Is an indigenous governance of collaborative research truly possible? - Elisabeth Kaine

For nearly 30 years, ‘Design and Material Culture’ has led several collaborative projects with indigenous communities in Quebec and Brazil, providing opportunities to develop collaborative methodologies for these communities to take part in inventory, transmission and projects to enhance cultural heritage. We had to initiate most of these projects even though I always thought that in order for a research project to be indigenous, it had to mobilize all stakeholders around a desire for action and a shared vision from the get go. In the context of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission's call to action, the following question must be asked in order to meet the criteria for excellence in collaborative research with First Nations: Has the project opened a path of reconciliation by providing real participation in governance to indigenous partners? How can one claim to be the director of an indigenous project when only one in thirteen researchers are indeed Indigenous? This issue has monopolized my first year as director of the UNESCO Chair in Transmission of First Peoples’ Culture to foster Well-being and Empowerment.

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