Decolonizing Knowledge Development In Health Research Cultural Safety Through The Lens Of Hawaiian Homestead Residents

  • Lana Sue I. Ka‘opua University of Hawai‘i-Mānoa Myron B Thompson School of Social Work
  • Suresh Tamang University of Hawai‘i-Mānoa Myron B Thompson School of Social Work
  • Adrienne Dillard University of Hawai‘i-Mānoa Myron B Thompson School of Social Work
  • B. Puni Kekauoha Kula no na Po‘e Hawai‘i Kula no na Po‘e Hawai‘i, Honolulu, HI
Keywords: community-based participatory research, cultural safety, decolonizing knowledge, health equity, Indigenous communities, Native Hawaiians

Abstract

Cultural safety is a strengths-based construct which aims to subvert unequal power relations, honor diverse ways of knowing in community-specific contexts, and acknowledge community as arbiter of ‘how’ safety is actualized. Published literature documents the benefits of culturally safe healthcare yet pays scant attention to culturally safe research praxis. Our team of practitioner-researchers sought to uncover meanings of cultural safety in community-based health research with Hawaiian Homestead residents. Focus groups were conducted in three communities. Emic descriptions of cultural safety and non-resident researchers were elicited. Content analysis revealed trust (hilina‘i) as the overarching theme fundamental to cultural safety. Cultural safety was demonstrated by practices that accommodate and engage community in their shared sense of place, history, ways of knowing, and capacity-building. Such practices likely mitigate perceptions of cultural imposition and promote relevant interventions developed with communities. Implications are enunciated in HILINA‘I, a mnemonic for advancing knowledge decolonization and health equity.

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