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Indigenous Futures: Native Americans

This guide was originally created for the use of instructors and students in the reACT Decolonizing Education Experiential Learning Program funded by the 2022-2023 TLTC Curriculum Grants. Specifically: ARCH460; ARCH478; ARCH601; ARCH678; CHBE473; ENCH648


Core Values

  • Relationship: Cultivate relationships to foster an environment that is inclusive of and responsive to Tribal Traditional Knowledge and worldviews.
  • Respect: Work to create respectful relationships to develop trust and understanding that allows for deeper sharing to benefit both the Tribal Community and University.
  • Reciprocity: Strive to foster an environment that values and understands the interconnectedness of all things around us.
  • Responsibility: Work strategically to provide culturally responsive Education, Research and Service to surrounding Native American communities.

Kirkness, V. (1991). “FIRST NATIONS AND HIGHER EDUCATION: The Four R’s — Respect, Relevance, Reciprocity, Responsibility.” Journal of American Indian Education, vol. 30, no. 3, 1991, pp. 1–15. Seminal work of collaboration in Institutions of Higher Education. American Indian/First Nations/Native people have been historically under-represented in the ranks of college and university graduates in Canada and the United States. From an institutional perspective, the problem has been typically defined in terms of low achievement, high attrition, poor retention, weak persistence, etc., thus placing the onus for adjustment on the student. From the perspective of the Indian student, however, the problem is often cast in more human terms, with an emphasis on the need for a higher educational system that respects them for who they are, that is relevant to their view of the world, that offers reciprocity in their relationships with others, and that helps them exercise responsibility over their own lives. This paper examines the implications of these differences in perspective and identifies ways in which initiatives within and outside of existing institutions are transforming the landscape of higher education for First Nations/American Indian people in both Canada and the United States.

George, L.,  et al. (2020). Indigenous research ethics: claiming research sovereignty beyond deficit and the colonial legacy. Emerald Publishing. ebook. Given the extreme variety of research issues under investigation today and the multi-million-dollar industry surrounding research, it becomes extremely important that we ensure that research involving Indigenous peoples is ethically as well as methodologically relevant, according to the needs and desires of Indigenous peoples themselves. This distinctive volume presents Indigenous research as strong and self-determined with theories, ethics and methodologies arising from within unique cultural contexts. Yet the volume makes clear that challenges remain, such as working in mainstream institutions that may not regard the work of Indigenous researchers as legitimate 'science'. In addition, it explores a twenty-first-century challenge for Indigenous people researching with their own people, namely the ethical questions that must be addressed when dealing with Indigenous organisations and tribal corporations that have fought for - and won - power and money. The volume also analyses Indigenous/non-Indigenous research partnerships, outlining how they developed respectful and reciprocal relationships of benefit for all, and argues that these kinds of best practice research guidelines are of value to all research communities.

Facilitating Indigenous Research, Science, and Technology Network FIRST represents an interdisciplinary network of Native scholars all working at the intersection of Indigenous and Western scientific traditions to explore how Indigenous communities are utilizing both traditions to meet their research needs. The network’s Steering Committee members represent Indigenous communities from across the United States, including Alaska and Hawai‘i, and are employed at tribal colleges, Indigenous non-profit organizations, and research universities.

U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) (2014) Tribal Protocol Manual.  To foster effective interaction with Native American tribes, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) employs the "Tribal Protocol Manual" in implementing the Federal, State and Tribal Liaison Program.  This manual embodies the NRC's commitment to acknowledging the sovereign rights of Federally-recognized Tribes in the development and implementation of agency policies and regulatory activities that have Tribal implications.

US Dept. of the Interior. Bureau of Reclamation (2020) Working With Indian Tribal. Governments. Consultation, Cultural Awareness, and Protocols. The United States Bureau of Reclamation, and formerly the United States Reclamation Service, is a federal agency under the U.S. Department of the Interior, which oversees water resource management.

Considerations for Meaningful Collaboration with Tribal Populations (2018). The All of Us Research Program is a research program created in 2015 during the tenure of Barack Obama with $130 million in funding that aims to make advances in tailoring medical care to the individual.  

MacLeod, L. (2021). More Than Personal Communication: Templates For Citing Indigenous Elders and Knowledge Keepers. KULA, 5(1), 1–5.  In this project report, I introduce the citation templates for Indigenous Elders and Knowledge Keepers that I created in partnership with the staff of the NorQuest Indigenous Student Centre. These citation templates have been adopted/linked to by twenty-five institutions across Canada and the United States. They represent an attempt to formalize something that Indigenous scholars have been doing for decades: fighting to find a better way to acknowledge our voices and knowledges within academia. 

University of Idaho. Office of Tribal Relations. The office was established to provide Leadership, guidance and support for Native American initiatives, organizations and programs that align with the Tribal Relations mission and the University of Idaho's strategic plan.  

  • Tribal Research Protocol. University of Idaho Guidance for Research/Educational/Outreach Activities with Tribal Nations from the Office of Tribal Relations.
  • Tribal Research and Programming Code of Ethics.  Whether working on research grants or providing community outreach and engagement activities, there are some ethical standards that should be considered to guide partnerships with Tribal communities.  The following code of ethics will help to create stronger partnerships with Tribal Nations that will lead to successful collaborative engagement for continued mutually beneficial projects.
  • Collaborating with the Office of Tribal Relations (OTR).  Describes the services offered by OCR to assist on all projects and research that involve Tribal Nations.