nado aveling on non-indigenous researchers and ethics


Nado Aveling, ‘”Don’t talk about what you don’t know”: on (not) conducting research with/in Indigenous contexts’, Critical Studies in Education 7 (2012).

This article raises the recurrent question whether non-indigenous researchers should attempt to research with/in Indigenous communities. If research is indeed a metaphor of colonization, then we have two choices: we have to learn to conduct research in ways that meet the needs of Indigenous communities and are non-exploitative, culturally appropriate and inclusive, or we need to relinquish our roles as researchers within Indigenous contexts and make way for Indigenous researchers. Both of these alternatives are complex. Hence in this article I trace my learning journey; a journey that has culminated in the realization that it is not my place to conduct research within Indigenous contexts, but that I can use ‘what I know’ – rather than imagining that I know about Indigenous epistemologies or Indigenous experiences under colonialism – to work as an ally with Indigenous researchers. Coming as I do, from a position of relative power, I can also contribute in some small way to the project of decolonizing methodologies by speaking ‘to my own mob’.

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