Year: 2019 Source: The Canadian Journal of Program Evaluation. (2010). 23(2), 73-92. SIEC No: 20190403

The clash between Western and Indigenous ways of knowing has been epitomized by the “parachuting model” of the Western researcher who drops onto the reservation, collects data, and leaves, never to be heard from again. The strengths of indigenous science, for example, observation and contextual factors, are either ignored or appropriated. These past (and sometimes present) wrongs committed by academic researchers continue to be a contentious issue in Native communities, where, despite the research dollars flowing into the community to “solve” health problems, disparities between Native health status and that of the general population persist. This article shares reflections from a community-based evaluator who, along with a Lakota health educator, served as “cultural translators” in a community participatory process led by a community agency. We recognized the need to work with/in two cultures—both the academic research world and the Native community—and drew on collaborative evaluation principles and indigenous ways of knowing to conduct formative evaluation research on smoking cessation issues for pregnant Native women.