An Essay About Indigenous Methodology

AN ESSAY ABOUT INDIGENOUS METHODOLOGY Jelena Porsanger
Indigenous peoples’ interests, knowledge and experiences must be at the centre of research methodologies and construction of knowledge about indigenous peoples. Lester-Irabinna Rigney (1999, 119) (Narungga Nation, Australia)

This short essay was originally written for a doctoral seminar presentation, held at the University of Tromso on 25 March 2004, and was afterwards adapted by the author for this publication. The following general considerations about indigenous methodologies are inspired by the author’s experiences as a Saami scholar, as a university teacher in the Department of Saami, and as a visiting scholar at different institutions of Maori Studies (at the University of Auckland and the University of Waikato, among others) in New Zealand during the Spring of 2003. The enclosed reading list consists of articles and books recently written by mostly indigenous scholars, from different parts of the world, who discuss the indigenous perspectives of research. These perspectives represent alternative ways of thinking about research processes. However, the indigenous approaches to research on indigenous issues are not meant to compete with, or replace, the Western research paradigm; rather, to challenge it and contribute to the body of knowledge of indigenous peoples about themselves and for themselves, and for their own needs as peoples, rather than as objects of investigation. In this essay the author intends to articulate methodological issues, which are primarily important for indigenous researchers in the light of the indigenous perspective. Research and Indigenous Peoples Over the past few decades, scholars involved in research on, with and about indigenous peoples have been discussing a great variety of issues relating to indigenous research, which may be viewed from an indigenous perspective, or from an outside perspective, or from the
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An Essay about Indigenous Methodology

perspective.