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Indigenous Research Methodologies

OCAP Principles

First articulated in 1988 at an RHS National Steering Committee meeting, the First Nations principles of OCAP (Ownership, control, access, possession) is a widely referenced framework for First Nations governance over research, community knowledge, and data.

Photo credit: UBC Library

Ownership: First Nations communities have ownership over their information and cultural knowledge.

Control: First Nations communities have control over how their information is used or accessedand must be consulted and give informed consent to all stages of the research cycle.

Access: First Nations communities must have access to their own information and ultimately decide on group and individual access rights based on cultural needs and protocols.

Possession: First Nations communities are stewards of their own information and data and responsible for its security.


Selected - First Nation Research Protocol Agreements

Selected - Institutional Protocols

Selected - Collaborative Research

Recovering Voices emphasizes the role of cultural knowledge located in language, practices and objects. They partner with communities and institutional partners worldwide to support collaborative research in the sociology of knowledge, language documentation and revitalization and culturally informed analysis of collections, including providing research grants to help Indigenous communities enliven languages, cultures, and knowledge systems.

Ethics & Pragmatism in Indigenous Research Workshop (University of British Columbia) UBC researchers and key community leaders engage in cross-disciplinary dialogue on building meaningful relationships between indigenous communities and research institutions. Aims to move beyond theoretical frameworks, to develop and understand pragmatic approaches to research partnerships.

Collaborative Research

Knowledge Translation for Indigenous Communities  (Indigenous knowledge translation (KT) Summit 2006).  A toolkit developed for Indigenous community assessment of community benefits of outsider research proposals; acknowledgement and use of Indigenous knowledge in decision-making; and translating and disseminating external information (such as health information from a government organization) for community use.

Developing intercultural understandings can support collaborative research. Possible sources of information relevant to collaborative research in Indigenous contexts: