Over the years I have had the opportunity to speak around UBC on matters of Indigenous research. In each of these talks I discuss the critical importance of standing with Indigenous peoples. By this I mean don’t turn us into the objects of your gaze but rather work with us and do what you are best able to do study your own society. Too often settler researchers use our Indigenous communities as laboratories to test their ideas. Worse yet they use our ideas, histories, actions as data sets to input into their own visions of the world.
At a recent anthropology conference I heard researchers who, almost as an aside, described the situations of state interference into the lives of Indigenous peoples they were working with. These were asides as the primary focus of the researcher was the lives and beliefs of the Indigenous communities. The opportunity to study the state, its functionaries, and it’s mercenaries should not be overlooked. Settler researchers who wish to act as allies should study other settlers and the way settlers infringe upon Indigenous peoples’ lives. The time for studying us is long past.
Here are three talks that highlight some of the issues I find central to a respectful anthropological research.