The aim of this presentation is to examine and analyze how the shift from a Western research paradigm to an Indigenist worldview has influenced and changed every aspect of my personal and professional life. In my PhD research on the meaning of music for First Nations children with autism in BC, Canada, an ethnographic approach was used from the outset, using methods such as interviews, observations, filmed observations and field notes. Gradually, these methods did not suffice to capture the nature of the research topic or the researcher experience. As a Swedish, non-Indigenous researcher, my tribal connection and relationship to the Lake Babine Nation, through my step-mother and paternal sisters was fundamental in being able to do this research. Opening up to a worldview characterized by reciprocity and relationality led me on a path on my journey towards a PhD that I had not anticipated, which has caused me to wonder if I am there yet. Instead of being the expert, as a teacher working with children with autism or a researcher doing research, my position has changed to that of a novice. Just like a child in the beginning of her learning process, I too need guidance. The difference is that in traditional Western education, it is the parents and then the teachers who mentor the child. Within an Indigenous worldview, I, the novice, engage in reciprocal relationships with all in creation, including Knowledge, not only humans. Understanding the interconnectedness with body, mind and spirit opens up new interpretations and understandings of the whole research endeavor. Relationships must be in the core of the questions and are the answers to the questions. In regard to the PhD process, I am almost there, but as a learner of Indigenist Knowledge, my journey has just begun.
American Indigenous Research Association Conference Montana State University 20-12 oct 2016