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Ethics and Research with Indigenous Peoples

  • Noreen D. Willows
Reference work entry

Abstract

Many Indigenous peoples have poorer health compared with the settler populations that colonized their territories. States and academic institutions have an obligation to support ethical research with Indigenous peoples that results in the elimination of health disparities. Decolonizing research is required that serves to restore health in conformity with enduring Indigenous values that affirm life. Indigenous peoples may have concerns that health research under the control of outsiders will come to conclusions about Indigenous health disparities that stereotype, pathologize, and/or marginalize Indigenous peoples; be instrumental in rationalizing colonialist perceptions of Indigenous incapacity and the need for paternalistic control of Indigenous interests, or deduce that Indigenous peoples are sick and incapable of self-care. Health research that respects Indigenous self-determination, and is safe, ethical, and useful for participants, requires increased capacity among Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples alike. Indigenous peoples have the right to control research that generates knowledge affecting their well-being. Community members need workshops and training sessions that will inform them how to negotiate with health researchers, let them know their rights as research participants, and build their skills to conduct their own research. Non-Indigenous researchers require appropriate ethical guidelines to follow and training opportunities that offer guidance on Indigenous ways of knowing, the social determinants of health, strength-based research approaches, community-based participatory research, and how to engage in culturally appropriate ways with Indigenous peoples. Researchers wanting to pursue a specialization in Indigenous health research need support from academic leadership and funding agencies to be successful in their endeavor.

Keywords

Community-based participatory research Decolonizing research Health disparities Health inequities Indigenous peoples Research ethics 

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of Agricultural, Life and Environmental SciencesUniversity of AlbertaEdmontonCanada

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