Community Service-Learning knows that staff and faculty already working with Indigenous communities on service-learning initiatives can make invaluable contributions to this project, and invites their participation. In the Fall of 2018, we will be bringing University service-learning practitioners together to share early findings from the consultation process, and gather staff and faculty input on decolonizing community engagement and service-learning.
This event will help Community Service-Learning:
The framework will present findings from a comprehensive literature review and consultations with Indigenous partners, Elders and Knowledge-Keepers, and University colleagues, as well as a comprehensive Indigenous community feedback process.
The framework will:
“What do we mean by decolonization? Start from an understanding of colonialism. When we talk about colonialism, we often think about a period. But, actually, it’s more a frame, an epistemological frame, like a way of looking at the world. So, colonialism is a way of thinking that continues today. You see it operating in all kinds of ways. Those very same assumptions, that underlying logic, could be at the foundation of our engagement with Indigenous peoples, and that is what we have to avoid.”
- Dr. Filiberto Penados, Yucatec Maya
Co-Founder and Engaged Scholarship & Service Learning Director, CELA Belize
Partner and local coordinator for Alternative Reading Week Belize
Community Service-Learning is using a relational approach for its consultation strategy, which recognizes that research brings people together (Wilson, 2008) and highlights “the imperative to develop reciprocal and respectful relationships in the research endeavor” (Johnson, 2008). We will work with the Indigenous communities and organizations with whom we plan to consult to ensure that the consultation strategy:
Community Service-Learning will adjust research methods, as needed, based on community needs and context, and make appropriate community-specific modifications that demonstrate respect, reciprocity and responsibility (Wilson, 2008). This approach means that the University stakeholders and individual Indigenous communities that we consult will help us identify additional stakeholders and resources, establish the question set and further develop our methods. This can be as simple as asking: who should we talk to, what should we talk to them about and how should we talk to them?
The consultations, both internal and external to the University, and other project activities will prioritize Indigenous voices and centre Indigenous knowledges. In her comprehensive literature review, Berry (2012) notes that prominent themes in decolonizing methodologies include centering Indigenous knowledges, reclaiming history and privileging Indigenous voices. Martin and Mirraboopa (2003) affirm, “Indigenist research occurs through centring Aboriginal Ways of Knowing, Ways of Being and Ways of Doing in alignment with western qualitative research frameworks.” Indigenist research, in Rigney’s view, “gives voice to Indigenous people” and “contribute[s] to that struggle by unmasking some of the overt and brutal racist oppressions, which have been and continue to be part of our reality, and also by unmasking some of its continuing and subtle forms.” The information gathered from the consultations, literature review and other activities will be used to create a framework and resources that will help practitioners work in good ways with community and recognize when and how we can work in better ways.
The Sacred Hoop methodology and our approach to the consultations is based on Indigenous research methods developed by Bagele, 2011; Fontaine, 2010; Johnson, 2008; Martin & Mirraboopa, 2003; Rigney, 1999; Smith, 1999; and Wilson, 2008. It describes our approach and expected timeline for the consultation project, whereas individual communities may define their own research methods.