blog article

Why the sector must boost support for those working in Indigenous research

29th June 2022

Author: Ana Luíza Rossato Facco, Lecturer and PhD Candidate (Brazil)

Ana Luiza Rossato Facco photo

Indigenous research is gaining support and recognition but there are challenges to overcome.

Researchers in this field need to gain consent from communities, earn their trust, and adjust their research approaches to suit, which can lengthen the time it takes to finish a project. Once the research is ready to publish, it can then be difficult to find a high-impact journal willing to publish the work.

There is also the very important issue of loneliness. You might be the only one in your institute conducting Indigenous research, making it difficult to connect with others in this field. But you and your research could really benefit if you had the opportunity to exchange experiences and learn from fellow researchers.

My first Indigenous research project

As an early career researcher working in Indigenous research, I’m only just beginning to face some of these challenges. My research is a relatively new area that explores social innovation and scalability, focusing on traditional people in the Amazonian region.

In the past, traditional peoples have been exploited by organisations, so it's difficult for them to trust researchers, especially researchers from a business school. This barrier makes it hard to gain access to these communities and then get real responses.

You and your research could really benefit if you had the opportunity to exchange experiences and learn from fellow researchers

To conduct Indigenous research, researchers need to obtain free, prior and informed consent (FPIC) from Indigenous communities and individuals. For my research, I sought permission from the leaders of the traditional community I wanted to interview. It was a very anxious process because I needed to convince 10 people. Thankfully, they were lovely and kind and gave me permission to do the interviews, as well as help me schedule them.

Although it can take time to gain approval, FPIC is a necessary step. It’s important that our research is ethical and that we improve our research practices – we must respect and respond to the needs of traditional and Indigenous peoples and ensure our research benefits them.

Emerald's Indigenous peoples advisory board

To advance Indigenous research, we need more support from the sector, including opportunities to network with others in this field, share ideas and learn.

One initiative that recently caught my attention was Emerald’s 2022 campaign to amplify Indigenous voices. This is the kind of support and help I have been looking for, so I was naturally delighted when Emerald approached me to join their Indigenous Peoples Advisory Board.

Through the Advisory Board, I hope to share my knowledge, keep learning about Indigenous people, collaborate with others and create more awareness about our research. 

It's not easy for everyone to talk about this, for me language is the main barrier, but dialogue is the best thing that we can do to advance this field and break down barriers.

I hope that by creating more awareness about Indigenous research we can prompt the sector to take more action to raise the profile of Indigenous research. In turn, I hope this work empowers traditional and Indigenous peoples and leads to equal opportunities and benefits.

About the author

Ana Luíza Rossato Facco is a Faculty Member in the Management Department of Unicruz, Brazil, and a PhD Candidate in Business at the Unisinos Business School, Brazil, focusing on social innovation.

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