Doing Research with Indigenous Nations

Doing Research with Indigenous Nations 

Wed, Feb 24, 12:00-12:45 (last 15 minutes are optional for questions), Zoom RSVP 

Presenters: Karletta Chief, Ph.D., Associate Professor and Extension Specialist, Dept. of Environmental Science, and Historian, UA Native Faculty Association, & Ronald L. Trosper, Professor and Co-PI, Sloan Indigenous Graduate Program, American Indian Studies 

After a brief introduction to the principles of doing research with Indigenous Nations, the workshop briefly presents two examples of research projects, one with the Navajo Nation, presented by Karletta Chief, and the other with the Missanabie Cree First Nation, Ontario, Canada, presented by Ronald Trosper. Community-based and community-approved research combines features of research, service and outreach. Successful projects involve community members from the start, including determining research questions and assisting with research methods.  Because the community’s needs are addressed, outreach is not needed at the completion of a project.  Community approval is needed in all Indigenous research involving communities; when the project involves the community in the research, such approval readily occurs. The presentations will describe the benefits to the communities and also the research outcomes.  


Dr. Karletta Chief is an Associate Professor and Extension Specialist in the Department of Environmental Science at the University of Arizona in Tucson, AZ. The goal of her research is to improve our understanding, tools, and predictions of watershed hydrology, unsaturated flow in arid environments, and how natural and human disturbances affect soil hydrology through the use of physically based methods. Dr. Chief research also focuses on how Indigenous communities will be affected by climate change and collaborated in an interdisciplinary group of scientists including hydrologists, system dynamic modelers, and social scientists to determine how hydrological models can be improved to identify and mitigate risks to these vulnerable populations. As an Extension Specialist, she works to bring relevant science to Native American communities in a culturally sensitive manner by providing hydrology expertise, transferring knowledge, assessing information needs, and developing applied science projects.

Dr. Ronald Trosper is examining principles of Indigenous economics and writing a book on the topic.  He is interested in the areas in which he teaches for the purposes of serving on student committees; in addition to Indigenous economics, he teaches in the areas of Native Nation Building, Traditional Ecological Knowledge, and Community Based Research. He began his career in the field of American Indian Economic Development, working on the economic development task force of the American Indian Policy Review Commission. In the past he also worked on the idea of an American Indian Development Finance Institution, which led to legislation that Ronald Reagan vetoed. After a period of working outside of academia for the Council of Energy Resource Tribes and the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes, he returned to university work at the School of Forestry at Northern Arizona University, followed by work at the Faculty of Forestry at the University of British Columbia before joining the AIS Department in 2011.