Wise Funding Meeting

November 17th, 2015 an all-day meeting was held at the OHTN in Toronto to discuss barriers and issues faced by Indigenous researchers when applying for funding. Wise Funding Practices is a project that aims to ensure that research funding mechanisms acknowledge our Indigenous values, principles and research methods. While some funders endorse principles such as OCAPtm (Ownership, Control, Access, and Possession; First Nations Information Governance Centre, 2013), work still needs to be done to incorporate Indigenous principles into funding processes that can be applied by agencies and organizations.  The OHTN acknowledges OCAP but wants to ensure the inclusion of ethical research principles for Metis and Inuit communities and community protocols as well. Until this is accomplished current funding mechanisms will contradict Indigenous research methods.

Participants from all over Canada participated in discussions regarding the review process and consensus was reached on the importance of cultural relevance and the importance of Indigenous values and principles. Some key items of discussion included the possibility of an Indigenous Code of Conduct versus conflict of interest declarations. Participants identified current funding processes as colonial, and identified a number of barriers that arise for Indigenous research projects seeking funding through the current systems. Guidelines related to perceived nepotism or conflicts of interest, and the devalued role of community knowledge were particularly noted.

Next steps include interviewing other Indigenous researchers about their experience seeking funding using the current system as well as revising application processes so that they are consistent with the specific needs of Indigenous research.

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