UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Identifying systemic barriers to co-developing Indigenous food systems research within colonial institutions : a case study of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada Jones, Aleesha Tearl


This study aimed to address how colonial research institutions can and should appropriately engage in food systems research and build relationships with Indigenous communities that go beyond tokenistic inclusion and engagement in co-developed research. The research was conducted as a case study with the Indigenous Science Liaison Office (ISLO) within Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC). The study included nine semi-structured interviews and one focus group; thematic analysis of the transcripts was used to identify themes in the data. This study found that front-line staff in ISLO identified three primary challenges with respect to co-developed food systems research between AAFC researchers and Indigenous communities: (1) Relationship Building, (2) Administrative Processes and (3) Intercultural Competence and Knowledge. Study participants emphasized that the three themes must be addressed in response to both the historical colonization of Indigenous Peoples in Canada and ongoing power inequalities within Indigenous-Government relations and inequities for Indigenous-led science and research initiatives within colonial institutions. This study includes recommendations for how non-Indigenous institutions can and should address systemic barriers to culturally safe research related to Indigenous food systems. While conversations were specific to ISLO staff, the resulting recommendations are broadly applicable to colonial research institutions at large, such as the AAFC. Ultimately the goal of this study was to support Indigenous food systems research that contributes to Indigenous food security and sovereignty.

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