In my research, I refer to teachings of this territory such as those presented by Anishinaabe Woodland artist Roy Thomas in order to ensure that I situate myself in a manner that is respectful and responsive. I begin by explaining my position/standpoint (as a non-Indigenous Canadian) on the issues of Indigenous education and Indigenous research in relation to the four quadrants that are integral to an Anishinaabe way or circle of life.
As a non-Indigenous researcher conducting research with Indigenous peoples, I look to the scholarship and guidance of Indigenous scholars who posit what principles Indigenous research is founded upon. Scholars such as Kirkness and Barnhardt (1991) and Parent (2009) urge that all Indigenous respectful researchers must stay mindful of the 5 Rs in their work.
I embrace a framework of Decolonizing Research, which is critical in qualitative research, because it keeps research respectful and ethical towards Indigenous peoples. Aboriginal ethics guides researchers to decolonize the harm of Eurocentric, colonial-paternalistic attitudes as well as ignorant research (Dion, 2009), and works to repair what Smith (1999) states as: ‘Research’ one of the dirtiest words in the Indigenous world’s vocabulary. (p. 1) All qualitative researchers have to take seriously their responsibility to do no harm against Indigenous peoples, a commitment that is now formalized in the Tri-Council Policy Statement of Canada (TCPS) 2-Chapter 9. This includes all research that impacts or effects … “Aboriginal well being. This includes environmental research that will impact their physical environment or archival research that may perpetuate negative or inaccurate representations of Aboriginal Peoples.” (Castellano, 2004, p. 104) This is especially true of educational research in Canada where the fastest growing and highest demographic of children/youth is Indigenous.