"Thank You Very Much... You Can Leave Our Community Now.”: Geographies of Responsibility, Relational Ethics, Acts of Refusal, and the Conflicting Requirements of Academic Localities in Indigenous Research

  • Paul Sylvestre Queen's University
  • Heather Castleden Queen's University
  • Debbie Martin Dalhousie University
  • Mary McNally Dalhousie University
Keywords: Research Ethics, Responsibility, Indigenous Health, CBPR, colonialism

Abstract

This paper reports on the findings from a series of twenty in-depth, semi-structured interviews that explored how a group of leading Canadian health researchers who are recognized for their excellence in community-engaged Indigenous health research envision enacting an anti-colonial research agenda and the inherent tensions of doing so in institutional settings. Interview transcripts were thematically analyzed in order to explore how the different places that shape community-engaged scholarship (Community spaces, Offices of Research Ethics, and Office of Finance and Administration) 1) produce different, often conflicting understandings of responsibility; 2) how different spaces constrain and shape agency in terms of enacting forms of responsibility in research, and; 3) the role that settler subjectivities have in shaping acts of interpretation that are productive of institutionally mediated forms of responsibility. We organize themes of responsibility, relational ethics, and acts of refusal around the locales through which they are produced and mediated in order to display narratives relating to each site. Specifically, we highlight how relationally negotiated formulations of ethical responsibility, which occur between Indigenous community partners and researchers, can be circumscribed or marginalized by existing institutional structures. By making visible the ways in which conflicting responsibilities emerge and must be negotiated in working toward anti-colonial research relationships, our findings contribute to ongoing conversations regarding Indigenous-settler alliances in health research.

Author Biographies

Paul Sylvestre, Queen's University
PhD candidate Department of Geography and Planning
Heather Castleden, Queen's University
Departments of Geography and Planning and Public Health Sciences
Debbie Martin, Dalhousie University
School of Health and Human Performance
Mary McNally, Dalhousie University
Faculty of Dentistry
Published
2017-08-16
How to Cite
Sylvestre, Paul, Heather Castleden, Debbie Martin, and Mary McNally. 2017. “"Thank You Very Much. You Can Leave Our Community Now.”: Geographies of Responsibility, Relational Ethics, Acts of Refusal, and the Conflicting Requirements of Academic Localities in Indigenous Research”. ACME: An International Journal for Critical Geographies 17 (3), 750-79. https://acme-journal.org/index.php/acme/article/view/1327.
Section
Themed Section - Concrete Ways to Decolonize Research