Call for Submissions: Indigenous-University Research Relations, Strategies, and Successes

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The Project

Dr. Brittany Luby (University of Guelph) and her team are working on a project to better equip Indigenous nations and communities with the knowledge, tools, and questions to engage in research partnerships on their own terms. This project was inspired by Chief Lorraine Cobiness’ request that Luby create training resources for Niisaachewan Anishinaabe Nation’s Consultation Coordinator. Chief Cobiness’ request drew attention to information barriers faced by First Nations interested in collaborative research.

The First Nations Guide to Working with Universities (tentative title) will be an open- access publication from the University of Manitoba Press that will help make the inner workings of academia transparent to community leaders and advocates, so that First Nations outside the academy can negotiate more successfully with researchers and research institutions. While universities have created some pathways for Indigenous faculty to “do better,” they have not offered sufficient information for First Nations to demand better. We hope to address this gap with an accessible guide that walks readers through the various stages of research creation and design, data collection and analysis, and knowledge creation and dissemination. The guide will illustrate obstacles and challenges that can arise at each stage and offer creative strategies to resolve them.

Learn more about the project at

The Ask

Given the diversity of Indigenous nations, cultures, and research agendas, and the uneven and ever-changing landscape of academic research, every story of successful (or unsuccessful) collaboration is different. We hope to include multiple voices to document a variety of experiences, strategies, and lessons learned. We invite people who have engaged in research partnerships between universities and First Nations to share personal reflections for potential publication, pending peer review. By learning from your experiences, readers may be better prepared to navigate the pitfalls and possibilities of academic research.

We seek stories about your research process and partnerships, including, but not limited to:

  • Forging healthy research relationships
  • Developing cross-cultural learning and negotiation protocols
  • Designing collaborative or community-driven research projects
  • Negotiating mutually beneficial contracts
  • Identifying and navigating obstacles and pressures from colonial governments, funders, or institutions
  • Working through the Research Ethics process
  • Ensuring financial transparency and fair pay
  • Decision making – tensions, successes, lessons
  • Creating, sharing, and publishing research
  • Caring for yourself and the research team (e.g., avoiding burnout)

Among many other possibilities, some questions you might consider include:

  • What has been your most successful negotiation with the academy? What did you learn from this success that might help others?
  • What do you consider a failed negotiation with the academy? Given this experience, what cautionary measures would you recommend?
  • Are there institutional norms (or workarounds) that Indigenous persons interested in collaborative research need to know?
  • What challenges have you encountered when collaborating with an academic or First Nation during research? How did you navigate and overcome them together?

Contributions from across North America will be considered, but the guide will focus on Canadian research institutions.

Submission Guidelines:

Please submit 250–750 words that could be published as a stand-alone piece within the larger book. It should introduce readers to you and your institutional and/or community affiliation, describe the research collaboration, and offer some reflections about the issue, tension, lesson, or strategy you wish to share.

Community members, academics, and administrators are all encouraged to submit. Contributions may be single-authored or multi-authored. Please let us know if you would like your piece to be published anonymously.

Submissions should be sent to indigenous.guidebook [at] gmail dot com by 01 March 2023. Please contact us if you have further questions about the project or require additional time. If your submission is accepted, you will receive editorial suggestions before publication and be offered a contributor contract from UMP.

Feature Image: “Gordon Oakes Red Bear Student Centre” by University of Saskatchewan is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0.

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