How Do We Work?

The Nature of Indigenous Research

NCCIE is a national research project that is distinctly Indigenous, from concept to design to implementation.

With respect to “research,” NCCIE is different. As a uniquely Indigenous national project, the Centre does not view “research” in the same way as other mainstream organizations such as universities or provincial and federal governments.

Principles of respect, reciprocity, relationship, and responsibility are understood in Indigenous ways and honoured according to Indigenous protocols and customs.

In other words, from an Indigenous perspective, the work that has been carried out for NCCIE places communities at the centre of the project:

  • NCCIE works to respect community protocols, ethics processes, and decisions;
  • NCCIE recognizes the importance of relationship-building and establishing trust;
  • NCCIE accepts the responsibilities that accompany working with Indigenous knowledges and cultures;
  • NCCIE acknowledges that one such responsibility in this work is honouring the central value of reciprocity and “giving back” to communities.

“Giving back” to communities from an Indigenous perspective means that the Centre cannot just “take” from communities, but must “feed communities” with knowledge, connections, and opportunities for direct collaboration and interaction.

Three Questions

During NCCIE’s first two years, the primary focus was gathering stories about Indigenous education initiatives. Once the proper protocols were followed and permissions obtained, interviews were scheduled. They were either video-recorded or audio-recorded and the following questions were asked:

  • What is your Indigenous education initiative all about?  Please describe what is taught, what the activities are, who the program is for, etc.
  • How do you describe or define ‘Indigenous education’ from your perspective or in your language?
  • What is your vision for the education of your people over the next ten years?

When you listen to a story that is posted on nccie.ca, you can hear insights and perspectives in response to these three questions.

The Story-Gathering Process – From Invitation to Website

The story-gathering process began with an invitation (at the centre of the diagram) and culminated in a story appearing on NCCIE.CA. The diagram illustrates our emphasis on respect for community protocols as well as giving back to communities by:

  • sharing Resource Kits to enhance people’s experiences with the website;
  • increasing the number of stories shared on the website;
  • expanding the number of languages available for listening to stories;
  • collaborating with community partners on developing learning resources of their choice.