Listening and learning: Insights from Indigenous research
November 9, 2021
Relevance, respect, reciprocity, and responsibility. These are the themes participants were encouraged to consider during Queen’s Indigenous Research Collaboration Day.
Co-hosted annually since 2017 by the School of Graduate Studies and the Office of Indigenous Initiatives, in partnership with the Centre for Teaching and Learning and the Research Portfolio, Indigenous Research Collaboration Day aims to showcase the outstanding research done by Queen’s graduate students, post-docs, and faculty and highlight the importance of collaborating with local Indigenous communities on issues of inequality and access.
“Indigenous Research Collaboration Day grew out of a need to provide Queen’s researchers with information on the proper protocols and understanding necessary to participate in research with Indigenous communities,” explains Kanonhsyonne Jan Hill, Associate Vice-Principal (Indigenous Initiatives and Reconciliation) and member of the day’s planning committee. “This understanding is crucial if we are to properly engage with peoples and voices that have, up to this point, been largely excluded from the research dialogue.”
This year’s event, which took place via Zoom on Friday, Nov. 5, centred on the principles of the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The SDGs present a call to action, encouraging people to act as citizens of a global community in an effort to take care of our shared environment and commit to a better life for all. The theme evokes Queen’s own commitment to advancing the principles of equality and sustainability through its research and operations in the local community and around the world, as laid out in the university’s Strategic Framework. It is also well-fitted to reflect the core values embedded in Indigenous cultures and a reminder of the importance of acknowledging and collaborating with Indigenous ways of being.
Following an opening keynote by Queen’s Chancellor, The Honourable Murray Sinclair, Queen’s doctoral students and post-doctoral fellows from the School of Graduate Studies presented their research through panels organized around the specific SDG themes of Reduced Inequality, Quality Education, and Good Health and Well-being. Many of the students are themselves members of Indigenous communities and their research serves to underlie the importance of listening to and learning from Indigenous peoples when it comes to addressing Indigenous needs.
PhD student panelist Jodi John is Mohawk, Bear clan from Tyendinaga Mohawk territory, where she lives and works as a Registered Dietician and Certified Diabetes Educator. This June, Jodi was also the inaugural recipient of the Teyonkwayenawá:kon Graduate Scholarship, administered by the School of Graduate Studies to support Indigenous graduate student research and promote the diversification of teaching and learning at Queen’s.
Presenting her research on the advantages of using Indigenous ways of being to benefit Indigenous health outcomes, Jodi says what she most hopes attendees took with them from the day is an understanding that “Indigenous people know their communities best and are best situated to address ongoing issues, including those of Indigenous health disparities.”
“My community is the inspiration for my research,” says Jodi. “I hope that my research will contribute to transforming healthcare spaces from places of fear, violence, and adversity to those of safety, engagement, and empowerment.”
For more information on this year’s panelists, their research, and to view the full day’s agenda, visit the School of Graduate Studies website.