We describe important elements in the process of engagement with tribal communities in research with children and youth and their families. We believe it helpful to understand the research relationship with tribal communities through the lens of kinship relations. This calls for re-examination of the nature of research and researcher, with important implications for the research process, design and organization, recovery from errors, and dissemination of results. Implications include a re-examination of some of our canons of research methods and research ethics, along with a willingness to address new challenges, to share control of the research process, and to be open to new conceptual perspectives, including alternative research strategies. Its repercussions hold promise for a deepening of the research relationship, and the role of researcher in the community.