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Changing standards around Indigenous engagement in research is a key initiative of the University of Alberta’s Situated Knowledges: Indigenous Peoples and Place (SKIPP) signature area. Florence Glanfield, SKIPP co-lead, will help share that focus with early-career researchers during the 2021 Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences.

Florence Glanfield

Florence Glanfield

On June 3, Glanfield, who is also vice-provost (Indigenous programming and research) at the U of A, will lead a Career Corner designed to support graduate students and early-career researchers who are interested in engaging in ethical, community-based research projects in partnerships with Indigenous peoples, communities and organizations.

“I’ll lay out some foundational pieces around what the tri-council agencies are inviting universities to do in working with Indigenous peoples, communities, lands and languages, and what our responsibilities are,” explained Glanfield.

In 2020, the three federal research funding agencies—the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) – released a report outlining key commitments to support new models for Indigenous research and research training. These commitments aim to respond to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action and to grow the capacity of First Nations, Métis and Inuit communities to lead their own research and partner with the broader research community.

“So it’s an opportunity for me to frame where we are as researchers and universities/institutions, what does that mean as we engage in this work, and then to invite a dialogue with the participants around questions they have and how they’re making sense of Indigenous-engaged research.”

Glanfield noted the session is significant because of the responsibilities universities and researchers have to conduct Indigenous-engaged research in a good way – respecting ethics, knowledge systems, languages, histories and lands.

“We have a responsibility in looking at our own practices and engaging with Indigenous communities in our research, and not just studying about Indigenous communities. This is an opportunity to be part of the network that supports the development of Indigenous-engaged community research in respectful ways.”

Throughout the conference, SKIPP has also been hosting “Tea Time with SKIPP,” a networking Zoom lounge event that runs each day at 11 a.m., providing a place for Indigenous attendees to connect. In addition to the tea times, SKIPP hosted a circle for Indigenous graduate students and a circle for Indigenous university leaders.

SKIPP was also involved in workshops on Enabling Indigenous Scholarship in Canadian Higher Education and Respectful Data Management. The latter, co-hosted with the U of A’s AI4Society signature area, explored the way big data techniques have made it possible to gather and study large datasets of human behaviour, including datasets about Indigenous communities, and focused on the need for social science and humanities researchers to start making respectful data management part of their scholarly practices.

These Congress 2021 events are in part inspired by the work already being done at the U of A.

SKIPP was created in 2019 as an emerging signature area to allow for the necessary consultation and engagement of scholars and communities within and beyond the U of A. The SKIPP signature area is being built to centre local and global Indigenous scholarship, engage Indigenous knowledge systems, support Indigenous language revitalization and recognize the responsibilities of a university located on Indigenous lands.

To enact this work, SKIPP has previously hosted events like Scholars’ Circles, a series of events that gathered input from the university community and brought Indigenous and non-Indigenous scholars together, as well as an Indigenous-engaged research and scholarship colloquium series, which worked to create a learning environment for researchers from multiple disciplines who wish to enter the space of Indigenous-engaged research and scholarship.

SKIPP is also currently leading a series called Community Voices, which “privileges the voices of communities that are involved in research projects,” said Glanfield.

“SKIPP is inviting early-career humanities and social science researchers from across Canada to engage in, and learn from, these conversations around Indigenous-engaged research.”

| By Jordan Cook

This article was submitted by the University of Alberta’s Folio online magazine. The University of Alberta is a Troy Media Editorial Content Provider Partner.

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