Critical Indigenous ways of knowing: Research, narratives, and self-actualisation

  • Estelle Marie Simard
    The Institute for Culturally Restorative Practices, Incorporated



The process of Indigenous research methodologies has existed within the Anishinaabe worldview for over a millennium. The Anishinaabe-centric author presents and highlights a pathway of Indigenous research methodologies, and critically analyses research, pedagogy and attachment through an Indigenous research methodology. Indigenous research lives within the Anishinaabe language as a cultural process for understanding purpose, in addition to understanding the specific gifts unknown to the researcher. This article identifies Anishinaabe Gikendaasowin as a manner of centring oneself within one’s cultural worldview. Indigenous research methodologies contain intrinsic processes of critical cultural construct development, critical content analysis,
ceremony and cultural attachment. This article further explores colonial worldview impacts on Indigenous peoples and the misapplication of that research and its influence on educational paradigms. Finally, an Anishinaabe scholarly exemplar is presented that provides tangible steps for incorporating spirit knowledge into positive, innovative and pedagogical Indigenous lessons.

Indigenous research sovereignty requires consent when researching our Anishinaabe sacred practice-based evidence. As a result, Indigenous research methodologies will often start with the act of cultural grounding. Cultural grounding in research is not a new concept. In the Anishinaabe language, manidoo waabiwin can translate into seeing things in a spiritual way. This spiritual way
is the bridge to understanding, appreciating and attaching to a construct or phenomenon within an Indigenous way of knowing journey. There are many different manners to grounding one’s spiritual research work that range from offering tobacco to the aatsokaanug (inadequately translated as spirits), and to the participation in cultural activities, both of which will often promote spiritual awareness or manido waabiwin. This critical Indigenous research methodologies article highlights Anishinaabe Gikendaasowin, or Anishinaabe knowledge or ways of knowing that centres within Anishinaabe worldview. This article is embedded in Anishinaabe knowledge and can be considered Anishinaabe-centric.


Published: 2020-12-08
Pages:139 to 157
Section: Articles
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How to Cite
Simard, E. M. (2020). Critical Indigenous ways of knowing: Research, narratives, and self-actualisation. International Journal of Critical Indigenous Studies, 139-157.