Research is Ceremony

As a Chicano who acknowledges both my European and Indigenous heritage, I think it is important for me to take into consideration ceremonial practices when conducting research. During my college years at Humboldt State University, I was introduced to the concept of the Indigenous Research Paradigm. Shawn Wilson (2009) describes this paradigm as a way that guides our actions as researchers. These beliefs include the way that we view reality (ontology), how we think about or know this reality (epistemology), our ethics and morals (axiology), and how we think about gaining more knowledge about reality (methodology). A strong indigenous research paradigm can provide ways to celebrate the uniqueness and glory of indigenous cultures. Currently I am reading Gregory Cajetes’ Native Science: Natural Laws of Interdependence, in order to better understand this paradigm that I am shifting towards. So far the book has blown my mind with the immense knowledge that it has available. I am using this as a foundation for my research work that I am currently involved in. However, I also acknowledge that this project is my supervisors’ and I must respect their ethics while understanding the paradigms, pedagogy, and limitations of Western science. As I continue my journey this summer I will conduct my research in a ceremonial manner. A ceremony that I will solely take up since I am working by myself for 5-8 days out in the back country. I will take the knowledge gained by my mentors to guide my ethics and epistemology along my journey. Image of my campsite at White Wolf in Yosemite National Park. View of White Wolf are at Yosemite National Park.

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