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 3: Pine River Food Sovereignty Initiative

The River Pine Food Sovereignty Initiative (RPFSI) proposal is focused on bringing educational programming to the River Pine tribe around community gardening. The PI and Co-PIs are considered prominent scholars in the field of organic gardening in urban community spaces. Although they do not have any experience collaborating with Native and rural communities, they feel there are a lot of similarities between urban and reservation contexts.

The PI scheduled an introductory meeting with a Program Coordinator working with a grant about healthy living at River Pine.

Squash illustration artwork by Dr. Elizabeth LaPensée.
Artwork by Dr. Elizabeth LaPensée.

Leading up to the meeting, the PI shares a copy of the drafted proposal (which is a proposal re-submission, originally written for a rural community in mind).

During the meeting, the Program Coordinator expresses interest in the proposal, but comments that they are in a grant-funded position that concludes at the end of the fiscal year. The Program Coordinator also shares that the tribe is in the process of implementing several initiatives around community gardening, and suggests the PI reach out to the River Pine Food Sovereignty Board (which represents citizens appointed by Council).

Although the PI is unable to get on the Board’s schedule before the grant deadline, the PI submits the proposal. Upon notification of the grant award from the funding agency, the PI reaches out to the Program Coordinator, only to find they no longer work for the tribe. Soon after, the PI is able to meet with the River Pine Food Sovereignty Board. During the meeting, the PI learns River Pine has received its own funding to develop a community garden program. The community does not wish to participate in the RPFSI project because they feel there is too much replication with programming they are already doing.

Reflection Questions

Please review and reflect on the following questions according to the information presented in Scenario 3.

  • How could the research partnership with River Pine be improved?
  • What were the River Pine communities’ concerns, and was each concern adequately addressed by the PI? What could the PI do to better address each concern?
  • How does this proposal align with the River Pine community goals?
  • How will the River Pine community benefit from the proposed research?
  • Is the community represented in the leadership of the proposal?