Personal Reflections on Kovach

“We know what we know from where we stand… …this writing comes from the heart, it comes from who I am and all that I am – nothing more, or less for that matter” Kovach, 2011:7

The first part of Kovach’s statement speaks to the subjectivity of knowledge. Indeed, knowing is dependent upon the viewpoint from where one “stands” and each person’s knowledge is unique. For example, a group of people can experience the same event but will have an entirely different report or “knowing” of the experience. More importantly, the ability to stand in many different positions speaks to the ability to learning with an ease and fluidity. Simply put, it is a hallmark of curiosity. I think perhaps we lose this as we get older. It becomes harder to remain open, to remain fluid in the vantage points of where we “stand”. Seemingly, the rigidity of standing in one place often doesn’t lend well to learning new knowledge.  I think about how often it has been a crippling blow of a life event that has brought me to my knees and has changed my understanding of the world. When you are no longer standing, you see the world and you know the world from a different place. Perhaps, learning and the incorporation of new knowledge becomes the process of falling, rising to stand, and then seeking a new viewpoint. 

The latter part of the Kovach’s quote is related to the expression of identity. That is, writing from the heart is essentially the expression of the essence of who someone truly is. This “style” creates an authentic expertise, for who else can argue with the authority of one’s own emotional expression?   Writing from the heart rather than writing solely from the mind becomes a honest declaration of self.  When I think about number of papers and articles I have read throughout my post secondary education, I am cognizant of the fact that I always remember the authors who have written from the heart. It an art to be able to write in this form.  Finally, with respect to learning, it always seems that the incorporation of new knowledge takes place when I have first felt an emotion about an idea. Writing from the heart seeks to connect the author and reader on the very plane, at the very core who we truly are. It strips away the ego and the rigidness of knowing, ultimately leaving an expression that is true.                    

Indigenous Researchers

“We know what we know from where we stand… …this writing comes from the heart, it comes from who I am and all that I am – nothing more, or less for that matter” Kovach, 2011:7

The first part of Kovach’s statement speaks to the subjectivity of knowledge. Indeed, knowing is dependent upon the viewpoint from where one “stands” and each person’s knowledge is unique. For example, a group of people can experience the same event but will have an entirely different report or “knowing” of the experience. More importantly, the ability to stand in many different positions speaks to the ability to learning with an ease and fluidity. Simply put, it is a hallmark of curiosity. I think perhaps we lose this as we get older. It becomes harder to remain open, to remain fluid in the vantage points of where we “stand”. Seemingly, the rigidity of standing in one place often doesn’t lend well to learning new knowledge.  I think about how often it has been a crippling blow of a life event that has brought me to my knees and has changed my understanding of the world. When you are no longer standing, you see the world and you know the world from a different place. Perhaps, learning and the incorporation of new knowledge becomes the process of falling, rising to stand, and then seeking a new viewpoint. 

The latter part of the Kovach’s quote is related to the expression of identity. That is, writing from the heart is essentially the expression of the essence of who someone truly is. This “style” creates an authentic expertise, for who else can argue with the authority of one’s own emotional expression?   Writing from the heart rather than writing solely from the mind becomes a honest declaration of self.  When I think about number of papers and articles I have read throughout my post secondary education, I am cognizant of the fact that I always remember the authors who have written from the heart. It an art to be able to write in this form.  Finally, with respect to learning, it always seems that the incorporation of new knowledge takes place when I have first felt an emotion about an idea. Writing from the heart seeks to connect the author and reader on the very plane, at the very core who we truly are. It strips away the ego and the rigidness of knowing, ultimately leaving an expression that is true. 

 

Inspiration and Teachings

My Mother has been and continues to be a huge inspiration to me. She attended residential school from the time she was 5 to 16 and has had the strength to persevere regardless of the effects of the residential school. She was a single parent and raised my sister and I the best she could with what she had. She continues to remember and speak her language. Because she raised us in the city of Prince George away from our home community it was difficult to practice Dene cultural ways. However, one year, she built a smoke house in the backyard and didn’t care what the neighbors or city bylaw thought. My sister and I always watched her cut and smoking dry meat. I remember when I was a child, my sister and I would run through the back yard to our friend’s house and we would always stop and grab a piece of smoked meat on our way. It was the best. To this day, the taste of smoked meat always reminds me of the care free days of my childhood. These memories hold value because as a Mother to Dene children, it is a reminder that I need to pass down the cultural teachings regardless of being so far away from home.    

 

Inspirational Readings

Indigenous Research Methodologies: 

  • Battiste, M. (2011). Reclaiming Indigenous voice and vision. UBC Press.
  • Cardinal, L. (2001). What is an Indigenous perspective? Canadian Journal of Native Education, 25(2), 180-182.
  • Chilisa, B. (2011). Indigenous research methodologies. Sage Publications.
  • Chilisa, B., & Ntseane, G. (2010). Resisting dominant discourses: implications of Indigenous, African feminist theory and methods for gender and education research. Gender and Education22(6), 617-632.
  • Denzin, N. K., Lincoln, Y. S and Smith, L. (2008). Handbook of critical and Indigenous methodologies. Sage.
  • Fleras, A. (2004). “Researching together differently”: Bridging the research paradigm gap.Native Studies Review, 15(2), 117-129.
  • Foley, D. (2003). Indigenous epistemology and Indigenous standpoint theory.Social Alternatives, 22(1), 44-52.
  • Hart, M. A. (2010).Indigenous worldviews, knowledge, and research: The development of an Indigenous research paradigm.
  • Kovach, M. (2005). Emerging from the margins: Indigenous methodologies. In L. Brown & S. Strega (Eds.),Research as resistance. Toronto, Canada: Canadian Scholars’ Press.
  • Kovach, M. E. (2010). Indigenous methodologies: Characteristics, conversations, and contexts. University of Toronto Press.
  • Louis, R. P. (2007). Can you hear us now? Voices from the margin: Using Indigenous methodologies in geographic research. Geographical research,45(2), 130-139.
  • Mataira, P., Matsuoka, J. K., & Morelli, P. T. (2005). Issues and processes in Indigenous research. In S. M. Kana.iaupuni (Ed.), Hulili: Multidisciplinary research on Hawaiian well-being (Vol. 2, pp. 35-45). Honolulu, HI: Pauahi Publications.
  • Prescott, S. J. (2008). Using talanoa in Pacific business research in New Zealand: experiences with Tongan entrepreneurs.AlterNative: An International Journal of Indigenous Peoples 4(1), 127-148.
  • Smith, L. T. (2012).Decolonizing methodologies: Research and Indigenous peoples (2nd ed.). London, England: Zed Books. (Original work published 1999)
  • Tuck, E. (2013). Decolonizing methodologies 15 years later. AlterNative: An International Journal of Indigenous Peoples9(4).
  • Tuck, E., & McKenzie, M. (2014). Place in research: Theory, methodology, and methods. Routledge.
  • Tuck, E., & Yang, K. W. (2014). R-words: Refusing research. Humanizing research: Decolonizing qualitative inquiry for youth and communities, 223-247.
  • Wilson, S. (2001). What is an Indigenous research methodology?. Canadian Journal of Native Education25(2), 175-179.
  • Wilson, S. (2003). Progressing toward an Indigenous research paradigm in Canada and Australia.Canadian Journal of Native Education, 27(2), 161-178.
  • Wilson, S. (2008).Research is ceremony: Indigenous research methods. Fernwood Pub..