Guiding principles for working in Indigenous northern communities

Guiding Principles cover image

Respect is at the heart of all northern cultures and ethnicities. Working in northern regions requires mutual respect for and willingness to listen to and learn from unfamiliar cultural practices, languages, norms, traditions, and ways of life. While working respectfully in northern regions, Woodwell researchers should:

  1. Abide by international, federal, state, and local laws and regulations, and follow any existing research protocols while working in U.S. and international northern environments
  2. Contact and communicate with local city, corporation, tribe, and other relevant entities throughout the entirety of research (including proposal-writing and pre-planning) to allow for transparency and as a form of respect
  3. Familiarize themselves with local cultures, land ownership/use, historical events, and relevant entities before traveling to northern environments
  4. Incorporate travel support in your research proposals for attending relevant state/local conferences and workshops to share your research, network with appropriate entities, and build relationships
  5. Take into account the knowledge and experience of the people, and respect any sharing of such knowledge and experience in the research process. The incorporation of relevant traditional knowledge into all stages of research is highly encouraged
  6. Provide financial compensation for local people/elders for any time, energy, input, and/or contributions made during the research project
  7. Give appropriate credit and recognition, including in publications and presentations, to any locals who contributed to your research
  8. Guarantee confidentiality of any surveys and/or sensitive material
  9. Communicate on-going and final research objectives, methods, findings and their interpretation to the community in a language that is easily understood and applicable
  10. Ensure that the research itself is not exploitative of any traditional and sacred land, its resources, or its inhabitants
  11. Use Indigenous land acknowledgments at the beginning of presentations and meetings, and in publications as a form of respect and visibility

Woodwell’s guiding principles are based on conversations with locals, personal experiences, and the previous work and/or documents listed in the full document regarding this line of work.

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