It’s Not Just About the Destination, but Also the Journey: Reflections on Research with Indigenous Women Food Growers
Keywords:Agroecology, Food Sovereignty, Indigenous Knowledge, Indigenous Methodologies, Indigenous Peoples, Kaupapa Māori, Knowledge Exchange, Participatory Approaches, Traditional Food Systems, Women, Gender
AbstractResearch with Indigenous Peoples has a history associated with colonialism, oppression, and power and control dynamics. In order to work with Indigenous communities within a research context, unique methodologies encompassing Indigenous values, participatory approaches, and horizontal collaboration and/or knowledge exchange is required. The reflective essay explores how I (author Stein) utilized a blend of participatory and Indigenous research methodologies, including kaupapa Māori, which is unique to Māori of Aotearoa (New Zealand) and encompasses Māori cultural values, aspirations, and tikanga (protocols). While the research explored how Māori women are reclaiming the food system and promoting agroecology, food self-reliance, and alternative visions based on Māori cultural values and traditions, this article is a reflective work based on my experiential learning through the process of utilizing a participatory methodology and kaupapa Māori. Nonetheless, I touch upon key research findings. The vastly opposing worldviews between Indigenous women promoting agroecological farming and the industrial model of food production are representative of the conflicting values of an Indigenous versus an academic worldview. In this paper, I set out a series of reflections on working with Indigenous Māori women within a research context; the challenges and tribulations that were overcome; as well as how kaupapa Māori, an Indigenous methodology, expands on participatory research.
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