9-1 Summer 1997 “Honoring Our Native Knowledge” Resource Guide

May 15th, 1997 | By | Category: 9-1: Honoring Our Native Knowledge, Resource Guides
By Rosemary Ackley Christensen and Thomas D. Peacock

Judy Gobert (right) says researchers too often focus upon problems, not solutions. Pictured with environmental science student Pam Atkins. SKC Media

Conducting the Search

This not the definitive collection of everything written about reforming American Indian research. The materials do represent, however, some useful literature for those who are interested in further exploring research reform issues in Indian country, as well as surveying the discourse on the roles of American Indian and non-Indian researchers.

Abstracts and some full text materials of these articles were accessed using computerized database subject area searches of ERIC (Educational Resources Information Center), Sociological Abstracts, the Government Printing Office, and sites on the World Wide Web (WWW). Major descriptors for the search included American Indian and Native American (NA) research, American Indian (NA) research design, American Indian (NA) research methodology, American Indian (NA) scientific research, and American Indian (NA) research reform.

For a useful guide to conducting similar searches, see J.M. Mueller‑Alexander and H.J. Seaton (1994), “Researching Native Americans: Tips on vocabulary, search strategies and Internet resources.” Database, 17 (2), 45‑46, 48‑54, 56.

Resources on Reforming American Indian Research

Barden, J., & Boyer, P. (1993). “Ways of Knowing: Extending the Boundaries of Scholarship.” Tribal College: Journal of American Indian Higher Education, 4(3), 12‑15.

This article reviews the elements of traditional scientific method and trends among American Indian and other scholars, suggesting they be extended to include intuitive, spiritual, and personal categories of understanding. Barden and Boyer suggest four areas of focus to evaluate the new scholarship: importance of the research, integrity of the process, explanation of the methodology, and acknowledgment of research limits.

Boyer, P. (1993). “The Model Scholar.” Tribal College: Journal of American Indian Higher Education, 4(3), 20‑22.

This article describes the community‑based research approach of Barbara Bowman, a non‑Indian studying psychological issues at the Northern Cheyenne Reservation in Montana. Boyer focuses on tribal-researcher relations at the reservation and discusses tribal requirements for research, including approval of the study, tribal ownership of the data, and formal presentations of the findings to the tribe.

Boyer, P. (1993). “The Utility of Scholarship: an Interview with John Red Horse.” Tribal College: Journal of American Indian Higher Education, 4 (3), 18-19

Dr. John Red Horse (Professor of American Indian Studies at the University of Minnesota, Duluth) focuses on the need for some tribal control over research conducted in Indian communities, the role and approaches of non‑Indians in American Indian research, and changes in research methodology brought about by American Indian researchers focusing on the immediate needs of the community.

Cahape, Patricia, Howley, Craig B. (Eds.) (1992). Indian Nations at Risk: Listening to the People. Summaries of papers commissioned by the Indian Nations at Risk Task Force of the U.S. Department of Education. WV: ERIC Clearinghouse on Rural Education & Small Schools, Appalachia Education Laboratory, P.O. Box 1348, Charleston WV.

Summaries of 20 papers commissioned by the Task Force. #6 Nichol’s, on the need for new models in research, cites the issue of no national data base in existence on Native education. He makes a case for “naturalistic inquiry model” (Charleston 1990 IHS) based on Lincoln & Guba (1985) with the case study approach as an element. Others of interest include Jon Reyhner’s drop-out prevention piece asking what works for teaching Indian students, while Berg and Ohler #11, ask that a National Institute conduct research and identify effective educational strategies for students in the use of computers. Tonemah #15 speaks to the lack of literature on education of gifted/talented Indian children with identification of unique characteristics.

Deyhle, D., & Swisher, K. (1997). “Research in American Indian and Alaska Native Education: from Assimilation to Self-Determination.” In M.W. Apple (Ed.), Review of Research in Education (pp.113-194). Washington DC: American Educational Research Association.

A comprehensive review of Indian education research, including discourse on the need for American Indian researchers,  the role of American Indian researchers, methodological considerations (protocol, moving from data-gathering and theory-testing models to problem-solving studies), and the need for American Indian people to set the research agenda.

Deloria, V., Jr. (1991). “Commentary: Research, Redskins, and Reality.” American Indian Quarterly, 15(4), 457‑68.

The author asserts that researchers of Indian country should focus on real needs of the Indian community, possess sensitivity to community wishes and attitudes, and establish more precise identity with respect to communities with goals of distinguishing serious research from popular writing, minimizing useless research, and providing more leverage over funding sources and their agendas.

LaFromboise, T. D., & Plake, B. S. (1983). “Toward Meeting the Research Needs of American Indians.” Harvard Educational Review, 53(1), 45‑51.

The article discusses the limitations of social science research on American Indians, the lack of Indian participation in research, the need for American Indian researchers, and proposals for curriculum integration in educational research training for Native Americans.

Lujan, C. (1989). “Educating the Researchers.” American Indian and Alaska Native Mental Health Research, 2(3), 75‑76.

Using an alcohol study as an example, the article highlights the type of paternalistic research that focuses on the perceived weaknesses of Alaska Natives. She suggests meaningful community involvement in all phases of a research project.

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