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Consultation on policy on Research Impacting Indigenous Groups


By Jeff Green

Memorial is one step closer to having its first institutional policy related to Indigenous research, which will also be among the first of its kind in Canadian universities.

A draft of a new policy – Research Impacting Indigenous Groups – is now available. The university is welcoming feedback from the university community and external stakeholders and rightsholders over the next several weeks.

The draft, along with additional information, is available online.

Drs. Max Liboiron and Neil Bose.
From left are Drs. Max Liboiron and Neil Bose.
Photo: Rich Blenkinsopp

The new policy looks to provide more effective, sensitive and appropriate review of research impacting Indigenous Peoples.

The Office of the Vice-President (Research) is leading the initiative, while the President’s Advisory Committee on Aboriginal Affairs recommended a working group to draft the policy.

“The new policy will aim to meet the expectations of Indigenous communities and reflect the current environment.” — Dr. Neil Bose

The group consists of Dr. Max Liboiron (Michif), associate vice-president (Indigenous research) in St. John’s; Kelly Anne Butler (Mi’kmaw), student affairs officer-Aboriginal affairs at Grenfell Campus; and Michele Wood (Inuk), community member in Labrador.

“A new policy is needed to ensure that effective and appropriate relationships among Memorial researchers and Indigenous groups are in place, beginning with the research proposal stage and through the entire research process,” said Dr. Neil Bose, vice-president (research).

“Currently, Memorial’s Ethics of Research Involving Human Participants policy contains a brief section (Section 13.0) about research involving Aboriginal Peoples,” Dr. Bose added.

“That policy’s existence significantly pre-dates this current era of reconciliation, decolonization and Indigenization and the revision of the Tri-Council Policy Statement on the Ethical Conduct for Research, Chapter 9, Research Involving the First Nations, Inuit and Métis Peoples of Canada. The new policy will aim to meet the expectations of Indigenous communities and reflect the current environment.”

Collaborative process

In spring 2019 Dr. Liboiron conducted pre-policy consultations with faculty, staff, graduate students, external stakeholders and rightsholders on best practices, capacities, cases and concerns.

That work informed the working group as the group drafted the policy.

Consultations ongoing

Written feedback from all Memorial campuses and external stakeholders and rightsholders will be accepted until Monday, March 16 (end of business day), via email to Nic Kuzmochka, research assistant I (policy analysis), with the Office of the Vice-President (Research).

Face-to-face consultations will be held on the following dates:

  • Marine Institute: Wednesday, Feb. 19, from 9-10 a.m., room C-2205
  • St. John’s campus (graduate student session; undergraduates welcome): Thursday, Feb. 20, from 2:30-3:30 p.m., room SN-2018
  • St. John’s campus (open session): Friday, Feb. 21, from 11 a.m.-12 p.m., room SN-2109
  • Blue Jeans session: Monday, Feb. 24, from 1:30-2:30 p.m. To join the session online via Blue Jeans, please send an email to Nic Kuzmochka
  • St. John’s campus (graduate student session; undergraduates welcome): Thursday, Feb. 27, from 1-2 p.m., room A-1046
  • Happy Valley-Goose Bay and the Labrador Institute: TBC.
  • Grenfell Campus (graduate student session; undergraduates welcome): Tuesday, March 3, from 12:30-1:30 p.m., room AS-2011
  • Grenfell Campus (open session): Tuesday, March 3, from 2:30-3:30 p.m., room AS-2011

Dates, times and locations will be available online once confirmed.

The policy and related documents will be revised based on input received during the consultation period. The final policy will go to Senate and the Board of Regents for approval.

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