Engaging in Indigenous CBPR Within Academia: A Critical Narrative

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17 Scopus citations


Historical accounts of research conducted in American Indian (AI) communities have shown that research activities have not always been in the best interest of tribes. In some instances, research conducted with tribes has been harmful and resulted in unnecessary trauma and distress. In response to past wrongdoings, many researchers now seek to engage tribal communities in research that is collaborative, respectful, and reciprocal. Community-based participatory research (CBPR) is one such “epistemological orientation” that has the potential to address the “oppressive, exploitive legacy of research done on Indigenous people.” This article details the author’s experience of engaging in CBPR during their dissertation study of the significance of water and its relationship to AI health and well-being. The author reflects on their firsthand account of developing and implementing the study in partnership with a local tribe. Particular attention is given to the processes of CBPR through an illustrative case example that took place on an AI reservation located in the Midwestern United States. The case example is informed by “counter storytelling” and is critically reviewed using the principle tenants of CBPR. The article concludes with implications for doctoral education and research with AI communities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)379-394
Number of pages16
JournalAffilia - Journal of Women and Social Work
Issue number3
StatePublished - Aug 1 2018


  • American Indians
  • CBPR
  • Indigenous
  • community-based participatory research
  • doctoral education
  • social work

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gender Studies
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)


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