College and Community Innovation program
CCI guide for research involving Indigenous Peoples and communities
The College and Community Innovation program is committed to supporting research that respectfully involves and engages with First Nations, Inuit, and Métis Peoples or other Indigenous nations, communities, societies or individuals, and their wisdom, cultures, experiences or traditional Indigenous knowledge, as expressed in their dynamic forms, past and present, regardless of their locale. This commitment reflects and aligns with the Tri-agency’s support for Indigenous research and research training models that lead to meaningful new relationships with First Nations, Inuit and Métis Peoples, as outlined in the strategic plan Setting new directions to support Indigenous research and research training in Canada –. The plan identifies four strategic directions guided by the following key principles:
- Fostering the right of First Nations, Inuit and Métis Peoples to set their own research priorities
- Decolonization of research:
- Respecting Indigenous ways of knowing and supporting community-led research
- Strengthening accountability in respecting Indigenous ethics and protocols in research and identifying the benefits and impacts of research in Indigenous communities
- Equitable access:
- Facilitating and promoting equitable access and support for Indigenous students and researchers
Applicants whose research involve Indigenous Peoples or communities must
- consult and take into consideration the concepts, principles and protocols detailed below
- consult the specific requirements of the appropriate CCI funding opportunity
This guide has been developed to help applicants whose research involves and engages with Indigenous Peoples or communities. It draws primarily on resources developed by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) and the Secretariat for the Responsible Conduct of Research (SRCR). Additional resources, including resources developed by other organizations, are listed at the end of this guide. Since the definitions and resources cited here are evolving, this page will be updated periodically. Applicants are invited to consult this guide regularly.
We also encourage you to reach out to your institution for additional resources.
Concepts, principles and protocols
Research involving Indigenous Peoples or communities must be undertaken in accordance with the relevant concepts, principles and protocols for this type of research, some of which are outlined in the documents listed below.
- Tri-Council Policy Statement 2 (TCPS 2): Chapter 9: Research Involving the First Nations, Inuit and Métis Peoples of Canada
- Chapter 9 of the TCPS 2 “is offered in a spirit of respect. It is not intended to override or replace ethical guidance offered by Indigenous Peoples Its purpose is to ensure, to the extent possible, that research involving Indigenous Peoples is premised on respectful relationships. It also encourages collaboration and engagement between researchers and participants.”
- Article 9.1 provides examples of conditions when community engagement is required.
- CIHR’s definition of meaningful and culturally safe health research (note: the principles underpinning meaningful and culturally safe health research are also applicable to disciplines and fields other than health).
- SSHRC’s definition of Indigenous research
- Key concepts from SSHRC’s Guidelines for the Merit Review of Indigenous Research
- Indigenous or traditional knowledge
- Respect, relevance and contribution
- Key principles of the strategic plan Setting new directions to support Indigenous research and research training in Canada –
- Tri-Agency Research Data Management Policy provisions that are relevant to research involving Indigenous Peoples and communities
- United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP)
- Article 31: “Indigenous Peoples have the right to maintain, control, protect and develop their cultural heritage, traditional knowledge and traditional cultural expressions, as well as the manifestations of their sciences, technologies and cultures, including human and genetic resources, seeds, medicines, knowledge of the properties of fauna and flora, oral traditions, literatures, designs, sports and traditional games and visual and performing arts. They also have the right to maintain, control, protect and develop their intellectual property over such cultural heritage, traditional knowledge, and traditional cultural expressions.”
Applicants should also demonstrate how they will integrate the relevant concepts, principles and protocols for conducting respectful research with Indigenous Peoples and communities into each stage of the research process. Evidence of this includes:
- A description of how the proposed research respects, and contributes to, communities’ current goals and needs
- Plans for engaging with existing, distinctive research processes and protocols for conducting ethical research reviews in the communities participating in the project
- A research plan that takes into account communities’ organizational or administrative structures and available resources
- Plans for engaging with and appropriately recognizing the role of Elders, Knowledge Keepers and/or Knowledge Holders in the research process
- Plans for promoting the participation of students, trainees and/or research personnel from Indigenous communities in the research team, as well as for fostering a culturally safe, equitable, inclusive and accessible research environment
- The research teams’ experience working with Indigenous communities, expertise in Indigenous research and/or plans to address any deficiencies (for example, training, guidance and mentorship plans for team members with limited experience or expertise in Indigenous research)
- Proposed methodologies for the co-creation of knowledge, which could include interpretive approaches that are jointly developed, reviewed and confirmed by and with community members or their community-delegated organization(s)
- A research plan that demonstrates awareness and understanding of the communities’ expectations about the management and governance of the coproduction and outputs of knowledge, both during and beyond the grant
- Plans to address the rights of Indigenous Peoples and Indigenous self-determination and self-governance, as well as the protection of knowledge and data resulting from the research; for example the First Nations Principles of OCAP® (Ownership, Control, Access and Possession) or other principles as determined by Indigenous partners
- Available institutional resources to support a deep level of collaboration and ethical engagement with Indigenous communities/partners and to enable reciprocity in terms of the benefits derived from the research process and outcomes
Note: The examples listed here may not be reflective of all community contexts and projects. The nature and extent of community engagement in a project should be determined jointly by the researcher and the relevant community, and should be appropriate to community characteristics and the nature of the research, as stated in Article 9.2 of the TCPS 2 (). This article also provides examples of the forms of community engagement that might be appropriate for various types of research.
This list is intended to assist applicants whose research involves Indigenous Peoples or communities.
- Research Involving the First Nations, Inuit and Métis Peoples of Canada – CIHR webinar
- Institute of Indigenous People’s Health Strategic Plan – – CIHR Institute of Indigenous People’s Health (IIPH)
- Indigenous Research Statement of Principles – SSHRC
- Indigenous Research – Resources – SSHRC
- Indigenous Leadership Circle in Research – CRCC
Research principles, protocols, guidelines and tools
- Principles of Ethical Métis Research () and What Researchers Need from Métis Communities – Increasing Métis Research () – National Aboriginal Health Organization (NAHO) Publications and Resources - Métis Centre, SE First Nations, Inuit and Métis Program
- Negotiating Research Relationships with Inuit Communities: A Guide for Researchers () – Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami (ITK) and Nunavut Research Institute (NRI)
- National Inuit Strategy on Research () – ITK
- The First Nations Principles of Ownership, Control, Access and Possession (OCAP®) – First Nations Information Governance Centre
- Ethics in First Nations Research () – Assembly of First Nations
- A Culturally Relevant Gender-Based Analysis (CRGBA) Starter Kit ()– Native Women’s Association of Canada
- Guidelines for Ethical Research in Manitoba First Nations () – Manitoba First Nations Education Resource Centre Inc.
- First Nations in Quebec and Labrador Research Protocol () – Assembly of First Nations Quebec-Labrador (APNQL)
- Guidelines for Research with Aboriginal Women () – Quebec Native Women Inc.
- Toolbox of research principles in an Aboriginal context ( and editions) – developed by the First Nations of Quebec and Labrador Health and Social Services Commission, Université du Québec en Abitibi-Témiscamingue, Université du Québec en Outaouais, Université de Montréal (Centre de recherche en droit public) and DIALOG – The Aboriginal Peoples Research and Knowledge Network
- Doing Research in the Northwest Territories: A Guide for Researchers () – Aurora Research Institute
- Guidelines for Ethical Aboriginal Research () – Manitoulin Anishinaabek Research Review Committee (Aboriginal Health Research Review Committee) in collaboration with Manitoulin First Nations leadership and community agencies
- Collective Benefit, Authority to Control, Responsibility and Ethics (CARE) Principles for Indigenous Data Governance – Global Indigenous Data Alliance
Education principles and protocols
- Indigenous Education Protocol for Colleges and Institutes – Colleges and Institutes Canada (CICan)
- Universities Canada principles on Indigenous education
CCI program staff would like to acknowledge that we are committed to learning more on how we can contribute to affirming the inherent rights of the customary keepers and defenders of the land. We are also committed to continue engaging in dialogue and building relationships with community members. If you have comments or would like to discuss how we can improve this guide, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.