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Indigenous Cultural Competency: Indigenous research

Indigenous research

In our quest to produce graduates who are culturally competent in Indigenous knowledge and culture, it is important that Curtin engages in Indigenous research.  This means focusing on:

  • identifiying Indigenous issues as one it its key research themes within the University
  • appointing staff at Senior or Executive levels, to coordinate Indigenous research programs
  • creating guidelines to ensure protocols are followed carefully when dealing with Indigenous issues/subjects eg ensuring research is safe etc
  • recognising the importance of Indigenous research at an institutional level
  • ensuring the research is of benefit to Indigenous communities
  • engaging with the Indigenous communities
  • providing encouragement and support for potential research staff and students
  • developing staff and students' research skills

Past research....

The general view of Indigenous research is that:

  • there is little or no respect for Indigenous ethical concerns
  • researchers have little or no consultation with the people or communities affected
  • the research has been one-sided with no benefits flowing back to Indigenous communities
  • the research is of poor quality, with findings and recommendations not reflecting the reality of Indigenous experience
  • This is supported by the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) report, which indicated that fifty per cent of funded research projects on Indigenous health issues failed due to the above.

AIATSIS and research

  • AIATSIS has played an important role in the development of Indigenous researchers in Australia.
  • AIATSIS is recognised as the national leader of research excellence in Indigenous studies, fostering national and international networks and knowledge transfer.
  • AIATSIS has responsibility for a multitude of research programs and services.
  • It engages in partnerships with research institutions and Indigenous regional alliances, communities and individuals.
  • It is focused on building researcher capacity and managing the challenges associated in developing Indigenous research capacity (training provisions, grant rounds, recruiting Indigenous researchers, employment) 
  • AIATSIS Research Publications publishes scholarly, peer-reviewed research on a range of topics in the field of Indigenous studies. 

Research Centres

In order to forge ahead and become more culturally competent, it is important that Curtin form partnerships with other faculties and organisations within and outside the University. Here are some examples of Curtin's collaborations:

Curtin University's Indigenous Research Centre (CIRC) and is commited to the pursuit of Indigenous research and the dissemination of Indigenous research resources. It works to help in the advancement of Indigenous people through its research programs.

CIRC aims to actively contribute to the empowerment of Indigenous people and communities through its devotion to Indigenous control, participation and influence over research and development activities.

Curtin Health Innovation Research Institute (CHIRI) is the first of its kind in Australia, and brings together Curtin's health researchers to work with industry partners, government and the wider community. It focuses on inter-professional education programs and research opportunities.

The National Drug Research Institute (NDRI) is Curtin's most well known health research centre.  The institute responded to the Government's recommendations from the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody through the establishment of the Indigenous Australian Research Program (IARP).

Centre for Sport and Recreation Research (CSRR)

CSRR, in partnership with CAS, aim to gain an insight into the value of sport and recreation from an Indigenous Australian perspective. It has recently developed a database for industry use, and is integral in developing business cases for initiatives involving Nyoongar people. The Centre also conducts research on the link between Aboriginal culture and sport and recreation.

The Centre for Aboriginal Studies (CAS) aims to promote positive social change for Indigenous Australians through higher education and research.  The Centre:

  • offers higher degree courses that develop research skills in the area of Indigenous research and development
  • has a research hub for research students doing their Honours and Higher Degree by Research programs
  • has staff and research fellows who are actively engaged in areas of research pertaining to Indigenous education, health and community management
  • encourages students  to  participate and undertake research activities that benefits the Indigenous communities at large
  • has research partnerships with other areas within the University and off-campus
  • engages in collaborative research with the various faculties into areas such as Indigenous health, sustainability, justice, tourism and business.

For more information on Curtin's research partnerships and industry engagement, check out the website.

Aboriginal artwork

Conducting Indigenous research at Curtin

Curtin staff and students engaged in research in Indigenous communities, are required to follow set guidelines. The following considerations are important:

  • understanding the history of Indigenous people
  • Indigenous diversity - knowledge of the diversity between the different groups
  • protocols for entering and researching a community - rules to abide when engaging with Indigenous communities

For more information, view the documents below.

Policies, Procedures and Guidelines