Fostering Relational Accountabilities in Indigenous Geographies: Moving from rhetoric to reality Session 2

Type: Paper
Sponsor Groups: Indigenous Peoples Specialty Group
Poster #:
Day: 4/5/2019
Start / End Time: 9:55 AM / 11:35 AM (MDT)
Room: Chairman's Boardroom, Omni, East
Organizers: Chantelle Richmond, Katie Big-Canoe
Chairs: Chantelle Richmond


Relational accountability refers to the social, cultural, and spiritual practices in which research partners and communities engage to build and maintain ethical and culturally safe research spaces (Ermine, 2005; 2007; Kovach, 2009). In the past decade, researchers from the fields of Education, Law and Native Studies have undertaken critically thoughtful and culturally engaged discussions about what relational accountability means, and of the principles upon which it is fostered (Smith, 1999; Battiste, 2011; Little Bear, 2000; Louis, 2007; Wilson, 2008). Around the same time, Canadian health researchers led the world in developing and implementing a rigorous set of ethical principles for health research with Indigenous peoples (Castellano, 2004; CIHR, 2003).

In the past decade, there has been a steep rise in the uptake of community-based research (CBR) in the discipline of Indigenous Geography (See: Canadian Geographer, issue 56), and particularly among health researchers. An integral message threads across this base of this work: the success of Indigenous CBR relies heavily on relational accountability. And while the growth and development of this discourse has been helpful in shaping an overall approach within which relational accountability might unfold, the truth is that these results reflect an academic debate that is rich in rhetoric, but relatively sparse on applied practices.

This Indigenous People's Specialty Group (IPSG) sponsored session seeks to provide space for discussion about the processes that both support and constrain relational accountability among researchers working in relationship with Indigenous communities. Drawing from the experiences Indigenous and non-Indigenous scholars, trainees, and communities from a diversity of geographic, cultural and interdisciplinary contexts, this session will examine the following questions, and many more:

-What are the similar and unique roles and responsibilities Indigenous and non-Indigenous scholars and communities take in fostering relationships?
-How do Indigenous and non-Indigenous trainees build ethical space?
-How do research relationships form across cultural, geographical and disciplinary scales and contexts?
-How do relationship-building processes differ across and within groups working together, for example among scholars, trainees, and communities?
-What are the cultural or other spiritual parameters within which relational accountability is fostered, and how does “it” start building?
-How might the concept of relational accountability be adopted in disciplines outside of Indigenous geography, or to policy or programming contexts external to research environments (e.g. policy making, school boards, other institutions such as churches, etc).

The IPSG welcomes and encourages perspectives, ideas and knowledge from new and established scholars, from those engaged in applied research and policy, and especially from the community. Our mission is to foster a space of sharing that will encourage dialog, growth and mentorship for all who participate.


Type Details Minutes Start Time
Presenter Nicole Latulippe*, Universtity of Toronto Scarborough, Seeking to Understand Indigenous Law and its Codification through Community Based Research 20 9:55 AM
Presenter Elana Nightingale*, University of Western Ontario, How do you build a relationship?: Fostering relational accountability through research partnership in Biigtigong Nishnaabeg, Ontario 20 10:15 AM
Presenter Kelsey Young*, Syracuse University, Failing and Learning: Stories of Struggle from Navigating the Settler Colonial Spaces of Archives 20 10:35 AM
Presenter Victoria Walsey*, Northwest Indian College, Knowledge Lost in Regulation: How Changing Policy Regimes on the Yukon River for Subsistence Fishing Influence Intergenerational Knowledge Transmission 20 10:55 AM
Presenter Chris Castagna*, California State University, Sacramento, The Place of Land: Selected Interviews with Maori on Industrial Forestry in East Coast Aotearoa/New Zealand 20 11:15 AM

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