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Who are the experts here? Recognition of Aboriginal women and community workers in research and beyond

Juanita Sherwood, Stacey Lighton, Kay Dundas, Teresa French, Dixie Link-Gordon, Kath Smith, Thalia Anthony


This paper explores how Indigenous- centred methodologies are crucial to the design and conduct of research projects that seek to have meaningful outcomes for Indigenous women and communities. We draw on experiential observations of an advisory group led by Indigenous experts that was part of the Social and Cultural Resilience and Emotional wellbeing of Aboriginal Mothers in prison (SCREAM) research project. From their experience we identify lessons for how Indigenous expertise can be utilized to promote mutually respectful relationships among Indigenous and non- Indigenous researchers, organizations and agencies. We found that the formation of an Indigenous- led advisory group from a project’s inception is a powerful vehicle for informing its purposes, method and dissemination of findings back to Indigenous participants and communities. Our approach has produced a set of data on Indigenous women prisoners that prioritizes, rather than pathologizes, Indigenous standpoints, and recognizes the complex effects of colonization for these women. This paper seeks to convey the research process to inform future research that engages Indigenous participants.

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Print ISSN 1177-1801 Online ISSN 1174-1740