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Water Today Title June 3, 2023

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Update 2022/1/18 First Nation Water


Indigenous People Participation in Rural Health Science Journals

By Suzanne Forcese

“Indigenous Peoples’ cultural knowledge should be treated with respect, regardful of the diversity of their/our Nations and cultural strengths. However, rural health research publishing is guilty of silencing Indigenous Peoples through discursive practices such as author credentials. Therefore, we – a collaboration of Indigenous and non-Indigenous scholars – declare, nothing about Indigenous Peoples, without Indigenous Peoples.” - Position Statement released by the Society of Rural Physicians of Canada & The Australian Journal of Rural Health

Lead author of a Policy Paper, Indigenous Australian researcher, Dr. Mark Lock (Ngiyampaa) has stated that articles concerning Indigenous Peoples in Rural Health Research Policy will be rejected if they do not acknowledge an Indigenous author or provide evidence of a participatory process of Indigenous community engagement.

WATERTODAY spoke with Dr. Peter Hutten-Czapski, Professor of Family Medicine, Northern Ontario School of Medicine. Dr. Hutten-Czapski is also scientific editor of the Canadian Journal of Rural Medicine.

“In the Canadian context,” Dr. Hutten-Czapski told WT, we need to think about the relationship of the majority of Canadians to the First Nations Peoples of Canada. We need to think of more than symbolic terms and more in tangible terms.”

Dr. Hutten-Czapski refers to a research legacy as being “horrible studies not researched for, with, or by Indigenous Peoples.”

“For research to be valid and documented and saved there must be collaboration. It does not make sense unless you involve the Indigenous Peoples because it matters to the Indigenous populations.”

The Policy Paper jointly released by the Australian Journal of Rural Health, the Canadian Journal of Rural Medicine, and Rural and Remote Health aims to enable a culturally safe academic publishing system.

Dr. Mark Lock of Australia welcomes this culturally strong move with his statement:

“This is but one point in a journey through complicated publication processes, and our call to action is for all researchers to join us to develop a culturally safe academic publishing process through co-design and genuine engagement with Indigenous Nations worldwide.”


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