Ethics of Aboriginal Research
By Marlene Brant Castellano
This paper proposes a set of principles to assist in developing ethical codes for the conduct of research within the Aboriginal community or with external partners. It places the discussion of research ethics in the context of cultural world view and the struggle for self-determination as peoples and nations. It affirms that Aboriginal Peoples have a right to participate as principals or partners in research that generates knowledge affecting their culture, identity and well-being. To provide context and rationale for the principles presented, the paper outlines features of the current public dialogue on research ethics, how ethics are framed in Aboriginal cultures, and how Aboriginal perceptions of reality and right behaviour clash with norms prevailing in western research. Current initiatives of Aboriginal communities and nations, research granting councils and institutions to establish ethical guidelines for Aboriginal research are highlighted as evidence that the development of workable ethical regimes is already well begun.