Indigenous ways of knowing: implications for participatory research and community

Am J Public Health. 2008 Jan;98(1):22-7. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2006.093641. Epub 2007 Nov 29.


Researchers have a responsibility to cause no harm, but research has been a source of distress for indigenous people because of inappropriate methods and practices. The way researchers acquire knowledge in indigenous communities may be as critical for eliminating health disparities as the actual knowledge that is gained about a particular health problem. Researchers working with indigenous communities must continue to resolve conflict between the values of the academic setting and those of the community. It is important to consider the ways of knowing that exist in indigenous communities when developing research methods. Challenges to research partnerships include how to distribute the benefits of the research findings when academic or external needs contrast with the need to protect indigenous knowledge.

MeSH terms

  • Ethics, Research*
  • Humans
  • Intellectual Property
  • Patient Rights / ethics*
  • Population Groups / psychology*
  • Research Subjects / psychology*
  • Trust / psychology*