The important work of Indigenous cultural safety and humility has come to the forefront of discussions within the research ethics community on how to employ cultural safety within the context of reviewing the ethical conduct of research involving Indigenous peoples and communities. Cultural safety is premised on respectful engagement with Indigenous peoples that strives to address the social, economic, and political power imbalances that are inherent in Western colonial institutions. Ultimately, academic and health research institutions were complicit in the human rights violations of Indigenous communities that further perpetuated systemic racism and discriminatory practices and policies. Cultural safety also echoes the calls to action by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC 2015) that seeks to recognize and address the legacy of colonialism that has disenfranchised Indigenous peoples and communities throughout Canada’s history.
REBC Partnerships to address Cultural Safety
A collaborative effort supported by the Research Ethics BC Advisory Council was initiated in 2021 to facilitate an Indigenous-led cultural safety and humility training workshop for Research Ethics Board (REB) members and REB administrators across the province. This workshop, that will be facilitated by Coast Salish Cultural Safety Consultant Len Pierre, will cover such topics as creating ethical space, DNA on loan, putting commitment into practice and where to go from here?
When Education and Communications Coordinator Paola Pinto Vidal, was tasked with creating the promotional material for this workshop, they considered this was an opportunity to demonstrate their commitment to cultural humility through community engagement and collaboration on the graphic design work. With the avid support of the Director and the Senior Advisor, Indigenous Research Ethics at REBC, Terri Fleming and Gillian Corless respectively, Paola reached out to the Urban Native Youth Association (UNYA) a local non-profit organization located in East Vancouver, that serves Indigenous youth with various programs including education and training, wellness and health, housing & transition and an arts program called Overly Creative Minds (OCM). Paola is grateful that the OCM Program Manager Keilah Lukenbill-Williams graciously put them in contact with a young Anishinaabe/Chinese artist Justice Jacinto, who was interested in participating in this collaboration. Paola envisioned the artwork for the workshop promotional materials would represent cultural humility in some form and Justice took to the task by bringing the image of the wolf that represents humility in the Seven Sacred Teachings or the Seven Grandfather Teachings shared through the Ojibwe oral tradition. Keilah, Justice and Paola met at the UNYA building on July 6th 2021 for a half day to create the artwork collaboratively. Justice drew and coloured the image by hand and Paola assisted by digitizing the image and working with Justice on choice of colour to finalize as a digital illustration. Justice is planning on participating in the cultural safety and humility training workshop and to present her artwork to the research ethics attendees.
 San’yas Anti-Racism Indigenous Cultural Safety Training Program, Core Health: https://sanyas.ca/core-training/british-columbia/core-health