My dear ones, the work is about to begin. (p. 1)
This is a customary invocation from the spokesperson leading Stó:lō storytelling gatherings Coast Salish territory, and it indicates that there is cultural work to be done because the listeners will either be involved or impacted by the stories being shared. Indigenous storytelling is not merely entertainment; it is used to communicate truth about the world and our relation to it and our relationships to each other. It is an invitation to pay attention.
Through the multi-faceted acts and formations of colonialism, the oppression of Indigenous Peoples is evidenced throughout the world. ... A critical tool of colonization was research, of which Indigenous story-taking and story-making was a vital part. (p. 5)
White settler researchers like to hide behind a façade of 'objectivity', but the underlying assumption of racial superiority is rarely hidden. Stories are stolen and re-told from the perspective of the 'hunter'.
Decolonizing research aspires to re-cover, re-cognize, re-create, re-present, and "re-search back" by using our own ontological and epistemological constructs. ... As Linda Smith points out, ...
Decolonization ... does not mean and has not meant a total rejection of all theory or research or western knowledge. Rather it is about centring our concerns and world views and then coming to know and understand theory and research from our own perspectives and for our own purposes. (2012, p. 39) (p. 6)
Smith, L. T. (2012). Decolonizing methodologies: Research and indigenous peoples (Second edition). London: Zed Books.
Further, Archibald et al. argue that there is not one single 'decolonizing research methodology', there are no definitive guidelines or practices and they quote Swadener and Mutua:
scholars engaged in decolonizing research remain constantly mindful of the ways in which the process or outcomes of their research endeavors might reify hegemonic power structures, thereby creating marginality (2008, p. 33)
Swadener, B. B., & Mutua, K. (2019). Decolonizing Performances: Deconstructing the Global Postcolonial. In N. K. Denzin, Y. S. Lincoln, & L. T. Smith, Handbook of Critical and Indigenous Methodologies. https://doi.org/10.4135/9781483385686
Storywork is of the moment - it is about freedom of existence through story. It is mindfulness in action; reverence spans all markers of tradition, acknowledging that the cave and rock markings of our ancestors are reframed in youth-driven communication ecologies, where mass-consumption models constantly unfold into spaces of the media matrix, or as Pua Case expressed it, within the sacred FB. (pp. 12-13)
story is the most powerful intergenerational manifestation of hope. (p. 13)