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Decolonizing Methodologies: Research and Indigenous Peoples

4.41  ·  Rating details ·  1,159 ratings  ·  73 reviews
From the vantage point of the colonized, the term 'research' is inextricably linked with European colonialism; the ways in which scientific research has been implicated in the worst excesses of imperialism remains a powerful remembered history for many of the world's colonized peoples. Here, an indigenous researcher issues a clarion call for the decolonization of research ...more
Paperback, 224 pages
Published March 15th 1999 by Zed Books (first published 1999)
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Average rating 4.41  · 
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 ·  1,159 ratings  ·  73 reviews


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Karen
May 25, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: re-read
Dense and laborious to get through, but (unlike so many theoretical works) not because it was incomprehensible, but because every sentence seemed vital and applicable to my own work and needed to be mulled over in my mind. As a non-indigenous historian in-training, it felt a bit naughty to be reading the work as the author stated rather sternly in her intro that her intended audience is for indigenous researchers doing indigenous research. In many ways, however, I feel this warning was a ruse in ...more
Hafsa
Dec 23, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: theory
Smith’s book is split into two parts. The first part addresses the complications of the role of “research” within an indigenous framework and the history of European or Western colonization in using research to commit some of the worst excesses of imperial history. She discusses the major concepts that frame Western approaches to research and how problematic that approach is when applied to an indigenous context. This first half basically gives the background for the need to decolonize Western m ...more
Gise
May 31, 2009 rated it it was amazing
This book saved my life when I was attempting to write a research paper in a colonialist discipline using anti-colonialist/ counter-hegemonic/ indigenous traditional practices. Its literally handbook for just that. People of indigenous backgrounds of all sorts should consider this book in their process of cultural self-determiantion. Linda Tuhiwai-Smith is awesome I hella want to be able to write and process at the level.
Sue Lyle
Apr 20, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is an important book for anyone who is interested in research for social justice. The book is divided into two parts. Part 1 provides a critique of Western research practices and reveals its colonising underbelly. The author demonstrates the imperialistic impact of racist attitudes and practices on indigenous peoples across the world that continues today. In part two Linda Tuhiwal Smith, a Maori professor of research constructs a radical alternative methodology rooted in commitment to Decol ...more
Lesliemae
Woah.

The speed with which I gobbled this book up (a matter of hours) - tells any reader more than enough about my capacity for knowledge acquisition and knowing-power, the message the book sends to me, however, I need the rest of my life to work out and enact, of that I'm sure. This may be the most important book that I've read about my position in this life (as a scholar) and my own research... ever. I'm a white colonial about to embark upon a Euro-centric research project that attempts a decol
...more
junior
Apr 09, 2008 rated it it was ok
what a pain in the ass
hami
Linda Tuhiwai Smith’s decolonial methodology is centered around the politics of sovereignty and self-determination for indigenous peoples. She mentions that for indigenous peoples it is important to resist “being thrown in” with every other minority group by making claims based on prior rights.

Walter Mignolo included this book in his graduate seminar. For Mignolo, it is always revealing to see in the discussion who is feeling empowered by the book and who is feeling threatened and bothered. Writ
...more
Preethi Krishnan
Aug 30, 2020 rated it it was amazing
"The whole process of colonization can be viewed as a stripping away of mana (our standing in our own eyes), and an undermining of rangatiratanga (our ability and right to determine our destinies). Research is an important part of the colonization process because it is concerned
with defining legitimate knowledge."

"Research methodology is based on the skill of matching the problem with an 'appropriate' set of investigative strategies. It is concerned with ensuring that information is accessed in
...more
Michael Lever
Jun 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
This is accessible academic writing. For those of us who are not indigenous to the country we live in, the work offers a range of insights to indigenous attitudes to research and the western world view in general. For the most part however, the work offers indigenous peoples ways to counter the often inherent colonialist biases and values of the research world. These proposals and ways are not for me to engage in. In fact I feel that reading deeply in them would actually be an illustration of th ...more
Gina
Feb 08, 2019 rated it really liked it
There is some good food for thought, and I pulled other books I will want to read from here.

It was a little less accessible for me. That is not in terms of language and avoiding jargon or overdoing the academic speech, because for that is was great. However, the knowledge does relate to some fairly specific fields, and if you have no background in anthropology, academics, or indigenous rights, the material can be harder to grasp.

Despite that, one thing that was really helpful was some of the in
...more
Scot
Oct 24, 2010 rated it it was amazing
This is a great book; a must read for anyone involved in racial justice. Linda Tuhiwai Smith eloquently and succinctly makes the case for an anti-colonial methodology that runs counter to the history of colonizing research that has been so central to the oppression of native peoples. Drawing upon Ngugi wa Thong'o, Michel Foucault, Edward Said, and numerous indigenous scholars, Smith formulates a critique of the imperial world view and of scientism that, while not entirely novel, is rarely so wel ...more
Steph
Aug 30, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: poc, novel
It's good, but it's long on theory and short on story telling examples of colonizing and decolonizing.
Lots of redundancy. I think Smith could accomplish the same message with half the number of pages.

I particularly recommend chapter three and her discussion of authenticity. I have so many stories to share about people defining how "authentic" I am. You're not really Mexican. You're not really Black. You're not really American... yadda yadda... people who are mixed understand this pretension of
...more
Randi
Dec 09, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: any researcher type personality who asks why and cares about indigenous people
Too many things to list. I constantly use it as reference in my cross cultural studies courses, to write papers, write proposals for grants, etc. regarding indigenous movement to reclaim, etc. their traditional world views, take identities back, make new programs, address current social issues, etc. A must read, it was heavy material for me, just conceptually, not really difficult to grasp the ideas, just so much brain stimulation happening.
Andrew Murano
Apr 07, 2015 rated it really liked it
As I have recently conducted fieldwork with and am currently writing about a topic related to indigenous decolonization against 'Western' power structures, I found this book to be an essential tool to help frame my thesis from a balanced perspective.
Sadiya Patel
Mar 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
a wonderful book and perspective on decolonizing our academia, research and the methodologies we use. a must read for all research students, especially in social sciences and humanities.
Emily Anderson
Dec 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Instrumental literature for thinking about the way I conduct research and exist as a white person/academic in the world.
Cai Blue
Jan 10, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Such a great book. Has definitely left a lasting impact on on me as a historian-in-training and a Black woman.
N
Jan 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I read Linda Smith's essential work in preparation for my Fulbright Fellowship to New Zealand. The book is simply too important to sum up in a brief review, but suffice to say it is a useful read to anyone living, especially those of us brought up within the Western positivistic research paradigm.

Central to Smith's argument is the idea that too often researchers - and others who work with the benefit of society in mind - fail to understand the context in which they work. She writes, "Although m
...more
Lweeze
Dec 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favourites
The first part takes apart the impact of colonialism on the Maori people, and the ways that research frameworks disadvantage indigenous knowledge; the second part of the book outlines a Maori-centered research methodology which is by definition anti-colonialist, anti-capitalist, and feminist.

I enjoyed this for several reasons. It was a thorough interrogation of norms in knowledge production, linking all the way back to colonialism. I also highly recommend it for very clear academic writing - rel
...more
Jimbo Pantas
Aug 29, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Humbling, illuminating, important. Although the context of the book is set in New Zealand's indigenous peoples, the Maori, it nevertheless provides us a useful precept in going about indigenous research in general. But most importantly, it's a great insight into the heart of the Maori, their culture, their values, their struggles, and their collective actions against oppression in the past and in more recent times. Smith is very bold and assertive; hers is a voice that is very persuasive and log ...more
Emily
Mar 25, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Honestly such an interesting and thought-provoking read about how we need to decolonize research and academia in general! This text has a lot of valuable information on colonial violence and the ways in which research perpetuates it. One of Smith's closing remarks, "Research exists within a system of power" (226), has made me think deeply and critically about the function of academic institutions and the system under which they reside. What gives someone the right to determine what is the "right ...more
Enoo
Oct 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Love love love.
Super important read for anyone wanting to do work or research within Indigenous communities. The first half is more or less for those less familiar with Indigenous issues, then the second half is more tailored to the Indigenous readers and direction for actions. It's not a comfortable read for Western settlers, and I think that's important. It's meant to help settler grow and reflect on their position in Indigenous related research.
It's also important for Indigenous researchers.
...more
Magdalena Milosz
Great, thorough analysis of how Western research has impacted Indigenous peoples and how they are reconfiguring research for issues that matter to them, like land claims, Indigenous histories, health research, etc. For a non-Indigenous researcher like myself, it puts into perspective problems with Western research methodologies, like framing and exploitation. Smith uses literature from a variety of disciplines and her own experiences as a Maori researcher to ground the discussion.
Roger Green
Sep 24, 2017 rated it really liked it
This is an excellent and extremely readable articulation of theories and methods for use in indigenous scholarship. Smith begins with a general description of the historical impulses that shape a global indignity and political formations across the globe. She then moves into particular Maori practices, detailing methodological tensions it has with colonial knowledge production.
Kira Gillett
Dec 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I ABSOLUTELY LOVE THIS BOOK. This is one of those books that reframes your understanding of something so basic and dives into the complexity and opens up possibilities. I feel this should be recommended reading for every academic. Not only has it made personal references but also made connections between oft ignored interconnected global systems. Questions thinking and reshapes our understanding.
Chrisann Justice
Oct 31, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Important look at how Indigenous peoples have been researched and how that research was a part of the colonization process. Very important read for anyone working with or doing research with Indigenous people.
Mun
May 31, 2020 added it
Shelves: school
Wonderful book, I came to think of it as my personal Bible. This book focuses on the research methodologies of indigenous peoples, and as an indigenous researcher I found it extremely rich and fulfilling. Smith's style is witty, interesting, and wholesome.
Amanda Brooke
Jun 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
This book will make you want to step back and ask, "Who is asking the questions?"
Grete Howland
Jan 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Crucial read for those who do research and/or teach others to do research
Melanie
Feb 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The most important book of graduate school.
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Professor Smith is Pro Vice-Chancellor Maori with responsibilities for Maori development at the University of Waikato as well as Dean of the School of Maori and Pacific Development and a professor of Education and Maori Development.

Professor Smith has an academic background in education and research and has a long career as an inter-disciplinary scholar. She is well known for her publications, pub
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49 likes · 18 comments
“From the vantage point of the colonized, a position from which I write, and choose to privilege, the term ‘research’ is inextricably linked to European imperialism and colonialism. The word itself, ‘research’, is probably one of the dirtiest words in the indigenous world’s vocabulary. When mentioned in many indigenous contexts, it stirs up silence, it conjures up bad memories, it raises a smile that is knowing and distrustful. It is so powerful that indigenous people even write poetry about research. The ways in which scientific research is implicated in the worst excesses of colonialism remains a powerful remembered history for many of the world’s colonized peoples. It is a history that still offends the deepest sense of our humanity. Just knowing that someone measured our ‘faculties’ by filling the skulls of our ancestors with millet seeds and compared the amount of millet seed to the capacity for mental thought offends our sense of who and what we are.1 It galls us that Western researchers and intellectuals can assume to know all that it is possible to know of us, on the basis of their brief encounters with some of us. It appals us that the West can desire, extract and claim ownership of our ways of knowing, our imagery, the things we create and produce, and then simultaneously reject the people who created and developed those ideas and seek to deny them further opportunities to be creators of their own culture and own nations. It angers us when practices linked to the last century, and the centuries before that, are still employed to deny the validity of indigenous peoples’ claim to existence, to land and territories, to the right of self-determination, to the survival of our languages and forms of cultural knowledge, to our natural resources and systems for living within our environments.” 3 likes
“The intellectual project of decolonizing has to set out ways to proceed through a colonizing world. It needs a radical compassion that reaches out, that seeks collaboration, and that is open to possibilities that can only be imagined as other things fall into place. Decolonizing Methodologies is not a method for revolution in a political sense but provokes some revolutionary thinking about the roles that knowledge, knowledge production, knowledge hierarchies and knowledge institutions play in decolonization and social transformation.” 3 likes
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