Research as Spiritual Covenant

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Abstract

Conducting research with Native American communities poses special challenges from misunderstandings that may arise from the interface of differing cultural worldviews held by the scientific and the Native communities. Although the community-based participatory research approach shows promise for conducting research that can maximize benefits and minimize the risks of harm to Native American people, there is little information related to the practical implementation of culturally appropriate research practices when working with Native American communities. Drawing on the authors' research with three Native American communities in the Northwest, this article describes culturally appropriate processes for engaging Native American communities. The first section identifies and describes the principles that provide the foundation for the authors' research activity as a spiritual covenant and guides the authors' research with the three communities. The second section describes the project phase matrix that was used to organize the approaches employed in this work.

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