Background: This paper describes a study circle and a series of conversations with a community partner that were part of a project that grew out of a partnership between Native People for Cancer Control, a research program at the University of Washington, and five tribes in Washington, Idaho, and Montana.

Methods: Researchers undertook a study circle to build bioethics capacity and, specifically, to better understand the values that should guide community-based participatory research (CBPR).

Results: Study circle members identified five action guiding principles for CBPR: respect tribal sovereignty, promote transparency, hear community priorities, learn from each other, and take collective action. This activity led to a series of conversations between researchers and the chair of Shoalwater Bay Tribe, Charlene Nelson. Nelson suggests the metaphor of “exploration” as a way to think about what good CBPR looks like. Exploration reframes the research enterprise, from a systematic scientific inquiry conducted by academic investigators to a less predictable activity that reaches into the uncontrolled and unknown. We used this metaphor to explore three features of CBPR we believe to be essential to building trust: ongoing commitment and time, direct collaboration with community members and new learning for all involved, and candid and cautious action.

Conclusions: The CBPR literature underscores many of these same points; however, we found the metaphorical language offered by Nelson enriched their meaning and deepened study circle members’ appreciation of them.


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pp. 305-309
Launched on MUSE
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