On September 28th and 29th, the South Central Climate Science Center (SC CSC) partnered with the University of Oklahoma, the Chickasaw Nation of Oklahoma, and the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma to host two interactive workshops designed to provide researchers with a framework of best practices for working in Indian Country.
Titled “Shifting Landscapes: Protocol Training for Building Long-Term Research Relationships in Oklahoma Indian Country,” the trainings were attended by over 50 people (including grad students, faculty, and tribal members) representing a whole spectrum of disciples from biology to anthropology to history.
Presenters included Todd Fuller, Ph.D, from the University of Oklahoma, Dannielle Branam of the Choctaw Nation, and Michael Peercy and Bobby Saunkeah of the Chickasaw Nation. The presenters discussed a range of topics, from proper etiquette when meeting tribal members to working with tribal Institutional Review Boards. Each speaker emphasized the importance of working directly with tribes in every stage of the research process. The presentations were complimented by lively discussion and group activities. A panel of native and non-native researchers was also convened to answer participant questions about working with tribes.
The trainings precede the release of “Working in Indian Country,” a comprehensive guidebook written specifically for researchers committed to building long term research relationships with tribal nations. The guidebook will be available online later this year.
The SC CSC recognizes that tribes are critical research partners in the South Central US, possessing their own essential bodies of knowledge across a wide variety of disciplines. Through this workshop, the upcoming guidebook, and other activities, the SC CSC hopes to foster more collaborative research relationships with sovereign tribal nations in Oklahoma.