Building Research Capacity and Facilitating Reconciliation Through Indigenous Ethics Processes

Cape Breton University and Unama’ki College have developed an ethics watch for Indigenous research, ensuring that further transparency is provided to Indigenous communities on how research is conducted and what happens to the data that has been collected.

Stephen Augustine, Association Vice President, Indigenous Affairs & Unama’ki College and co-applicant Janice Tulk, Senior Researcher, Prospect & Development, have been awarded a Tri-Agency Indigenous Research Capacity and Reconciliation Connection Grant of $48,890 for their work Building Research Capacity and Facilitating Reconciliation Through Indigenous Ethics Processes which will allow for continued development in the field.

In collaboration with the Atlantic Aboriginal Economic Development Integrated Research Program, Unama’ki College hosted an interdisciplinary symposium on January 24-25, 2019, with a focus on Indigenous ethics processes and capacity development.

Throughout the symposium, wise practices pertaining to Indigenous research ethics and protocols were shared in an effort to exchange ways of developing research ethics capacity. Urgent issues related to Indigenous research, such as jurisdiction and the movement toward open access and open data for government-funded research were also discussed.

Talking circles engaged Mi’kmaw, Maliseet, Innu, Passamaquoddy and Inuit understandings of ethical research, and Elders were invited to participate and provide their recommendations for the ethics review processes and research at Atlantic Universities.

“The fact that we are able to call upon a number of Indigenous scholars to review the research proposals is wonderful,” says Augustine.

The symposium will help institutional partners grow their understanding of methodologies and issues pertinent to Indigenous communities, and advocate for policy reviews reflecting the new knowledge acquired.

“CBU has more than 40 years of proven partnerships in consultation with Indigenous communities and experience in providing specialized education and services for Indigenous students,” says Augustine. “This symposium will enable us to review our own ethics standards and share them with other researchers.”

Following the symposium, a paper on Indigenous ethics processes and capacity development is being prepared and will be presented at a national dialogue event in Ottawa.