Research Capacity

Indigenous Cultural Competency in Indigenous Research Capacity: Guiding Principles

National Stocktake



The Stocktake survey contained four questions related to Indigenous research and research capacity building:

  1. Is there the presence of a unit devoted to Indigenous research?
  2. Are Indigenous issues identified as key research themes within the university?
  3. Do processes exist to encourage research training by promising Indigenous students and staff?
  4. Are mechanisms in place to ensure that research in Indigenous subjects is culturally safe and appropriate?

The Stocktake revealed that, in general, Indigenous research continues to be undertaken by individual academics in relative isolation. However, a total of six institutions do have a research unit devoted to Indigenous research. In particular, Charles Darwin University has two stand-alone research units dedicated to Indigenous research: the SAIKS and Australian Centre for Indigenous Knowledge and Education Indigenous. Indigenous issues are also a key research theme within all of the Charles Darwin University’s areas of research focus, including Natural and Cultural Resource Management, Human Health and Well-being, Teaching, Learning and Living and Community, Development and Identity. Similarly, Edith Cowan University has two Indigenous research units: the Centre for Australian Indigenous Knowledge, and Indigenous Health, while the Yunggorendi First Nations Centre for Higher Education and Research operates as the designated research centre at Flinders University where Indigenous issues are a key theme for research centres across the institution. The David Unaipon College of Indigenous Education and Research operates as the designated research centre at University of South Australia, with Indigenous issues a key theme for Schools within the Divisions of Health Sciences Education, Arts and Social Sciences, Business and the Division of Information Technology, Engineering and the Environment. Monash and Newcastle have established research units housed within the Indigenous Centre/College with the majority of Indigenous related research being led and undertaken by academics within the Indigenous centre. The University of New England convenes a regular researcher’s forum on Indigenous issues and five institutions have Indigenous Professorial or Portfolio Leader positions to lead Indigenous research at their respective universities (Appendix 6a).

A total of five of the sixteen institutions who do not have a dedicated Indigenous research unit devolve responsibility for Indigenous research to Faculties and other established Research Centres in areas such as Health and/or Education. Indigenous issues are a key research theme within Faculties at a total of thirteen institutions, including Flinders, University of South Australia, Charles Darwin and James Cook University where Indigenous issues are embedded as a key research theme for all Centres and Faculties of the university (Appendix 6b).

The responses to the Stocktake indicate that a total of eighteen Australian universities have processes in place to encourage research training by promising Indigenous students and staff while six Universities did not distinguish any support outside usual procedure for all staff and students. Charles Darwin University has a number of strategies in place, including funded positions for early career Indigenous researchers. The University of Melbourne provides a number of scholarships for Indigenous early career researchers, a researcher’s summer school and has introduced a Graduate Certificate in Indigenous Research Training and Practices program to support capacity building. Monash, Sydney, University of the Sunshine Coast, and Murdoch universities provide PhD scholarships to promising Indigenous staff and students, while the University of South Australia, Charles Darwin and RMIT provide Indigenous staff with additional professional development, other funding and/or postgraduate fellowships. A number of institutions have formal and/or informal mentoring processes in place, including Griffith University who has an established Indigenous Research Network and Flinders University and University of South Australia who conduct regular seminars and have an established email network and website to support its Indigenous research students (Appendix 6c).

All universities in Australia have a Human Research Ethics Committee to ensure the appropriateness and safety of research conducted by staff and students of the institution congruent with the NHMRC guidelines. A total of twenty-one Australian Universities however, have some form of additional mechanism in place to ensure that research in Indigenous subjects is culturally safe and employs culturally appropriate methodologies and processes. Fourteen institutions have senior Indigenous representation on the university’s Human Research Ethics Committee.  At Flinders University all Indigenous related research requiring ethical approval are submitted to the Director of the Yunggorendi First Nations Centre for Higher Education and Research, while the Universities of New England and South Australia and have Indigenous Ethics Panels to which all Ethics Applications involving Indigenous research are referred for comment and approval. In addition, the University of Tasmania has specific Indigenous Research Protocols formally in place and Charles Sturt University is in the process of developing a whole-of-institution Indigenous Research Strategy (Appendix 6d).

Current exemplars of good practice

As evidenced above, there are a number of sound initiatives, processes and procedures being implemented across the sector in relation to Indigenous research and capacity building. The following examples demonstrate many elements of exemplar practice.

Inclusion of a unit devoted to Indigenous research

Example 1. Charles Darwin University has two stand-alone research units dedicated to Indigenous research.

Example 2. The Yunggorendi First Nations Centre for Higher Education and Research operates as the designated research centre at Flinders University.

Example 3. The David Unaipon College of Indigenous Education and Research operates as the designated research centre at University of South Australia. The David Unaipon College of Indigenous Education and Research has a Research Portfolio area devoted to Indigenous Research led by a senior Indigenous academic and researcher who holds the position of Portfolio Leader Research and Research Education.

Example 4. Edith Cowan University The University has two research units which are located in Kurongkurl Katitjin: Centre for Australian Indigenous Knowledges and the Indigenous Health InfoNet.

Inclusion of Indigenous issues as key research themes within the university

Example1. At Charles Darwin University Indigenous issues are a key research theme within all areas of research focus, including Natural and Cultural Resource Management, Human Health and Well-being, Teaching, Learning and Living and Community, Development and Identity. This approach allows for the development of a whole-of-institution engagement in, and responsibility for, Indigenous research which has the potential to increase cross-faculty/discipline collaborations and provide opportunities to identify and capacity build early career Indigenous researchers.

Example 2. Several Research Centres at Flinders University undertake Indigenous research, including the Centre for Remote Health, Northern Territory Clinical School and Cooperative Research Centre for Aboriginal Health. In addition, Flinders Indigenous researchers are aligned to Areas of Strategic Research Investment (ASRI).  The University provides core funding support for ASRIs in a number of areas directly relevant to Indigenous peoples including:

  • Cancer Prevention
  • Cultural Heritage
  • Educational Futures
  • Eye and Vision Health
  • Psychology
  • Water and Environmental Sustainability
  • Health, Equity and Society.

Example 3. Indigenous issues are embedded as a key research theme for all Centres and Divisions of the University of South Australia.. In particular, Indigenous research features strongly in the Division of Health Sciences; the Division of Education, Arts and Social Sciences (particularly in the Schools of Social Work & Psychology; Education; Communication and developing in the School of Art, Architecture and Design); the Division of Business and the Division of Information Technology, Engineering and the Environment).

Example 4. University of Melbourne the recent formation of MIIP will facilitate University-wide coordination. A priority area for MIIP is to develop and implement a strategic quality research agenda to Undertake quality research whilst promoting research collaboration and quality Research Higher Degree training

Example 5. The University of New South Wales has several centres within Faculties that undertake Indigenous research, including the Nura Gili Indigenous Programs, Indigenous Policy and Dialogue Research Unit, Social Policy Research Centre, Indigenous Law Centre, Muru Marri Indigenous Health Unit and the Rural Health Unit.

Example 6. The Kulbardi Centre of Murdoch University has key research partnerships with other research areas of the institution including the Centre for Social and Community Research (CSCR) & Murdoch Link.  Kulbardi Productions has external Indigenous research project partnerships with organizations including the South West Aboriginal Land & Sea Council (SWALSC), Avon Catchment Council, City of Melville, Shire of Gingin, Perth International Arts Festival (PIAF), ScreenWest, Mandjah Boodjah Corporation, Waugal Aboriginal Corporation, and the Australian Research Council (ARC).

Inclusion of processes to encourage research training by promising Indigenous students and staff

Example 1. The University of South Australia provides Indigenous staff with additional professional development and other funding to capacity build early career researchers, conducts regular research seminars for staff and students, and has an established email network and website to support its Indigenous research students.

The University actively encourages research training by promising Indigenous students and staff. New Indigenous staff are allocated 20% of their salary over a period of three years to engage in development activities. This policy has enabled promising Indigenous staff the opportunity to undertake training, attend conferences, and obtain assistance with marking and tutoring in order to complete PhD qualifications and assist research related activities. At UniSA, the majority of Indigenous staff are located within the David Unaipon College providing an environment conducive to workload adjustments and mentoring of less experienced academics and early career researchers by more experienced staff with an established track record.

With the appointment of a new Portfolio Leader Research and Research Education in 2008, the College reviewed its research targets and directions in order to position staff to be positive and active contributors to the ERA. With this in mind Indigenous academics have engaged in individual research planning discussions with the Portfolio Leader and are in the process of developing Research Development Plans which will be signed off by the DUCIER Dean and Head of School, becoming part of the Performance Management process.

David Unaipon College research seminars have grown to become a popular forum for Indigenous academics to share their research ideas. Opportunities have been provided for less experienced researchers to develop their research methodology and academic writing skills in addition to learning from the experience of more experienced researchers.

In 2009, an Indigenous Visiting Scholars Program was also developed and funded by the Vice Chancellors Strategic Fund within the David Unaipon College with seven Indigenous Visiting Scholars visiting from Jamaica, North America, India, Hawaii and more. This was in addition to Memorandums of Agreement being developed with the Universities of South Pacific and Alaska to further create a global community of Indigenous researchers and scholars furthering the Indigenous Knowledges movement. In 2010, an Indigenous Studentship program will be developed to encourage promising visiting students to UniSA and in return provide UniSA high achieving Indigenous students the opportunity to visit international Universities.

Similarly, the David Unaipon College is committed to developing a high achiever strategy which has been included in the 2010 Strategic Plan which includes acceleration through undergraduate courses by high achieving students..

Other measures include:

  • Supporting promising Indigenous students to attend conferences and leadership programs.
      
  • Plans to engage promising Indigenous students in research projects in order to create a vibrant, stimulating research culture for Indigenous students.
      
  • Encouraging interested Indigenous students to attend seminars.
      
  • Early identifying of promising Indigenous students by the Indigenous Student Services area and ensuring these students access all possible resources and services available to them.

Example 2. Charles Darwin has a number of strategies in place, including funded positions for early career Indigenous researchers, the provision of additional monies for professional development Indigenous staff, scholarships and Postgraduate fellowships. CDU employs Indigenous Academic Support Lecturers and provides sponsored Postgraduate Fellowships (funded ¼ sponsor; ¼ CDU Foundation; ¼ CDU Research Panel; ¼ CDU Faculty/School) and top-ups of $5K pa to standard APA and UPRS scholarship rates to successful indigenous applicants. Special consideration given to research scholarship applicants from equity groups (including indigenous) i.e. provision for ranking to be increased on equity grounds and financial contribution to Indigenous students’ guide to postgraduate scholarships in Australia and overseas.

Example 3. Griffith University has established an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Research Network Coordinator to provide postgraduate research and career support to all Indigenous scholars at the University. The Network has a community-based research focus, including in community led historical and cultural research. This includes advocating Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander aspirations for research higher degrees, facilitating pathways for academic career progression, and mentoring emerging researcher-academics. The Network aims to develop a career pathway from undergraduate, postgraduate to academic employment. Undergraduate students arementored by Indigenous academics to support their aspirations and provide opportunities for the undergraduate student to participate on research projects. The mentoring program extends to early-career academics to provide support with learning and teaching (e.g. Indigenising curriculum) and research (e.g. writing internal and external grants, publications etc).

Example 4. The University of New England has established a Forum for Researchers in Indigenous Issues, Chaired by the Pro Vice-Chancellor (Research). Research Services provide assistance to Indigenous students and staff of the university, including offering Academic Fellowships, Adjunct Appointments and support and mentorship of Indigenous academics to take advantage of external research funding opportunities.

Example 5. The University of Melbourne provides a Summer School for Indigenous Postgraduate students and has recently had approved by the Academic Senate a Professional Certificate/Graduate Certificate in Indigenous Research Training and Practices (GCIRTP) for introduction in 2010. The University of Melbourne also offers a number of designated scholarships including University of Melbourne Scholarships, The Centre for Indigenous Education Scholarship, Postgraduate Students in Indigenous Studies Association Scholarship, The Ormond College Postgraduate Scholarship.

Example 6. The University of New South Wales supports the capacity building of Indigenous student and staff  research skills through programs such as the Postgraduate Induction Program (PIP) and Early Career Research (ECR), as well as informal and formal mentoring relationships.

Example 7. The University of Western Sydney’s Centre for Educational Research builds the research capability of Indigenous students  and staff by providing Higher Research Degree research training that results in timely completion of first rate theses. The university ensures Indigenous HRD students are housed as a critical mass within the university’s Research Centres of Excellence to provide a culturally appropriate peer support network. Indigenous research students have access to an Indigenous Postdoctoral Researcher for assistance and support, including the development of the knowledge and skills to apply for competitive ARC Indigenous Researchers Discovery grants. The university is also active in creating career pathways for promising Indigenous graduates by providing mentorship from Professorial staff to Indigenous Postdocs and Research Fellows to create academic career pathways.

Example 8. Indigenous research students and staff of James Cook University are encouraged to attend the Research Protocols workshops and informally staff/students are mentored by others and encouraged to work with others on successful grants. The School of Indigenous Australian Studies (SIAS) has for many years had an established an Indigenous Post-Graduate Student Program that was recently recognized by ALTC in their Program Awards for its significant contributions and success (refer http://cms.jcu.edu.au/news/JCUPRD_053378).  In health, a successfully funded 5-year grant from the NHMRC has supported the establishment of a project titled the “Building Indigenous Research Capacity” Project. The project is currently support 15 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander scholars into research training programs, with 1/3 of them currently enrolled in PhD programs, whilst the remaining scholars have established career development plans to achieve the same.

Example 9. Flinders University provides scholarships for postgraduate research and coursework students, holds regular research and postgraduate seminars and has an established website and email network to support its Indigenous research students.

Example 10. RMIT provides postgraduate sponsorships and scholarships to encourage the growth of Indigenous researchers. The university has established the Koori Cohort of Indigenous Researchers Group(currently 19 Indigenous RHD students) to provide support and mentorship of Indigenous research students.

Inclusion of mechanisms to ensure that research in Indigenous subjects is culturally safe and appropriate

Example 1. The University of New England has an ethics panel devoted to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander research. The Panel on Ethical Research Involving Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islanders (PERATSI) is a sub-committee of the Human Research Ethics Committee (HREC). The primary focus of the PERATSI is to provide advice to the HREC on those aspects of research proposals involving Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander people or communities Chaired by the Director Oorala Centre.

Example 2. All Indigenous related research requiring ethical approval at Flinders University is submitted to the Director of the Yunggorendi First Nations Centre for Higher Education and Research for comment and approval to ensure that research in Indigenous subjects is culturally safe and employs culturally appropriate methodologies and processes.

Example 3. At the University of South Australia all Ethics Applications involving Indigenous research at the institution are referred to the David Unaipon College of Indigenous Education and Research for comment and approval to ensure that research in Indigenous subjects is culturally safe and employs culturally appropriate methodologies and processes.

Example 4. Research at Charles Sturt University is governed by a University Research Code of Conduct and the Outside Professional Activities Policy as well as the Intellectual Property Policy. All of these policies and processes cover research management and administration, including in Indigenous contexts. All research involving human participants must also be approved by the Human Research Ethics Committee (HREC). The HREC has senior Indigenous representation to ensure accountability and the employ of culturally safe and appropriate methodologies. In keeping with Recommendation 28 of the IES, CSU is establishing an Indigenous Research Expert Panel (IREP) as a sub-committee of the HREC, as well as developing an Indigenous Research Strategy as the guiding policies, protocols and procedures framework for Indigenous research at CSU.

Example 5. At Griffith University the Manager, Research Ethics in the Office for Research refers researchers to the national standards contained in the following documents:

  • Values and Ethics - Guidelines for Ethical Conduct in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Research (National Health and Medical Research Council).
      
  • Keeping research on track: a guide for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples about health research ethics (National Health and Medical Research Council).
      
  • Strengthening Indigenous research culture (2007 IHEAC Research Conference).

See: http://www.griffith.edu.au/about-griffith/aboriginal-torres-strait-islander-first-peoples/research/research-ethics

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International Stocktake

The national Stocktake of Indigenous Cultural Competency in Australian Universities survey contained four questions related to Indigenous research and research capacity building that informed the focus of the web-based search of international higher education institutions. The four questions are:

  1. Is there the presence of a unit devoted to Indigenous research?
  2. Are Indigenous issues identified as key research themes within the university?
  3. Do processes exist to encourage research training by promising Indigenous students and staff?
  4. Are mechanisms in place to ensure that research in Indigenous subjects is culturally safe and appropriate?

Summary of Findings

The web-based search of indigenous cultural competency activities in universities in Canada, New Zealand, the United States and Hawai’I revealed many examplars of culturally sound research principles, ethical guidelines, processes and protocols related to research activities and engagement with indigenous and First Nations peoples. Indigenous Treaty rights as acknowledged in Canada, the United States and New Zealand provide the platform for indigenous self-determination over research on or about indigenous communities and issues, with jurisdictions in Canada and the US requiring tribal approval for all research undertaken within or about their communities. International Codes of Ethics such as the Nuremburg Code (1947), the Helsinki Declaration (1964), the Belmont Report (1979) and, more recently, the UNESCO Universal Declaration on Bioethics and Human Rights (2005), along with the principles of the Treaty of Waitangi shape the changing ethical standards and professional expectations for researchers working in Māori contexts.

The majority of universities have indigenous research Centres, with indigenous issues being a key research area for Faculties and academics from across the various institutions. There is evidence of considerable support mechanisms for indigenous students and early career research staff to build their research skills and capacity and to ensure that research is culturally and ethically sound and accountable to the community concerned.

The models and principles presented in the examples below provide useful frameworks which could be adapted to local contexts to guide researchers within Australian universities in their research and engagement with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and peoples.

Current exemplars of good practice

Inclusion of a unit devoted to Indigenous research and Indigenous issues as key research themes within the university

Example 1. The University of Saskatchewan in Canada has two dedicated Centres for indigenous research – the Indigenous Peoples' Health Research Centre and Indigenous Land Management Institute. The principles that inform indigenous research at the University of Saskatchewan are community-based and interdisciplinary. The Indigenous Land Management Institute brings research, teaching, outreach and engagement activities in the area of Indigenous land and resource management together under one umbrella unit, while the Indigenous Peoples' Health Research Centre focuses on:

  • Indigenous identity, place and connectivity, and cultural/linguistic continuity, as they relate to health
  • Mental health and addictions
  • Complex interactions of factors
  • Chronic disease

See: http://ilmi.usask.ca/ - The Indigenous Land Management Institute
See: http://www.iphrc.ca/-   The Indigenous Peoples' Health Research Centre

Example 2. As well as being a key research focus across the institution, Massey University in New Zealand a number of dedicated Māori academic and research centres including:

Massey University also undertakes considerable collaborative research with Māori & Pacific Island communities in the fields of:

  • Conservation of Aotearoa's Species and Culture
  • Biodiversity of the South Pacific
  • Origins and Migration Paths of Pacific Peoples

See: http://awcmee.massey.ac.nz/Māori/islands_conservation.htm
See: http://www.massey.ac.nz/massey/Māori/Māori_research/Māori_research_home.cfm

Example 3. The University of Auckland has three research centres dedicated specifically to Māori issues: the James Henare Māori Research Centre, Ngā Pae o te Maramatanga, and the Mira Szászy Research Centre.

See: http://www.auckland.ac.nz/uoa/home/about/Māori-at-the-university/ma-research
See: http://www.auckland.ac.nz/uoa/home/about/research/strategic-research-initiatives

Example 3. The University of Saskatchewan has two research centres devoted to Aboriginal research. The Aboriginal Education Research Centre at the university is a leader in research related to Aboriginal Education within Canada and Indigenous educational issues around the globe, whilst the Native Law Centre undertakes and promotes legal research and interdisciplinary legal research of Aboriginal or Indigenous matters, both nationally and internationally.  The primary objectives of the Native Law Centre include to:

  • provide and promote access to high quality legal education for Aboriginal people throughout Canada, and to provide a positive example of Aboriginal legal education internationally;
      
  • publish legal reference and scholarly materials that reflect a wide range of Aboriginal legal and interdisciplinary legal subjects;
      
  • serve as a specialist resource on Aboriginal legal issues; and
      
  • foster national and international relationships and collaboration for mutual enrichment and for joint work on Indigenous issues.

Example 4. The  University of Saskatchewan’s Centre of Excellence for Women’s Health Program have a renewed mandate from Health Canada to undertake new research and program development, and to make policy recommendations to the Canadian government on the following key priority areas for government and indigenous peoples of Canada:

  • Aboriginal women’s health issues.
  • Aboriginal Women, poverty and health.
  • Health of Aboriginal women living in rural, remote & northern communities.

See: http://aerc.usask.ca/ - Aboriginal Education Research Centre
See: http://www.usask.ca/nativelaw/ - Native Law Centre
See: http://www.prhprc.usask.ca/relationships/prairie-womens-health-centre-of-excellence - The Centre of Excellence for Women’s Health Program

Inclusion of processes to encourage research training by promising Indigenous students and staff

Example 1. The Victoria University of Wellington in New Zealand have a number of established programs, funding opportunities and other initiatives in place to support the development of Māori research students and early career research staff, including:

  • increase Māori and indigenous doctoral participation and completion rates;
  • develop a well- networked cohort of Māori and indigenous researchers;
  • improve transitions from doctoral study to post-doctoral research and to future careers; and
  • expand Māori and indigenous capacity, leadership and research capability

See: http://www.victoria.ac.nz/mai/about.html 
See: http://www.victoria.ac.nz/mai/funding.html

Example 2. The University of Ottawa in Canada has an established Forum for Aboriginal Studies and Research (FASR) designed to provide space for dialogue and exchange for researchers and students. The objectives of the FASR are to:

  • Facilitate the diffusion of information of research related to Aboriginal peoples at the University of Ottawa.
      
  • Offer professors and students from various disciplinary backgrounds a space for exchanges, dialogues and critical debates on Aboriginal issues.
      
  • Contribute to the public debate and to the diffusion of knowledge through the organization of conferences, debates and workshops on Aboriginal issues in Canada and around the world.

See: http://www.socialsciences.uottawa.ca/fera/eng/index.asp

Example 3. The University of Auckland has a number of research groups housed within Te Ara Poutama which support and capacity build Māori students and early career researchers, including the Mātauranga Māori Student Researchers Group.
See: http://www.aut.ac.nz/study-at-aut/study-areas/te-ara-poutama/research/research-expertise/mAtauranga-Māori/matauranga-Māori-student-researchers
See: http://www.aut.ac.nz/study-at-aut/study-areas/te-ara-poutama/research/research-expertise

Example 4. The strategic goal of the Centre for Māori and Pacific Development Research at the Waikato University is to uphold the University’s commitment to the Treaty of Waitangi by becoming a centre of research excellence capable of fostering and facilitating the self-determination, self-governance and development efforts of indigenous peoples in New Zealand, Australia, and Pacific Rim countries generally. The Centre leads the university in capacity building Māori student and early career researchers through provision of  development activities, research scholarships, and opportunities for emerging scholars to conduct doctoral and post-doctoral research under the supervision of established Māori researchers.
See: http://www.waikato.ac.nz/research/units/cmpdr.shtml

Example 5. The Centre for Indigenous Peoples' Nutrition and Environment (CINE) at McGill University  in Canada is an independent, multi-disciplinary research and education resource for Indigenous Peoples, created by Canada's Aboriginal leaders. The Centre was created in response to a need expressed by Aboriginal Peoples for participatory research and education to address their concerns about the integrity of their traditional food systems. Deterioration in the environment has adverse impacts on the health and lifestyles of Indigenous Peoples, in particular nutrition as affected by food and food traditions.

Inclusion of  mechanisms to ensure that research in Indigenous subjects is culturally safe and appropriate

Example 1. The University of Auckland has well developed guidelines for Māori Research Ethics. The guidelines recognise that research contributes to the broader development objectives of society and ethics has a specific role in guiding key behaviours, processes and methodologies used in research with Māori peoples and identifies principles of best practice. 

The University of Auckland online guide ‘Background to the Guidelines and the Framework’ (see URL below) explains the principles and Framework for research in Māori contexts thus:
‘The framework presented in this guideline recognises the broad range of ethical issues identified in previous documents, particularly in the context of health research. The main principles are drawn from tikanga Māori and its philosophical base of mātauranga Māori, but also integrate understandings from the Treaty of Waitangi, indigenous values and western ethical principles.

This framework aims to focus the ethical deliberation towards a more constructive critique of research in terms of not only its ability to identify risks but its potential to enhance relationships through the creation of positive outcomes for Māori communities. Concepts of justice and reciprocity are important for identifying tangible outcomes for all parties and supporting more equitable benefit sharing.

 The framework also advocates for constructive relationships and acknowledges the roles, relationships and responsibilities each party has in the process of engagement. The framework considers that both the research design and the cultural and social responsibility of the researchers have an immediate influence on the likely outcomes of the research project and should be considered during ethical deliberations.

The Māori ethics framework references four tikanga based principles (Whakapapa, Tika, Manaakitanga, and Mana) as the primary ethical principles in relation to research ethics. Other ethical concepts and principles are located within this framework and the ethical issues within each segment are identified and cross-referenced to the Operational Standard (Ministry of Health (2006). Operational Standard for Ethics Committees. Wellington, New Zealand, Ministry of Health.)

Each segment is divided into a 3 parts that identify progressive expectations of ethical behaviour.

The outer quadrant relates to what has been termed minimum standards. The minimum standards are expected to have been met by researchers before ethics committee members consider ethical approval for the research project.

The middle quadrant refers to good practice which indicates a more responsive approach to the research project.

Best practice extends the ethical consideration to align with expectations of behaviour within Te Ao Māori.

 

The axis between the segments provides further opportunity to link the ethical issues to the rights, roles and responsibilities associated with the Treaty of Waitangi, the principles themselves (partnership, participation and protection), a risk/benefit/outcome continuum, and the Māori values of whakapono, tumanako and aroha. The process of ethical review can be thought of in terms of TAPU and NOA. The concept of ‘Kia Tūpato’ (to be careful) becomes the starting point for considering the value or potential benefit of a research project. Kia āta-whakaaro’ (precise analysis) and ‘kia āta-korero’ (robust discussion) of the practical/ethical/spiritual dimensions of any project is necessary to provide a foundation to ‘kia āta-whiriwhiri’ (consciously determine) the conditions which allow the project to ‘kia āta-haere’ (proceed with understanding).

Whakapapa – He aha te whakapapa o tēnei kaupapa?

Whakapapa is used to explain both the genesis and purpose of any particular kaupapa. Whakapapa is an analytical tool for not only understanding why relationships have been formed but also monitoring how the relationships progress and develop over time (mai i te whai ao ki te ao mārama). Within the context of decision-making about ethics, whakapapa refers to quality of relationships and the structures or processes that have been established to support these relationships. In research, the development and maintenance of meaningful relationships between researcher and research participant forms another axis of consideration for evaluating the ethical tenor of a research project and its associated activity’.

See      http://www.fmhs.auckland.ac.nz/faculty/tkhm/tumuaki/_docs/teara.pdf

 

Example 2. The Nuu-Chah-Nulth Tribal Council Research Ethics Committee have well developed Protocols and Principles for Conducting Research in a Nuu-Chah-Nulth Context.The protocols and principles provide a mechanism for ensuring that research conducted within Nuu-chah-nulth communities or territories is done in an ethical and appropriate manner. The principles and protocols identified in Section 2 of the Protocols and Principles for Conducting Research in a Nuu-Chah-Nulth Context include:

  • Research that involves Nuu-chah-nulth communities and its members as participants, either directly or indirectly, must ensure that research protocols uphold the principle of protection. Ideally, the researcher will partner with communities and involve them in the development of the research project.
      
  • The Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council is committed to respecting the goals and aspirations of Nuu-chah-nulth-aht involved in research. This includes the maintenance of Nuu-chah-nulth control over resources, including people and the knowledge they carry.
      
  • Partnership: Where Nuu-chah-nulth-aht are participants in research and have a major interest in the outcome of a research project, then a working relationship should be established between the researcher and the participants or representatives of the participating community(ies).
      
  • Protection: The researcher must ensure the protection of Nuu-chahnulth-aht participants and resources prior to the onset of research, during data collection and compilation, during and after dissemination of data.
      
  • Participation: All Nuu-chah-nulth-aht have a right to participate in or refuse participation in research. Reasons for inclusion and exclusion in research must be clearly outlined prior to onset of research. Participants must be given adequate time (24 hour minimum) to consider their participation in the research and must be permitted to withdraw participation at any time without consequences.

See http://www.fnehin.ca/uploads/docs/NTC_Research_Protocol.pdf

Example 3. The Mi'kmaq College Institute has developed a set of Research Principles and Protocols called the Mi’kmaw Ethics Watch. The Principles and Protocols of the Mi’kmaw Ethics Watch were developed to protect Mi’kmaq peoples and their knowledge, and to ensure that Mi’kmaw people are informed of research including its benefits and costs to the Mi’kmaw community, are treated fairly and ethically in their participation in any research, and have an opportunity to benefit and gain from any research conducted among or about them.  These principles and guidelines are currently being disseminated broadly to each of the Mi’kmaw communities for their review, discussion, and ratification. The foundation principles of the Mi’kmaw Ethics Watch are:

  • Mi'kmaw people are the guardians and interpreters of their culture and knowledge system - past, present, and future.
      
  • Mi'kmaw knowledge, culture, and arts, are inextricably connected with their traditional lands, districts, and territories.
      
  • Mi'kmaw people have the right and obligation to exercise control to protect their cultural and intellectual properties and knowledge.
      
  • Mi'kmaw knowledge is collectively owned, discovered, used, and taught and so also must be collectively guarded by appropriate delegated or appointed collective(s) who will oversee these guidelines and process research proposals.
      
  • Each community shall have knowledge and control over their own community knowledge and shall negotiate locally respecting levels of authority.

(See http://mrc.uccb.ns.ca/prinpro.html)

Example 4. In 1997 the Association of Canadian Universities for Northern Studies (ACUNS) developed the Ethical Principles for the Conduct of Research in the North. The aim of the nineteen key principles is to encourage the development of co-operation, partnerships and mutual respect between researchers and indigenous peoples of northern Canada and Alaska whilst developing culturally approapriate ethical practice and scholarship. The Ethical Principles guiding research are:

  1. ‘Researchers should abide by any local indigenous laws, regulations or protocols that may be in place in the region(s) in which they work.
      
  2. There should be appropriate community consultation at all stages of research, including its design and practice. In determining the extent of appropriate consultation, researchers and communities should consider the relevant cross-cultural contexts, if any, and the type of research involved. However, incorporation of local research needs into research projects is encouraged.
      
  3. Mutual respect is important for successful partnerships. In the case of northern research, there should be respect for the language, traditions, and standards of the community and respect for the highest standards of scholarly research.
      
  4. The research must respect the privacy and dignity of the people. Researchers are encouraged to familiarize themselves with the cultures and traditions of local communities.
      
  5. The research should take into account the knowledge and experience of the people, and respect that knowledge and experience in the research process. The incorporation of relevant traditional knowledge into all stages of research is encouraged.
      
  6. For all parties to benefit fully from research, efforts should be made, where practical, to enhance local benefits that could result from research.
      
  7. The person in charge of the research is accountable for all decisions on the project, including the decisions of subordinates.
      
  8. No research involving living people or extant environments should begin before obtaining the informed consent of those who might be unreasonably affected or of their legal guardian.
      
  9. In seeking informed consent, researchers should clearly identify sponsors, purposes of the research, sources of financial support, and investigators responsible for the research.
      
  10. In seeking informed consent, researchers should explain the potential beneficial and harmful effects of the research on individuals, on the community and/or on the environment.
      
  11. The informed consent of participants in research involving human subjects should be obtained for any information-gathering techniques to be used (tape and video recordings, photographs, physiological measures, etc.), for the uses of information gathered from  participants, and for the format in which that information will be displayed or made accessible.
      
  12. The informed consent of participants should be obtained if they are going to be identified; if confidentiality cannot be guaranteed, the subject must be informed of the possible consequences of this before becoming involved in the research project.
      
  13. A community or an individual has the right to withdraw from the research at any point.
      
  14. On-going explanations of research objectives, methods, findings and their interpretation should be made available to the community.
      
  15. Subject to the requirements for confidentiality, descriptions of the data should be left on file in the communities from which it was gathered, along with descriptions of the methods used and the place of data storage. Local data storage is encouraged.
      
  16. Research summaries in the local language and research reports should be made available to the communities involved. Consideration also should be given to providing reports in the language of the community and to otherwise enhance access.
      
  17. All research publications should refer to informed consent and community participation, where applicable.
      
  18. Subject to requirements for confidentiality, publications should give appropriate credit to everyone who contributes to the research.
      
  19. Greater consideration should be placed on the risks to physical, psychological, humane, proprietary, and cultural values than to potential contribution of the research to knowledge’.

See http://acuns.ca/website/wp-content/uploads/2010/09/EthicsEnglishmarch2003.pdf

Example 5. The University of Arizona has developed a ‘Virtual Handbook for Research in Indian Country’ to guide the conduct of research on or about Native American Indian peoples, communities and reservations. Researchers of the university working on reservations must comply with local requirements for the conduct of research and should demonstrate to the University of Arizona’s Human Subjects Protection Program that all required local approvals have been acquired or are imminent prior to submitting a protocol to the IRB. This approval may vary depending on the jurisdiction of the Tribe or Nation on whose territory the research will be conducted.  Researchers are required to contact the Tribal Headquarters, Tribal Attorney or other official Tribal representative to determine the appropriate form of review and protocol. Researchers at the University of Arizona must make every effort to inform appropriate Tribal entities of their research activities before they can proceed.

Tribal Approval Process

Researchers should keep in mind that every tribal group is unipue in their cultures, languages, governing and political structures.

Researchers working on American Indian reservations must comply with local requirements for the conduct of research and should demonstrate to the University of Arizona's Human Subjects Protection Program that all required

Researchers should keep in mind that every tribal group is unique in their cultures, languages, governing, and political structures.

Researchers working on American Indian reservations must comply with local requirements for the conduct of research and should demonstrate to the University of Arizona’s Human Subjects Protection Program that all required local approvals have been acquired or are imminent prior to submitting a protocol to the Indian Research Board (IRB). This approval may vary depending on the jurisdiction of the tribe or nation on whose territory the research will be conducted. Reseaerchers should contact  the tribal headquarters, tribal attorney or other official tribal representative to determine the appropriate form of review and protocol. Researchers must make every  effort to inform appropriate tribal entities of their research activities.

Proposals for research on American Indian reservations must demonstrate that research procedures are appropriate given the laws and culture of the tribal nation in which research will be conducted and that the researcher has established appropriate relationships within the tribal jurisdiction in which he or she intends to work.

Source: http://www.nptao.arizona.edu/research/index.cfm

Example 6. Canada’s University of Victoria’s Faculty of Human and Social Development have developed a comprehensive set of Protocols & Principles for Conducting Research in an Indigenous Context. These protocols were designed to ensure that appropriate respect is given to the cultures, languages, knowledge and values of Indigenous peoples, and to the standards used by Indigenous peoples to legitimate knowledge in all research undertaken by students and staff of the Faculty.
See http://web.uvic.ca/igov/programs/masters/igov_598/protocol.pdf

Example 7. The University of Otago in New Zealand has established policies, procedures and protocols guiding Māori related research activities. These are detailed in documents which can be found at:

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