Western empirical research holds to rules and guidelines informed by the natural sciences, positivism, deductive reasoning, objectivity and precise measures as gold standards of inquiry. Contrasting this worldview, the relational qualities and interconnections essential to Indigenous research are seen as problematic that must acquiesce to the norms of scientific observation. This paper draws upon the literature of key Indigenous researchers and the author’s insights from situated experiences and examine the ways in which the Indigenist paradigm challenges empirical standards in relation to positionality. That is, addressing the struggles of the ‘insider’ and ‘outsider’ standpoints, speaking to the dilemmas of identity, and negotiating the space in-between cultures (Kaomea, 2014). The question of insider and outsider even among Indigenous researchers can be regarded as a space of solvency and richness. The paper contends that with truth and reconciliation and the international recognition of Indigenous rights comes the need to strengthen and politicise Indigenous voices in all its forms. It is especially pressing in the area of knowledge development and dissemination. We share our stories of walking between worlds and reflect on our work experiences across nations. In the end, we hope to advance interest in the narratives affirming Indigenous research as relational, contextual, spiritual and situational.
Keywords: Positionality, Indigenous research, inbetweenness, power, Western scientific paradigms