Applying Learning Knowledge: This scenario (and the other scenarios in the guide) provide a hypothetical research project using fictional communities, institutions, grant initiatives and programs.

With the content of the guide in mind, some of these projects missed the mark in establishing a reciprocal partnership. Please review each scenario and reflect on how these projects can be more centered on community reciprocity through input, consent and participation.

Scenario 1: Inclusive Forestry Initiative

The Inclusive Forestry Initiative (IFI) proposal will use a series of after school and field research education interventions to attract more Native students from the River Pine Tribe into the undergraduate forestry program at Golden Meadow University.

Pine cone illustration artwork by Dr. Elizabeth LaPensée.
Artwork by Dr. Elizabeth LaPensée.

IFI will implement a cohort of pre-college forestry field experiences for Native high school students from River Pine Tribal High School—an on-reservation charter school managed by Council. Students will participate in the experience during their junior and senior years. Senior students will be provided additional workshops to develop their personal statements and submit their applications to Golden Meadow University as undergraduate students in Forestry.

The proposed program will rely heavily on survey, observational and interview data from River Pine youth participating in the program. Since much of the programming will occur after school, IFI will also need regular access to space within the reservation high school.

The Principal Investigator (PI) is passionate about STEM education equity and has done significant work on science education access in rural communities. Unfortunately, the PI has little experience working with Native communities and is not currently connected to River Pine. The PI has had a couple introductory meetings with the River Pine Education Director about the proposal. The proposal deadline is fast approaching. The PI is anxious to submit for the funding, and believes the program would greatly benefit River Pine citizens.

Unfortunately, the Education Director has not been able to get on Council’s agenda to review the IFI proposal. In a last ditch effort, the PI reaches out to an off-reservation community center that regularly collaborates with the tribe on youth programming. The PI is able to obtain a letter of support from a parent who is a River Pine citizen. The parent is employed part time at the center and sits on several River Pine community boards related to food sovereignty. The PI submits the proposal to the funding agency.

Reflection Questions

Please review and reflect on the following questions according to the information presented in Scenario 1.

  • What ways could the PI have been more responsive to the needs of River Pine Tribe?
  • Who are the community stakeholders, and how is each stakeholder impacted by this proposal?
  • What assumptions does this proposal make about community access to resources? How can the PI avoid this in the future?
  • How does this project function as a reciprocal research partnership? In what ways could this proposal be revised to develop a stronger partnership between the PI and River Pine?
  • What potential setbacks might arise should the project get funded as is?
  • How does this work benefit the River Pine community? What group of people within the River Pine community will benefit the most?