NEXUS Spring Institute

Knowledge mobility—researcher/community agency collaboration: Pragmatic examples about reciprocal Indigenous Knowledge Systems Hill, Donna


Recent experience as an interdisciplinary researcher within two Indigenous Knowledge mobilization projects has allowed me to engage in researcher/community relational challenges by working within and across two knowledge systems: Indigenous Knowledge (IK) and Western Knowledge (WK). The purpose of these projects was to facilitate the movement or “mobilization” of IK from the academic literature into an applied indigenous community health and healing context. In this presentation, I explore practical examples of interfacing Indigenous Knowledge(s) and the more dominant Western approach to community-service health programs. These knowledge mobilization projects have involved 1) the synthesis of key concepts and issues pertaining to Indigenous Knowledge and health as documented in the scholarly literature; 2) the presentation of findings in a way that is relevant and useful to community-based aboriginal health organizations; and, 3) the development of other significant ways in which researchers can positively assist their community partners in ethical and reverent ways that demonstrate the “4 R’s” of aboriginal research: Respect, Relevance, Responsibility, and Reciprocity. Working across diverse knowledge systems can be useful in informing research, policy, health, and social services that are relevant and useful to indigenous communities. This mobilization of knowledge from academic to communities presents a new direction of social research that bridges the gap between research and practice. Recommendations suggest how the inclusion of diverse ways of knowing, specifically IK and its conceptual model of being understood as a dynamic, fluid worldview, in academia and in other applied settings can further benefit participants of aboriginal community-based health organizations.

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