Close to home: An Indigenist project of story gathering

  • Kathleen Absolon Wilfred Laurier University
Keywords: Indigenist; re-search; relational accountability; stories

Abstract

This article describes an Indigenist re-search project where I gathered stories from my mother who went to the St. Johns Anglican Residential School. The re-search project was a personal, close to home project that took place from 2015 to 2017. This article articulates a personal, layered, wholistic and seasonally governed Indigenist methodology. It illustrates what makes a project Indigenist by way of its focus and process that is wholistic and guided by an Anishinaabe worldview calling attention to spirit, heart, mind and body. In this article, the term re-search versus research is applied to indicate an act of ‘looking again’ at how to re-search. My hyphenated re-search restores Indigeneity and Indigenous knowledge in how one comes to know (knowledge production).  This article demonstrates a reworking of how I engage in research through an act of re-searching through memory and story sharing.  The methodology presented herein illustrates a process of gathering stories, having conversations, making meaning of those stories, and reframing and representing them in multiple modes such as film, creative arts and text. My Indigeneity as well as my Anishinaabe teachings and knowledge are the foundation of how I searched and guided this wholistic process.  Pivotal to this project is the relationship of daughter and mother and the restoring of both knowledge and relationship through re-search.  This article articulates a methodology that is steeped in relational accountability, seasonally guided and restoring of Indigenous knowledge.

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Published
2020-02-13