Métis Research Ethics

Over the last two decades, academics around the world have been calling for a new kind of research that is indigenous-led, sensitive to the needs and aspirations of indigenous communities, and which would provide an alternative to Western research ethics and methodology.

Métis have different experiences of research than First Nations or Inuit, but there is very little information on research ethics specific to Métis.  That is why the Métis Centre of NAHO is fostering a dialogue among Métis individuals, communities and organizations on research ethics from varying Métis perspectives.  The idea is to stimulate thinking on the subject, as well as to add a Métis voice to the larger discourse on indigenous research and ethics in general.

The Métis Centre of NAHO hosted a two day planning meeting in February of 2008, titled Research Ethics in Métis Contexts.  Various Métis scholars and other ethics experts presented their work and experiences with research ethics.  At breakout sessions, participants were asked about the need for a think tank on Métis ethics, what priorities to pursue and what outcomes to expect.

Research and Ethics Advisory Committee (REAC)

The committee, formed in 2008, includes Métis scholars and community members dedicated to advancing evidence-based knowledge development in the area of Métis health and well-being. The goal of the REAC was to critically examine current Aboriginal ethical guidelines and to discuss how well they reflect Métis research realities.  After consultation, the REAC developed what is hoped to be the first of many research papers for publication. Titled Funding and Ethics in Métis Community Based Research: The Complications of a Contemporary Context, the paper argues that current ethical guidelines do not reflect the realities of many Métis communities, which can discourage academics from engaging in research with our communities.

Current REAC members:

Dr. Chris Andersen – University of Alberta
Dr. Brenda Macdougall – University of Ottawa
Dr. Carrie Bourassa – First Nation University
Dr. Michael Evans – UBC Okanagan
Tricia Logan – PhD Student, Kingston University
Judy Hughes – TRAC consulting
Devin Dietrich – Métis Centre Staff

Principles of Ethical Métis Research

The Métis Centre hosted a think tank in Kelowna B.C. in the spring of 2010 to engage Métis researchers, students, Métis organizations, and representatives from research ethics organizations. Our goal was to develop a set of principles to guide the Métis Centre in its future research.  The Principles of Ethical Métis Research is a tool for those engaging Métis communities in ethical research.  These principles are not intended to be authoritative, but rather are a starting point for others to use or adapt to their particular circumstance.

Implementing these principles in our work at the Métis Centre will be the first step in realizing our goal of engaging in ethical research that meets with the specific values and worldview of the Métis.

Six Principles of Ethical Métis Research

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Six Principles of Ethical Métis Research (printable graphic)

For more information, contact Devin Dietrich.