Volume 14 Issue 3, July 2018
Original Article: Empirical
Research ethics, informed consent and the disempowerment of First Nation peoples
Juan M Tauri
First Published November 14, 2017; pp. 1–14
Recently, Indigenous commentators have begun to analyse the way in which institutional Research Ethics Boards (REBs) engage with Indigenous researchers and participants, respond to Indigenous peoples’ concerns with academic research activities, and scrutinise the ethics proposals of Indigenous scholars. Of particular concern for Indigenous commentators is that the work of REBs often results in the marginalisation of Indigenous approaches to knowledge construction and dissemination, especially in relation to the vexed issue of informed consent. Based on analysis of the results of research with Indigenous researchers and research participants, this paper argues that institutionalised REBs’ preference for ‘universal’ and ‘individualised’ approaches for determining ethical research conduct marginalises Indigenous approaches to ethical research conduct. The paper concludes by calling for a decolonisation of REB processes through recognition of the validity of communal processes for attaining the informed consent of Indigenous research participants.