Indigenous and non-Indigenous researchers of Indigenous peoples and contexts have argued that any research involving Indigenous communities must align with Indigenous paradigms, follow critical cultural protocols, and promote emancipatory agendas. This ensures ethical and culturally appropriate research practices that prioritize community needs while placing the interests, experiences, and knowledge of Indigenous peoples at the center of research methodologies. Drawing from canonical scholars who have explicated and refined, over time, the meaning of Indigenous methodologies, this article first offers my synthesis of their collective conceptualizations. Next, I reflexively consider my application and, at times, misapplication of Indigenous methodologies with Indigenous and white participants in a study I carried out exploring Indigenous family and community-school engagement. I conclude by offering some implications for researchers who desire and have the responsibility to conduct research in ethical ways that honor Indigenous ways of knowing, being, and doing in research with/in Indigenous communities.


Indigenous methodologies, Indigenous methods, Indigenous research, Indigenous communities, family, community engagement

Author Bio(s)

Shaneé A. Washington (she/her) is an Assistant Professor in the College of Education at the University of Washington. Her research explores Indigenous and Black families’ and communities’ self-determination and advocacy efforts towards more equitable, humanizing, and culturally sustaining/revitalizing educational experiences for their children. Her commitments to amplifying the self-determining educational justice work of communities who have experienced schools as sites of erasure and dehumanization stems from her own experiences as a Black woman, mother, and former middle school teacher of Black, Brown, disabled, immigrant, and bi/multilingual students. Please direct correspondence to shaneewa@uw.edu.


I want to thank the Indigenous parents and community leaders and teachers and administrators who welcomed me into their town and school district and without whom this research would not have been possible.

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