Indigenous futurity – referring to future generations or future states or conditions – is a key aspirational area at York University. This ac-knowledges the power of research that embraces future potential and past reality as integral to sound, contemporary work.
“In a time when truth, reconcili-ation and justice are dominating public discourse about Indigenous issues and when Indigenous com-munities in Canada and around the world are facing severe health, social, legal and societal challenges, the need for research that imagines the future has never been greater,” says Robert Haché, vice-president Research & Innovation, York Univer-sity. “Drawing on Indigenous ways of knowing, ways of being, world-views and laws, futurities research will contribute to changing lives and will significantly affect nations, communities and individuals.”
As a recognized global leader in socially engaged research and knowledge mobilization, York is committed to building commu-nity partnerships in research, and pledges to facilitate research that is relevant to Indigenous life and respects Indigenous approaches to knowledge and learning, says Dr. Haché, adding that the university also affirms a commitment to respectful, relevant, Indigenous-formed and led research, scholar-ship and related creative activity.
“York’s researchers are ideally positioned to collaborate with Indigenous communities on research that will contribute to improving community life while enhancing cultural, economic and environmental sustainability,” he explains. “Never losing sight of history, this research opportunity simultaneously insists on con-sideration of our relationships to Indigenous futures and the ways they will continue to influence and shift the emphasis in current research and innovation.”
York is home to a large group of scholars, both Indigenous and non-Indigenous, whose research exists in relation to Indigeneity. Re-cent Indigenous research initiatives include the artistic productions and creations that explore Indig-enous relationships with Canada; the role of youth in health promo-tion; the interactions between Indigenous and non-Indigenous laws; the histories of Métis, First Nation, Inuit and Native-American relationships with colonialism; and Indigenous language policies, art and education.
“Indigenous-related research consistently references commu-nity. An Indigenous worldview insists that having good relations with all of creation is foundational to healthy communities,” says Dr. Haché. “Notions of relationship-building, reciprocity of process and outcome, respectful engagement with each other and relevance of the work to those involved in the projects are integral to the research. This opportunity en-compasses post-colonial interests, trans-Indigenous theory and other forward-looking research.”
In the coming years, the focus of this research will include social, cultural, artistic and justice areas. Collaboration in exploring Indigenous and non-Indigenous approaches in these areas, while understanding the need for Indigenous researchers to take the lead, will mark the distinctiveness of York’s approach, he adds. “The intent is to ensure that Indige-nous-related research includes a commitment to listening to and learning from Indigenous peoples’ knowledge, laws, ecology, spiri-tual practices and experiences.”
Produced by Randall Anthony Communications. The Globe’s editorial department was not involved in its creation.