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Indigenous Health Information in New Mexico

Check Your Privilege

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"Decolonization refers to the process of deconstructing colonial ideologies of the superiority and privilege of Western thought and approaches. On the one hand, decolonization involves dismantling structures that perpetuate the status quo, problematizing dominant discourses, and addressing unbalanced power dynamics. On the other hand, decolonization involves valuing and revitalizing Indigenous knowledge and approaches and weeding out settler biases or assumptions that have impacted Indigenous ways of being. Decolonization necessitates shifting our frames of reference with regard to the knowledge we hold; examining how we have arrived at such knowledge; and considering what we need to do to change misconceptions, prejudice, and assumptions about Indigenous Peoples. For individuals of settler identity, decolonization is the process of examining your beliefs about Indigenous Peoples and culture by learning about yourself in relationship to the communities where you live and the people with whom you interact." 

From Indigenization, Decolonization, and Reconciliation by Asma-na-hi Antoine, Rachel Mason, Roberta Mason, Sophia Palahicky, & Carmen Rodriguez de France

It is also important to note that literature that discusses health care and Indigenous persons in the United States is lagging behind countries like New Zealand and Canada. So when you begin your research you might want to expand your view to include resources from international literature.

Things to Consider When Beginning Research

If you are a Non-indigenous researcher engaged in research with Indigenous communities it is important to understand that:

  • Historically, research has been exploitative and harmful to communities and as a result there may be distrust with new research efforts. 
  • several nations have their own IRBs and research data protocols
  • the use of oral history as evidence can be vastly important for the transmission of knowledge within Indigenous communities, but it is easy for it to be misused if it is quoted or used out of context and there is a history of misuse
  • you need to involve the community that you are wanting to conduct research with from the very beginning of your research process and understand that community engagement might involve both formal (example: IRB process) and informal (example: you've been told by a community member to check on with a couple people to see if they are interested in chatting with you) communication
  • it is necessary to practice cultural humility and intersectionality in developing and conducting your research

See "Protocols for Respectful Research with Indigenous Communities" to develop your research with appropriate protocols.

Protocols for Respectful Research with Indigenous Communities

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