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Indigenous Research Paradigm Critical

Getty (2010) defines an indigenous research paradigm as a model, or conceptual framework, based on an indigenous ontological foundation or worldview and epistemological approach. Chilisa and Tsheko (2014) assert that an indigenous paradigm is informed by a relational epistemology that values communities as knowers, and knowledge as the well-established general beliefs, concepts and theories of any particular people that are stored in their language, practices, rituals, proverbs, revered traditions, myths, and folktales.

Porsanger (2004;107) defines indigenous research methodology as a body of indigenous theoretical approaches, methods, rules and postulates employed by indigenous researchers in the study of indigenous peoples. Some scholars place indigenous methodologies as relatively emergent within Western qualitative research (Absolon and Willett 2004; Kovach 2005 all cited in Kovach 2010).

The indigenous research paradigm is distinct from other paradigms in its decolonizing and indigenization aims which seek to bring to the center of the research process marginalized voices subjected to exploitation and abuse through experiments and colonizing research (Smith, 1999; Koukkannen 2000; Dunbar 2008; Chilisa, 2012; Liamputton, 2010; Chilisa and Tsheko, 2014). A decolonizing theoretical perspective is necessary within indigenous research given the existing social inequities that indigenous peoples con­tinue to experience.

IINII uses a revolutionary Design Thinking process to help your school community gain an understanding of one’s sense of self, as well as developing an understanding of students’ and parents’ values; having an understanding of one’s values matters because research has shown that it is linked to better well-being, less stress, and increased confidence in one’s ability to succeed. IINII has extensive experience building and using an Indigenous research paradigm.

Understanding students’ values can be developed with culturally sustaining practices that reflect a student’s identity and experience. Particularly helpful is focusing efforts on cultural competence and relevance and providing opportunities for students to practice bridging differences between diverse identities in a safe environment. To learn how you can create a dynamic youth-centered environment that honors the unique values of your students and parents, visit our website at, or contact us at or 1800-507-2502.

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