoethnographies for example (McIvor, 2010; Whitinui, 2014) potentiate pathways on which Indigenous and non-Indigenous researchers can explore the development of innovative and culturally relevant models of academic integrity.


The main argument central to this chapter advances the notion that a paradigm shift is required in order to critically and meaningfully understand and appreciate how Indigenous perspectives can be positioned within current constructions of academic integrity. I offered an analysis of both academic integrity and academy dishonesty in contrast with Indigenous truth-telling, relationality and accountability. I have clearly only skimmed the surfaces of Indigenous research methodologies and pedagogies. However, this chapter represents a starting point for dialogue around how Indigenous values systems can inform models of academic integrity in ways that move beyond punitive frameworks of enforcement. Focusing on how we, as educators, can reward students for their current knowledge and gifts can be a first step in improving learner motivation and confidence. The issues I have raised here not only point to a need for further dialogue around the potential for naturalizing the notion of accountability to others’ voices but also how citation methodologies need to provide academic validation to Indigenous knowledges so students can reference these sources in accordance with academic procedures. The path ahead offers institutions an opportunity to discover how Indigenous perspectives on integrity can add a rich contribution to current understandings of academic integrity in ways that will empower students and build intercultural capacities within our institutes of higher education.