Tribes Research Protocol
University of Idaho Guidance for Research/Educational/Outreach Activities with Tribal Nations from the Office of Tribal Relations
The University of Idaho has established collaborative working relationships with the regional Native American Tribal Nations to assist with resources that support Tribal self-determination. In 2007, the commitment to affirm and maintain these relationships was formally established with a Memorandum of Understanding entered into between the University and ten regional Tribal Nations (10 Tribe MOU). The Tribal Nations represented in this 10 Tribe MOU are: the Coeur d’Alene Tribe, the Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation, the Kalispel Tribe, the Kootenai Tribe of Idaho, the Nez Perce Tribe, the Shoshone-Bannock Tribes, the Shoshone-Paiute Tribes, the Spokane Tribe, the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla, and the Confederated Tribes and Bands of the Yakama Nation.
The University of Idaho recognizes and affirms that Tribal Nations are distinct legal and political entities in a unique sovereign-to-sovereign relationship with state and federal governments of the United States. The collaborative relationship between the Tribal Nations and the University of Idaho is based upon the values of trust, respect, and reciprocity. Each Tribal Nation also has its own laws, policies, and procedures that are intended to protect and maintain specific Tribal rights and interests, including Tribal rights in intellectual property, traditional knowledge, cultural customs, and practices. The Office of Tribal Relations (OTR) serves as the primary point of contact within the University for University Faculty, staff, or students interested in proposing or conducting research, educational, or outreach activities involving a Tribe. Through the OTR, which coordinates with other units of the University, the University works to ensure the appropriate acknowledgement and respect of Tribal laws and policies.
Native populations have been identified amongst the most researched group of people. This has led many Tribal Nations to develop permit and authorization processes that outside researchers must complete prior to engaging in research/educational/outreach activities within tribal communities.
Tribes are concerned about research which seeks to utilize individual Indian people or the Indian community itself as subjects regardless of funding source or the involvement of the federal government. Unlike the mainstream society, which because of its size can more easily absorb the impact of research, Indian tribes must consider the impact of research on the life of the community itself, and in particular the impact of social science research, which often may view Indian communities as examples of social pathologies interesting to the mainstream society, but may have little respect for the interests of the community. (Model Tribal Research Code)
Potential researchers should recognize the importance of acknowledging the past unregulated research practices of former decades in tribal communities. The University of Idaho is committed to best practices as part of the long term collaborative relationships with Tribal Nations. It is in this spirit that the following Code of Ethics has been developed.