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Native Research Methods: Creating Cross-Campus Pathways for Ethical Research with Native Communities

Building from Native Research Methods, this proposal seeks to catalyze and lay the groundwork for ongoing structures of support for ethical and reciprocal research with Native peoples and communities across campus. This proposal aligns with the four strategic goals of the university.

This proposal has three objectives:
• Build a network of researchers at the University of Utah who are committed to using Native Research Methods to ethically engage with Native communities (goal 1: develop and transfer new knowledge)
• Catalyze connections between efforts on main campus ( Working With Native Communities Certificate created by Dr. Benally and Indigenous Communication Working Group led by Dr. Endres) and the health campus (Tribal Rural Urban Underserved Medical Education Certificate led by Dr. Sandweiss and Native American Summer Research Internship led by Dr. Holsti) to create training programs for the ethical conduct of partnerships with Native communities (goal 2: promote student success to transform lives)
• Establish research-informed best practices for creating structural support for reciprocal collaborations between Native communities and University researchers across healthcare, educational, and environmental contexts (goal 3: engage communities to improve health and quality of life)

This proposal will accomplish these objectives by:
• Offering networking and learning opportunities through a speaker/workshop/training series
• Facilitating conversation between main campus and the health campus about formal training models and research opportunities
• Creating a report that lays out tangible structures of support and a pathway for implementing research projects in support of Native communities
• Seeking opportunities for external funding to continue the objectives (NIH, NSF, Spencer Foundation)

These objectives work to ensure the long-term viability of the university (goal 4) through engaging improvement practices across the university.

Current Status

There is a long history of exploitative research on Native peoples, communities, and nations. Indigenous and Native Research methods offer alternative ways of doing research grounded in respect, relationships, reciprocity, and relevance that support the self-determination and the needs of Native communities. This project connects, catalyzes, and lays the groundwork for creating ongoing structures of support for ethical and reciprocal research with Indigenous peoples, nations, and communities across campus. After building a working group of sixteen faculty, staff, and students on campus, we focused our work on created a broad network of people on campus seeking ethical partnerships with Native peoples, nations, and communities. We hosted a mixer event in Fall 2023 that was attended by about seventy-five faculty, staff, and administrators. In Spring 2024, with the co-sponsorship of the College of Humanities, we offered a training for graduate students on how to work with Native communities by Darren Parry, former chair of the Northwestern Band of Shoshone Nation and current faculty member in History. Later this semester, we are hosting a symposium on Native Research Methods that will include keynotes by Drs. Shawn Wilson and Margaret Kovach, preeminent authors of two excellent books on Indigenous Research Methods and a series of panels highlighting successful collaborations between the University and Native communities. This event will be open for registration to all University faculty, students, and staff. We will also be inviting representatives from the eight tribal nations that border Utah as well as Native-led organizations that support the health, wellbeing, and sovereignty of Indigenous peoples. Following the event, we will gather data from participants about their needs for sustaining ethical and reciprocal research with Native peoples, communities, and nations. This data will inform a report that lays out next steps building structures of support to continue this work.


College of Humanities
Project Owner

College of Education
Education, Culture & Society

School of Medicine
Pediatric Administration

School of Medicine
Pediatric Administration

Project Info

Funded Project Amount

Native Research Methods, Native Communities, Native American & Indigenous Studies, Education, Healthcare, Environmental Issues, Participatory Methods, Community Engaged Research

Project Status
Funded 2023
Last Updated: 9/1/21