The Politics of Trust and Participation: A Case Study in Developing First Nations and University Capacity to Build Health Information Systems in a First Nations Context
Brenda Elias, MA, University of Manitoba, Centre for Aboriginal Health Research
John O’Neil, PhD, University of Manitoba, Centre for Aboriginal Health Research
Doreen Sanderson, Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs Abstract Recent success of First Nations involvement in health information management is establishing the social and cultural structures necessary to build trust and participation, produce counter knowledges that decolonize the health of First Nations Peoples, develop new forms of health information systems directed at First Nations wellness, and create new institutional research partnerships that could further enhance health information development and educational opportunities. This success is illustrated through a number of initiatives jointly developed and managed by Manitoba First Nations Centre for Aboriginal Health Research and the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs Health Information and Research Committee. Alternative discourses are possible. Resistance in the form of counter discourses can produce new knowledge, speak new truths and constitute new powers such as First Nations ownership, control, access and possession of health information. In this new environment, non-Aboriginal researchers and governments will have to recognize that any work involving Aboriginal Peoples will occur in the context of resistance to colonization. However, that such resistance creates the possibilities for collaboration. For collaboration to be possible and successful, however, researchers will have to reflect on the positions represented by others, attempt to understand these positions within the context they occur, recognize that trust and participation is conditional, and accept that any sharing and production of health information will occur at the boundaries between systems of knowledge.