Episode
August 16, 2018

Is there an ethical way to research indigenous people?

Native communities seek an end to intrusive and exploitative research.
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They are not some exhibit in a living museum so why do they often get treated as such? For many years, Indigenous communities around the world have been bombarded with scientists seeking to learn from man’s earliest ancestors. But, now, some of those communities are pushing back, telling scientists and researchers they are not available to be studied without consultation.

"They don't all respect personal boundaries. They don't think they need to respect us,” Leana Snyders, director of the San Council, said last year in an interview with GroundUp.

Last March, three groups of San people in South Africa established guidelines for researchers. The code of ethics outlined how they expected to be treated.  “They must knock on the front door and wait to be let in’. That’s what this code is about. It’s for us to decide to open the door. It’s to stop exploitation,” Snyders said.

Similar codes have been developed by other indigenous people in North America and Australia. On this episode we will speak to members of indigenous communities about what scientists get wrong and learn how they should conduct their research. 


On this episode of The Stream we speak with:

Julie Bull @julierbull
Inuk Researcher
juliebull.net

Anthony Philliip Williams @WayuThinking
Executive Chairman, Indigenous First Nation Advocacy South Africa
www.ifnasa.co.za

Tom Calma
Indigenous social justice and human rights advocate
https://www.reconciliation.org.au

Read more: 

San people of South Africa issue code of ethics for researchers - Smithsonian 
The ethics of research: how to end the exploitation of vulnerable communities - The Conversation 

What do you think? Leave your thoughts in the comment section below. 

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