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Our 2018 meeting was held on October 11-13, 2018 (Indigenous peoples weekend) in Polson, Montana, at the KwaTakNuk Resort on beautiful Flathead Lake.

  • Our Keynote speaker was Linda Tuhiwai Smith, author of the highly influential book Decolonizing Methodologies: Research and Indigenous Peoples.
  • Our Friday Night Banquet speaker was Melissa K. Nelson, Turtle Mountain/Chippewa. A Native ecologist, writer, media-maker and indigenous scholar-activist, she is the president/CEO of The Cultural Conservancy, a Native-led indigenous rights organization she has directed since 1993.
  • Also featuring Eduardo Duran
  • Workshop presenter on Thursday morning at 9:30AM was Dr. Shawn Wilson, author of Research is Ceremony.

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Announcement: AIRA now has its own online journal!! Deadlines for manuscripts Submissions June 1 and December 1

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The 2017 AIRA annual meeting was held October 20 and 21, 2017. Read the 2017 Annual Meeting Report and view presentations.

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Photo by Frank Tyro, Ph.D. All rights reserved.

INBRE Funded for its initial 4 years, AIRA today is an Independent Native 501c3 organization with 1500 Indigenous and non-Indigenous members from around the globe. The Board of Directors includes members who are enrolled in several tribes across America. The mission of the American Indigenous Research Association is to promote, foster, and apply Indigenous Research Methods — methods based in the paradigms, philosophies, knowledge systems, values and beliefs of Indigenous communities, engaged in research — to any and all research carried out with Indigenous peoples. The American Indigenous Research Association strives to promote community and individual development, self-determination, and decolonization of Indigenous peoples and goes beyond the methods of CBPR.

AIRA aims to educate the research community, the public, and Indigenous communities about respectful and ethically sound investigations from an Indigenous paradigm.

Membership in the Association is $10/year and available to professionals, students, and community members alike. Visit this page to join us and become part of the beautiful pattern of different people and cultures woven into a single whole that is AIRA, as represented by the beaded pattern at the top of this page.

Indigenous research methodologies are place-based methods of gathering and disseminating data with attention to the paradigm (world view), and cultural values of the researcher, and the community where the research is taking place. Indigenous Research Methodologies differ from the Western approach because they flow from tribal knowledge. Information is gained through relationship — with people in a specific Place, with the culture of Place as understood through our own cultures, with the source of the research data, and with the person who knows or tells the story that provides information. The researcher acknowledges a personal relationship with the story itself and how it is interpreted by both the teller and the researcher. In colonial academic models, the research project and data are separated from the researcher, who is merely an onlooker.

Though the data collected by Indigenous Research Methodologies can be analyzed quantitatively as well as qualitatively, just like data collected by Western research methods, the acknowledged relationship between researcher and data naturally challenges Western research paradigms. But Indigenous Research Methodologies are powerful and worthwhile despite this challenge, because they provide vital opportunities to contribute to the body of knowledge about the natural world and Indigenous peoples.

Our inaugural conference was held in the fall of 2013 at Salish Kootenai College in Pablo, Montana on the Flathead Indian Reservation. The 2014 Meeting was held Oct 10-11 and the 2015 meeting from October 22-24, also at SKC. Thanks to our funders: Montana INBRE, and Alaska EPSCoR.

AIRA dividerCitations for the text in the first paragraph of this page: Margaret Kovach, 2010. Indigenous Methodologies: Characteristics, Conversations, and Context;  Linda Tuhiawi Smith, 1999. Decolonizing Methodologies; Shawn Wilson, 2008.  Research is Ceremony: Indigenous Research Methods.