These are my Twitter notes from a remote live stream of an indigenous research methodologies session by Dr. Shawn Wilson, held this day at Royal Roads University, which I shared with the knowledge and approval of the facilitators. There’s a lot to unpack here, which I’ll work on at the right time, but for now since I didn’t create a proper Twitter thread I’ve copied them here in a chronological sequence for anyone who might be interested.

* Modified Feb. 14 to add several tweets missed in the original transfer

** All images are screen shots from the presentation.

Traditional Indigenous knowledge is a system of science. Science is the system behind our knowledge. Indigenous peoples would not have survived without science.

What are the four main assumptions behind your research paradigm? Should be easy if you’re a grad student or PhD (paraphrasing)

What philosophy informs your research approach? PhD should = Dr. of Philosophy. But we usually look at other philosophies rather than our own

Not knowing what you believe about your own philosophy & worldview affects your research. Also you are not seeing your own white privilege.

Culture as iceberg – visible culture above and underlying philosophy below the waterline

Beliefs & values are what make “me” Indigenous, not just visible parts of the culture. “Who am I inside?

Research paradigm: Nature of reality, ways of knowing, values, methodology–ways of acquiring knowledge. Ontology–what is real. What is worth researching? What methods are appropriate? Axiology–your values. Who owns the knowledge? Applies to all research.

Research methodology is a reflection of a worldview

State our world is in requires a different way of looking at things. We’re f-ing up the planet.

“Wetigo disease” – Colonialism as psychosis – greed knows no limits, perversion knows no borders, deceit etc. (missed some).

Wetigo disease – description of capitalism

Yowi wanders around aimlessly, can’t see its reflection. Has no skin (i.e. no kinships, relations, accountability).

Laughter scares Yowi away. But recognize the Yowi’s power.

Indigenous research carries some answers.

Audience Q about spirit. A: Personal belief vs religion. Religion top part of iceberg that is visible. Often religions become disconnected from their spiritual base. But mostly related to each other at the core.

Love how Shawn Wilson laughs freely and frequently while he talks.

Indigenist/indigenous. Don’t need to be indigenous to follow an indigenist research paradigm. But also know there’s a different lived experience. It’s the philosophical system you want to follow. But comes with rules to live by.

Lovely picture of family, kids, seniors... Everything around us in relationship. We are accountable to those relationships.

…a time of reflection on reality as relationships… …relationality is our reality. Our roles in relationships are our ways of being.

“Our ways of knowing are based upon relational epistemology”

Live stream comment

“Our ways of being – reciprocal, respectful, responsible”

Why research is a ceremony: Reality is relationships – Space ‘between things’ in relationships is sacred – Stepping between things in relationships enters us into sacred space

Relationships also between ideas, things, abstractions… “Research is a ceremony for building a closer relationship with an idea”

Stages of ceremony: * Live a congruent lifestyle. (e.g.: Live it first, before you start. If doing health research be healthy. If research into environment live an environmentally responsible lifestyle.)

Stages of ceremony * Prepare the space – most western concepts fit in here as well. * Assemble – bring together actors or ingredients (with intention)

Stages of ceremony – * Engage in Ritual: all working / thinking together at the same time. Ritualized manner – repeatable, people know what’s coming next, thinking about the same thing. Miracle will happen. It’s a miracle when you can teach someone anything

Stages of ceremony- * Incorporate into your lifestyle. Bring new knowledge from ceremony in own life and use/share. This is where wisdom comes from. “If your research doesn’t change you, then you haven’t done it right.” Part of the axiology of research

Distinguish between data, knowledge, wisdom (when lived, incorporated into lifestyles)

How to document? Everything from tattoos, artwork, environment – many ways to read and relate to others. Different people trained to read in different ways.

Engaging with the world – not just in nature

You don’t have to be out in the wilderness to see relationships in the environment. Listening to the land.

Audience Q: Thoughts on appropriation? A: Indigenist vs indigenous paradigm, i.e. without claiming indigenous understanding. Can use a belief system without appropriating lived experience. Understand different relationships to the knowledge

All these things affect the products of our research. Paper, widget, whatever we come up with. “Some products can fundamentally change our belief system.” Cycle. That’s why don’t need to be stuck in culture.

I get to understand concepts in a non-language way. Then I need to translate it for people. Then you need to translate my words back into an idea. But if you have different knowledge systems there can be misunderstandings. Different ways to tell a story.

…need cultural bridges

Stalled video stream gave me a chance to take this final screenshot …. Thanks Dr. Shawn Wilson for sharing your Indigenous knowledge and wisdom today.

Dr. Shawn Wilson during a live stream stall

Thanks to Royal Roads University for offering this session. I think we all learned a tremendous amount in this brief time. I should add there are parts of this discussion that I didn’t know how to relate in Tweets, for instance where visioning of relations and a discussion about dimensionalities came into play, with analogies to the delightful Flatland novella. I think you had to “be” there…