Archiving Knowledge: Centering Indigenous Knowledge Systems in Community-Based Archives

Regions: North Slave Region

Tags: social sciences, Indigenous knowledge

Principal Investigator: Supernant, Kisha (2)
Licence Number: 16915
Organization: University of Alberta
Licensed Year(s): 2021
Issued: Nov 04, 2021
Project Team: Fay Fletcher, Anne Carr-Wiggin, James Knibb-Lamouche, Kimberly Fairman, Amanda Almond, Rebecca Bourgeois

Objective(s): To learn from local Elders and knowledge keepers culturally appropriate ways of stewarding and protecting Indigenous knowledge; to explore critical issues including policies and guidelines for repatriation, building archives, and ensuring Indigenous data sovereignty; and teaching of knowledge mobilization and future research based on Elder and knowledge keepers.

Project Description: This licence has been issued for the scientific research application No.5038.

The goals of this project are to:
1) learn from local Elders and knowledge keepers’ culturally appropriate ways of stewarding and protecting Indigenous knowledge;
2) explore critical issues including policies and guidelines for repatriation, building archives, and ensuring Indigenous data sovereignty; and
3) knowledge mobilization and future research based on Elder and knowledge keeper teachings.

The archiving knowledge project builds upon relationships started in 2019 when project team members including northern Elders, James Knibb-Lamouche (Indigenous Knowledge and Wisdom Centre), Kimberly Fairman (Institute of Circumpolar Health Research), and Kisha Supernant (University of Alberta) participated in land-based learning as part of the KIAS-funded Experiential Learning for Indigenous Knowledge Collaboration project. The research team is now expanding to include Tli?cho Elders and knowledge keepers, and a doctoral student exploring repatriation to enrich discussions for future research proposals on ways that Indigenous knowledge systems (IKS) can inform and guide the organization, storage, access to, and stewardship of Indigenous archives.

In this phase of the project, participants will build relationships within the team, develop a shared vision based on the knowledge shared, and prepare applications for next-stage funding opportunities, including MITACS (Mathematics of Information Technology and Complex Systems) and SSHRC (Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council). This will be done through four circles where team members and participants will have directed, but informal, group discussions about the cultural intricacies of stewardship, data sovereignty, and the return of cultural belongings.

This project is part of a larger Experiential Learning for Indigenous Knowledge Collaboration KIAS project. This larger project links a number of learning circles, or sub-projects, such as this one. The learning resulting from this project will be relayed back to the larger group to mobilize the knowledge generated from the circles and contribute to the larger goal of exploring land-based learning and the synergy of different ways of knowledge and relationships.

The circles will be recorded and transcribed. From each of these, key learnings and questions will be summarized and shared back with the group (researchers and participants). These summaries will be shared in advance of the next circle, informing future circles in an iterative process. The key learnings and questions will help guide future discussions. The summaries will be prepared by a doctoral graduate research assistant, and supervised by the Principal Investigator and other research team members.

The communication plan will be developed during the learning circles, under advisement of local Elders about the best way to share what have learned together.

The fieldwork for this study will be conducted from November 3, 2021 to December 31, 2021.