The Center for Native American Research and Collaboration (CNRC) continues its efforts to promote the importance of Indigenous knowledge and to facilitate collaborative research. While such needs are great, we benefit from the support of the administration and from many faculty members and staff throughout WSU and beyond. We remain committed to our work, and we’re initiating new policies, workshops, and other activities that help us meet these needs.

Dr. Zoe Higheagle Strong listens while Josiah Pinkham discuss research in the Nez Perce community with affiliates of the Center for Native American Research and Collaborations.

Twenty-nine CNRC Affiliates and Associates met on September 27, at the Nez Perce National Historical Park Visitor Center. There, we listened to a presentation by Nez Perce Tribe Cultural Resources representative Josiah Pinkham on research approval processes and the values that inform them. Then, attendees discussed engaging Native students in research, Tribal relations and research, and similar topics. We expect to post a video of the meeting, recorded by the Center for Digital Scholarship & Curation, on our CNRC Resources webpage soon. The information it presents should be a great help to anyone engaged in collaborative research, particularly in Nez Perce country.

On October 2, Affiliates and Associates met a second time on the WSU Pullman campus. In this meeting, the twenty-one attending members each described their research interests with the intent of identifying protentional collaborators, members with similar interest, and so on. This information will also be shared online.

Affiliate Activities

On October 25, CNRC Affiliate Dr. Robbie Paul (Nez Perce), retired Director of WSU Native Health Sciences, opened an exhibit, titled “Grandfather’s Trunk,” on the impact of boarding schools upon her family. The opening featured a talk by Dr. Paul, as well as a presentation by Marsha Small (N. Cheyenne), who described her ongoing efforts to locate the graves of students who died at various boarding schools. The exhibit, which is co-curated by Dr. Paul, is located in the Manuscripts, Archives, and Special Collections section of WSU’s Terrell Library. The exhibit is open to the public between 8:30 AM and 4:30 PM until March 16.

CNRC Affiliate Dr. Ben Shors, of the WSU Edward R. Murrow College of Communication, recently directed a documentary film on the flood that devastated parts of the Blackfeet Reservation in 1964. Shors showed his film, titled The Blackfeet Flood, on campus on November 7. Shors was joined in discussions before and after the showing by co-producers Torsten Kjellstrand and Lailani Upham. Upham, who was born and raised on the Blackfeet Reservation, also served as cultural advisor. The showing was sponsored by the Murrow College, Native American Programs, and the Natives in Media student organization.  The film premiered on PBS on November 25.

Anyone interested in learning more about the Affiliates and Associates program find information an overview at our website. There, you can read about our mission and values.  You can also read about the various types of membership available. WSU faculty and staff, Tribal members, and employees at other institutions are all welcome to apply.

Indigenous Research

Recently, in collaboration with the WSU Human Subjects Internal Review Board, the CNRCH drafted a checklist for IRB member reviewing research applications involving Native communities and individuals. We are still in the editing process, but we expect to have the checklist ready for use by IRB members in the spring semester. At that time, we are also happy to share it with other individuals and institutions.

For faculty members and other researchers interested in Indigenous Research Methodologies and conducting ethical research with tribes–whether that research involves Human subjects, material culture, oral history, or the environment–the CRRC will host two training in spring semester. These are tentatively scheduled for January 23 and January 24. Each workshop will follow the same agenda, in order to make this information available to those with different schedules. Further information will be posted on the CNRC Resources webpage. Meanwhile, interested individuals can find a list of academic publications on Indigenous Research Methodologies and related topics on the same webpage.

Student Support

The CNRC continues to support work beyond its core research mission, including the Native American Pre-Health Program and Graduate/Professional Student Support. Members of the Pre-Health Program meet together weekly in study sessions and biweekly in discussions that focus upon topics relevant to their studies. In October, second year members Emma Stewart (pre-speech and language sciences), Emely Rodas (neuroscience and pre-vet), and Amaya Pelagio (psychology and pre-med) attended the annual meeting of the  American Indian Science and Engineering Society in Milwaukee. They were joined by Dr. Lokensgard, undergraduate Breanne Searing (microbiology), and graduate student Tyler Fouty (hydrology). The trip was supported by WSU’s Graduate School and the PNW-COSMOS Alliance for Native American Education and the Professoriate (funded by NSF AGEP-T grant # 1432932).

For more information about WSU’s Center for Native American Research & Collaboration, or any of its activities, contact Assistant Director Dr. Ken Lokensgard.