Mi’kmaw Ethics Watch

At Chapel Island on July 25, 1999, the Sante’ Mawio’mi (Grand Council) established a committee to study and develop principles and protocols that will protect the integrity and cultural knowledge of the Mi’kmaw people. The committee examined the issues involved in research among Indigenous peoples, and developed a set of standards so that Mi’kmaw people are informed of research – its benefits and costs, be treated fairly and ethically in their participation in any research and have an opportunity to benefit and gain from any research conducted among them.

The principles and protocols the emerged from this research continue to guide Mi’kmaw Ethics Watch today. They guarantee only the highest standards of research. Interpretation and conclusions drawn from the research will be subject to approval to ensure accuracy and cultural sensitivity. The principles and protocols are also intended to guide research and studies in a manner that will guarantee that the right of ownership rests with the various Mi’kmaw communities.

Please review the full MEW Principles and Protocols here.

Research Exemptions

All research involving collective Mi’kmaw knowledge, culture, arts, spirituality, or traditions, or having the potential to impact treaty or Aboriginal rights must be reviewed by Mi’kmaw Ethics Watch.

There are four categories of research that fall outside the purview of MEW and therefore are exempt from review: 1) Undergraduate Research, 2) Research in Preschool-12 Contexts, 3) Books and Manuscripts, and 4) Secondary Data. Please review the full list of exemption criteria.

If your research falls into the criteria for exemption, please complete the Research Exemption Form.

Submission Guidelines

The Mi’kmaw Ethics Watch Review Committee meets quarterly to review applications. Applications must be submitted electronically to mew@cbu.ca before the submission deadline to be considered for review. Applications submitted after a given deadline will be reviewed in the next quarter.

Deadlines are as follows:

Submission Deadline MEW Response
December 1 Late January
March 1 Late April
June 1 Late July – Mid-August *
September 1 Late October

*Vacations and other reviewer obligations in the summer months may cause delays

Complete applications received before the submission deadline will be given priority in the review process.

These deadlines are for new submissions only. Amendments and continuing reviews may resubmit at any time; however, depending on the level of revisions required may need to be reviewed at the next scheduled meeting of the committee.

Research involving human subjects must also receive REB approval from the researcher’s home institution. Some Mi’kmaq communities also have their own REB or ethics processes established; please consult directly with communities for this information.

Submission Checklist

Please ensure all required documentation is included with the application.

  • Complete Application Form (PDF) (Please use this form or your application will not be reviewed)
  • Informed Consent form(s)
  • Questionnaires, interview guides, recruitment tools (emails, posters, etc.)
  • Evidence of community consultation
  • Institutional REB approval, if available.

Please send a complete application and all required documentation to mew@cbu.ca.

MEW will confirm receipt of the application and reply in 1-2 weeks if there are any problems with your application (i.e., missing required documentation).

Please send electronic applications using the MEW application form or the application will not be reviewed; contact us if you do NOT receive acknowledgment of your application.


Cape Breton University is Mi’kmaw Ethics Watch’s administrative home; however, it exists autonomous from this institution. Please do not contact CBU’s REB with questions related to the MEW process. For information pertaining to Mi’kmaw Ethics Watch process or application please contact mew@cbu.ca.

Resources: