Linda Tuhiwai Smith, author of the highly influential book Decolonizing Methodologies: Research and Indigenous Peoples, has been confirmed as the keynote speaker for the 2017 AIRA meeting, October 20 and 21! Pre-conference workshops on the 19th will include one offered by the team of Shawn Wilson and Ku Kahakalau! Mark your calendar now so you don’t miss this fantastic opportunity!
Meanwhile, our 2016 meeting was great! A report page — with an awesome video by Tim San Pedro of Ohio State and links to some of the speakers’ presentations — is now online. And Dr. Lori Lambert, AIRA’s founder, is offering two online courses in Indigenous Research Methods this spring, for undergraduate credit at Stone Child University and graduate credit at the University of Montana. You can learn more on our Career and Education page. If you haven’t signed up for our newsletter mailing list yet, be sure you do so to get all the news! And remember to vote for your choices for leadership as AIRA takes new steps to become a federally-recognized 501(c)3 nonprofit organization!Indigenous research methodologies are place-based methods of gathering and disseminating data with attention to the paradigm (world view), and cultural values of the researcher, and the community where the research is taking place. Indigenous Research Methodologies differ from the Western approach because they flow from tribal knowledge. Information is gained through relationship — with people in a specific Place, with the culture of Place as understood through our own cultures, with the source of the research data, and with the person who knows or tells the story that provides information. The researcher acknowledges a personal relationship with the story itself and how it is interpreted by both the teller and the researcher. In colonial academic models, the research project and data are separated from the researcher, who is merely an onlooker.
Though the data collected by Indigenous Research Methodologies can be analyzed quantitatively as well as qualitatively, just like data collected by Western research methods, the acknowledged relationship between researcher and data naturally challenges Western research paradigms. But Indigenous Research Methodologies are powerful and worthwhile despite this challenge, because they provide vital opportunities to contribute to the body of knowledge about the natural world and Indigenous peoples.
The American Indigenous Research Association is an independent organization whose mission is to educate researchers and the public about the importance of Indigenous Research Methods and Methodologies, to promote incorporation of these methodologies into all research that engages Indigenous peoples and communities, and to promote individual and community capacity regarding Indigenous research. Membership in the Association is free and available to professionals, students, and community members alike. Visit this page to join us and become part of the beautiful pattern of different people and cultures woven into a single whole that is AIRA, as represented by the beaded pattern at the top of this page.
Our inaugural conference was held in the fall of 2013 at Salish Kootenai College in Pablo, Montana on the Flathead Indian Reservation. The 2014 Meeting was held Oct 10-11 and the 2015 meeting from October 22-24, also at SKC. Thanks to our funders: Montana INBRE, Alaska EPSCoR, and the SKC Social Work Program.
Citations for the text in the first paragraph of this page: Margaret Kovach, 2010. Indigenous Methodologies: Characteristics, Conversations, and Context; Linda Tuhiawi Smith, 1999. Decolonizing Methodologies; Shawn Wilson, 2008. Research is Ceremony: Indigenous Research Methods.