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Liana Wong, Margaret Maaka


Breaking Trail or Breaking Wind?


The articles in this edition of AlterNative are trail breaking in that they challenge both the
received notions of legitimate research as well as the received knowledge that derives
from such research. As indigenous peoples, we have all grappled with the notion of what
constitutes research, what constitutes the language of research, and who are deemed
authorities. We have been educated (led) to believe that real research must be conducted
in a certain way, in a certain language, and must boast a certain pedigree of authority. Fully
aware of this, and fully aware of the risks, the authors in this volume have all chosen to
engage in the more rigorous challenge of deviating from the status quo by breaking new
trails. They have chosen to expand the parameters of research by employing techniques
that depart from the received norms, and have done so with intent, for the very fact that
such techniques work well for their own purposes. They have chosen to present their
findings in the languages best suited to accommodate themselves and their audience, and
they have chosen to expand the received notion of “authority” to include unconventional
references who, despite their lack of recognition in the academy, are nonetheless authorities
from an indigenous perspective. It is they who carry the knowledge that is germane to the
particular topics of research in which we tend to engage. The conscious choice to break
trail represents an assertion of academic self-determination.

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Print ISSN 1177-1801 Online ISSN 1174-1740