"Collaboration" has been a part of anthropology from its beginnings, though its early forms were arguably not collaboration as it is currently conceived. In the latter half of the 20th century, however, collaborative research relationships emerged as the research standard when working with marginalized communities, including Indigenous peoples, in response to criticism about the focuses, methodologies, and outcomes of social science research. Although a laudable goal and critical response to unethical and damaging research practices of the past, collaboration has its own weaknesses, and communities and researchers are constrained in their ability to fully realize its benefits. This paper attempts to operationalize principles of good research with Indigenous communities and explore the strengths and weaknesses of three models of research relationship: collaboration, employee-employer, and independent researcher. The conclusion is that all of the principles of good research can be achieved within each of the models, given a careful and committed researcher. There remains a need for a spectrum of relationships from which communities and researchers can choose, depending first and foremost on the wishes of the community, but also considering the constraints of the researcher and the subject of the research. The vilification of research that is not collaborative can narrow the options for research, hamper honesty in representing relationships, place a burden on communities, and erase the possibility of a critical examination of collaboration itself.


Additional Information

Print ISSN
pp. 26-54
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.