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Disrupting Hierarchies of Knowledge

Posted by Laura Addicott on May 2, 2016 in Students

Working on her second comprehensive exam on the methodology she proposes to study Inuit and Western knowledge systems and their usage in fisheries governance decision making in the Territory of Nunavut, Fish-WIKS PhD student Mirjam Held, came across a conference on qualitative methods, Collaboration considered: Complexities and possibilities across communities and cultures. What an opportunity! Being new to qualitative research and exploring ways of being accountable to Indigenous research methodologies as a non-Indigenous researcher, Mirjam was eager to submit an abstract and engage in a discussion on her proposed methodology.

On May 5, 2016, she presented her paper at the 15th Qualitative Methods Conference which was held in Glasgow, Scotland.  The presentation was very well received and led to interesting and encouraging discussions. In Canada, the call to decolonize research, i.e. to account for Indigenous ways of knowing in research with Indigenous communities, is definitely gaining momentum; but there is a lot of uncertainty among non-Indigenous academics about how to do so. More dialogue among everyone involved in Indigenous research is needed. Decolonizing research is about critiquing the privilege of Western epistemologies and thus disrupting hierarchies of knowledge