Indigenous Health Research Guides

Who are we?

The Indigenous Health Research Advisory Committee (IHRAC) is a working group of the Chronic Pain Network. Our work is funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research under Canada’s Strategy for Patient-Oriented Research.

IHRAC is comprised of community members, Elders, patients, clinicians and health researchers from across Canada. We are striving to facilitate authentic partnerships between Indigenous communities and researchers using a Two-Eyed Seeing Approach (Etuaptmumk; Marshall & Marshall, 2008).

Why is this work important?

A legacy of disrespectful treatment from external research teams has led to an atmosphere of caution, uncertainty, and distrust among many in the Indigenous population. As such, researchers wishing to include Indigenous participants in their studies have an ethical duty to build more inclusive partnerships with Indigenous communities. Research projects that are founded on a relationship that is reciprocal and trusting are more likely to be productive for all parties involved.

Despite this, practical resources to guide communities and researchers through the logistics of the engagement process are limited, and there is no one-size-fits-all approach. IHRAC was established to allow stakeholder groups to explore best practices in this area.

What are we looking to accomplish?

The primary goal of this work is to facilitate the development of authentic partnerships and enhanced understanding between Indigenous communities and researchers. We intend to share the knowledge that we gather using an online resource that will be available to communities, researchers, policy makers, and the wider public.

*All of the information contained on this page is freely available on the internet – we’ve simply compiled the resources into one database to help facilitate meaningful research partnerships.

This database is intended to complement, but not replace, research protocols that are currently established at the community-level. It is meant to serve as a starting point for communities and researchers in their pursuit of knowledge.

IHRAC values the inherent diversity of Indigenous communities. We urge researchers to respect this diversity and the autonomy of all Indigenous peoples. Despite our best efforts to regularly update this webpage, the research landscape is ever-changing. For this reason, researchers must always abide by the terms outlined in TCPS 2 – Chapter 9: Research Involving the First Nations, Inuit, and Métis Peoples of Canada.

Resources for the development and implementation of community research policies and protocols.

Organization Document
First Nations Centre Community Research for Change e-Workbook
First Nations Centre Considerations and Templates for Ethical Research Practices
First Nations Centre Health Governance Models e-Workbook
First Nations Centre Health Information, Research and Planning
First Nations Centre OCAP – Ownership, Control, Access, and Possession (2007)
First Nations Centre Ownership, Control, Access, and Possession (OCAP) or Self-Determination Applied to Research: A Critical Analysis of Contemporary First Nations Research and Some Options for First Nations Communities (2005)
First Nations Centre Template for a Code of Research Ethics (2007)
First Nations Centre Template for a Collaborative Research Agreement (2007)
First Nations Centre Template for a Data-Sharing Protocol (2007)
First Nations Centre Understanding Health Indicators
First Nations Information Governance Centre Ownership, Control, Access, and Possession (OCAP™): The Path to First Nations Information Governance
First Nations Information Governance Centre Barriers and Levers for the Implementation of OCAP™ (2014)
First Peoples’ Cultural Council Template – Guidelines for Researchers / Access to Information
Manitoulin Anishinaabek Research Review Committee Ethics and Research Review Workbook – A Resource for Manitoulin Area First Nations for the Review and Evaluation of Research Proposals
Nunavut Research Institute & Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami Negotiating Research Relationships: A Guide for Communities
Urban Aboriginal Knowledge Network Urban Aboriginal Research Charter Template: A Guide to Building Research Relationships (2016)

Protocols for research involving specific Indigenous communities.

Organization Document
Deh Cho First Nation Deh Cho First Nation Traditional Knowledge Research Protocol (2004)
Six Nations Council Conducting Research at Six Nations (2015)
Inter Tribal Health Authority Research Protocol
Clayoquot Alliance for Research, Education and Training Standard of Conduct for Research in Northern Barkley and Clayoquot Sound Communities (2005)
Nunatsiavut Government Interim Research Process (2008)
Maliseet Nation Conservation Council Traditional Knowledge Working Group Maliseet Nation (Wolastoqwik) Traditional Knowledge Protocol (2009)
Yukon Research Centre Protocols and Principles for Conducting Research with Yukon First Nations (2013)

Guides for research ethics and engagement with Indigenous communities.

Organization Document
Assembly of First Nations First Nations Ethics Guide on Research and Aboriginal Traditional Knowledge
Assembly of First Nations Ethics in First Nations Research (2009)
Assembly of First Nations of Quebec and Labrador Consultations Protocol of First Nations of Quebec and Labrador (2005)
Assembly of First Nations of Quebec and Labrador First Nations in Quebec and Labrador’s Research Protocol (2014)
Association of Canadian Universities for Northern Studies Ethical Principles for the Conduct of Research in the North (2003)
Aurora Research Institute Doing Research in the Northwest Territories: A Guide for Researchers Applying for a Scientific Research Licence
Government of Canada Tri-Council Policy Statement – Ethical Conduct for Research Involving Humans (Chapter 9; 2014)
Government of Yukon Guidebook on Scientific Research in the Yukon (2008)
Indigenous Peoples’ Health Research Centre Kwayask itôtamowin: Indigenous Research Ethics (2005)
Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami, Inuit Tuttarvingat & National Aboriginal Health Organzation Guidelines for Research Involving Inuit (2010)
Inuit Tapitiit Kanatami, Nunavut Research Institute & University of Toronto Negotiating Research Relationships with Inuit Communities – A Guide for Researchers (2006)
Labrador Health Research Advisory Committee (LAHRC) & NL Health Research Ethics Board Guidelines for research involving Aboriginal communities in Newfoundland and Labrador (2013)
Manitoba First Nations Education Resource Centre Inc. Guidelines for Ethical Research in Manitoba First Nations (2014)
Miawpukek First Nation A guidebook for the successful collection, development, and implementation of an Aboriginal Traditional Knowledge Study (2010)
National Aboriginal Health Organization – Metis Centre Principles of Ethical Métis Research
Noojmowin Teg Health Centre Guidelines for Ethical Aboriginal Research in the Manitoulin Area (2003)
Quebec Native Women Inc. Guidelines for Research with Aboriginal Women (2012)
Provincial Health Services Authority BC San’yas Indigenous Cultural Safety Training
Sustainable Forest Management Network Ethics and Research with Aboriginal Communities (2009)
University of Manitoba – First Nations, Metis, and Inuit Health Research Strategic Planning Committee Framework for Research Engagement with First Nation, Metis, and Inuit Peoples
First Nations Information Governance Centre The First Nations Principles of OCAP
First Nations Health Authority First Nations Regional Longitudinal Health Survey (RHS): Code of Ethics 
Government of Canada CIHR Guidelines for Health Research Involving Aboriginal People (2007–2010)
Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami National Inuit Strategy on Research

Application forms for research ethics review.

Organization Document
Aurora College (NWT) Research Ethics Review Form
Mi’kmaq Confederacy of PEI Application for MCPEI Ethics Review Committee
Unama’ki Institute – Mi’kmaw Ethics Watch (NS) Mi’kmaw Research Principles and Protocols – Conducting Research with and/or Among Mi’kmaw people
Nunavut Research Institute Scientific Research Licence Application – Health Related Research
Six Nations Council Research Ethics Committee Six Nations Council Research Ethics Committee Protocol

Documents and data pertaining to methods of performing ethically appropriate Indigenous Health Research.

Organization/Author(s) Document
J. Smylie & M. Firestone Back to the basics: Identifying and addressing underlying challenges in achieving high quality and relevant health statistics for Indigenous populations in Canada
J.K. Riddell, A. Salamanca, D.J. Pepler, S. Cardinal & O. McIvor Laying The Groundwork: A Practical Guide for Ethical Research with Indigenous Communities
Julie Bull The intersection of people, policies, and priorities in Indigenous research ethics

We have developed a survey to explore the research interests, protocols, and policies for specific communities. Our goal is to create online profiles for individual communities that will serve as a starting point in the process of relationship-building between communities and researchers.


Our survey can be found at the following webpage.

If you would like to submit a document for our database, please contact

Atlantic Policy Congress – Reports & Publications

Aurora Research Institute

Aurora Research Institute – Aurora College Research Ethics Committee

Canadian Institutes of Health Research – Network for Aboriginal Health Research (NEAHR)

Canadian Institute of Health Research – Understanding and Respecting the Distinct Needs of Aboriginal Communities in Research

Can-Solve CKD Network Indigenous People’s Engagement and Research Council

First Nations Centre – Research & Ethics

First Nations Health Authority – Researcher Guides

First Nations Health Managers Association

First Nations Information Governance Centre – OCAP®

First Nations of Quebec and Labrador Sustainable Development Institute – Protocols

Gespe’gewaq Mi’gmaq Resource Council

IHRAC Survey Final Report (2019)

Indigenous Peoples’ Health Research Centre

Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami

Inuit Tuttarvingat – Research and Ethics

Inuit Tuttarvingat – Research Permits and Licences

Manitoba First Nations Education Resource Centre – Research & Development Portal

Mi’kmaq Confederacy of Prince Edward Island – Ethics Review Committee

National Collaborating Centre for Aboriginal Health

Noojmowin Teg Health Centre – Guidelines for Ethical Aboriginal Research (GEAR)  

Nunavut Research Institute – Scientific Research Licence Application (Health Related Research)

The Alberta First Nations Information Governance Centre

The University of British Columbia – Indigenous Research Methodologies: Research Ethics

Tri-Council Policy Statement 2 – Chapter 9: Research Involving the First Nations, Inuit and Metis Peoples of Canada

Unama’ki College – Mi’kmaw Ethics Watch

University of Calgary – Indigenous Research

Montréal Urban Aboriginal Community Strategy Network (Réseau pour la stratégie urbaine de la communauté autochtone à Montréal) – Indigenous Ally Toolkit