There are a few things I wanted to write about, for a long time. I wanted to get them off my chest, not to air them out, but rather to expose the stories as they appear to me,
When we engage in Indigenous Stories, for research purposes, and for gathering information, it is always my understanding that, and speaking of which, the work I involve myself in, that it should be in line with Indigenous Methodologies. I always consider, how will this work reciprocate, how and who will this work benefit, who is the work for, who is the audience. What are the potential relationships being built? At who’s advantage? At who’s disadvantage, if any. Is the process respectful? Am I being respected? Am I being extracted? When does it become something I don’t agree with?
Here is the research issue I often deal with.. when does it become slimy? I use this word because I don’t really know what or how else to define my work, when it is starting to feel exploited, or exploitive.
To set my record straight, I have had to really be strict about my work. Where I did my work? Who was my work engaging in. What is the greater purpose? How are the relationships aligning? Is everything and everyone being considered and cared for?
When I wrote my thesis, its the biggest thing I ever did publish, it got stuck momentarily when an non-Indigenous reviewer became very finicking about my “Indigenous Research Methods”, get it.. I am the Indigenous Researcher used my Lived Experience and well versed within Indigenous Methodologies, yet, my own body of research was in the “stuck” mode. She made all sorts of excuses, and comments. Her passive aggressive power mongering over my body of research, nearly failed me from the program. As I was about to give birth literally around the same time as everything being due, quite literally, it was stuck in her hands. My supervisor, thankfully so, stood up for me. He and I talked one day about a lesson called integrity which I always remember. Integrity meaning, about belief in yourself. Owning your expertise. There was a part in my thesis that she was pushing to be changed. My supervisor was like “I stand behind you here”, and started to talk about integrity. This was something I had not been familiar about, but we both knew, we were ok with what was written. More than ok. We knew it was done.
Wearing your crown.
Honouring your research, time, and work.
It was his reminder and support, when I was writing my thesis, to not change an area that this passive aggressive power mongering suggested I change.
While calling people names may not be productive, how does one survive by not?
I have other times when my integrity came into question. It seems to be a common theme. I suppose the best way to describe this too, can be when we start to feel like this is not ours anymore. That we are somehow dismissing our knowledge.
What is my answer to criticism, to the opposite of faith, of belief in my work.
Believing in the impact that it has.
Knowing that I have participated in meaningful work.
Not needing validation.
Knowing I am good enough.
Knowing that I took into consideration all my areas of consideration: respect, reciprocity, relevance.
Realising that I am doing my best, that integrity is about dedication.
Of course we have the right to support. To help. To building the best worlds possible. For everyone. My knowledge is cherished, shared, and a valuable tool.