The KO Research Institute (KORI) is the research department of Keewaytinook Okimakanak, one of six tribal councils serving Nishnawbe Aski First Nations in Ontario’s far north. KORI was established (2004) through resolution by the Chiefs to conduct research and evaluation in a manner that respects the needs and values of First Nations communities. KORI works to increase capacity at the First Nations community level in gathering research that community leadership needs to make decisions. It also builds bridges to like-minded academics at Canadian universities. KORI has collaborated with a variety of researchers across Canada including the National Research Council, Lakehead University, University of Toronto, Northern Ontario School of Medicine, Laurentian University and others.
KORI has developed research guidelines and practices with the KO affiliated communities, which are used in research and evaluation. KORI has had success working with communities in a respectful and culturally appropriate manner. Some of the research guidelines and practices include: the use of sharing circles (both face-to-face and virtual) as an information gathering tool, one-on-one interviews, visits with Elders in their homes (with the use of a translator), presentations to chief and council, online surveys, building relationships with local researchers who can lead the research in their community, and abiding by the OCAP Principals. Through their experience, KORI researchers have gained a better understanding of the challenges faced by First Nations in terms of culture, language as well as educational and employment barriers that exist in remote and isolated communities in Ontario’s far north.
The term OCAP (Ownership, Control, Access and Possession) was developed by the National Steering Committee of the First Nations and Inuit Regional Longitudinal Health Survey. OCAP is used to make decisions regarding why, how and by whom information is collected, used and shared for research, evaluation and planning purposes. It can also ensure that individual and community privacy is protected in a way that is appropriate to the First Nations language, culture and beliefs. It is used to strengthen the gap left by the Privacy Act and the Access to Information Act that apply to individuals but not to overall community issues.
Ownership: The First Nation owns the cultural knowledge, information and data.
Control: First Nations people, their communities and leadership have control of the research and information processes.
Access: The First Nation has access to the information collected and resulting documentation.
Possession: The First Nation is in possession of the data collected and may distribute it according to agreements.
KORI has experience in working with First Nations and Non-First Nations organizations in developing reporting mechanisms appropriate to the needs of the respective client and funder. As a First Nation organization, KORI develops reporting formats and progress reporting that addresses the needs and expectations of First Nations communities as well of those of multiple partners and stakeholders.
KORI has demonstrated ability to work independently, a reputation for meeting reporting deadlines and for working effectively with project management committees and project staff. KORI welcomes the opportunity to conduct community visits and has visited many of the thirty First Nations in the Sioux Lookout area.
KORI has extensive experience using of ICTs for communication, reporting and dissemination by using the Kuhkenah Network. The team has created online platforms for workshops, administrative updates and demonstrations with stakeholders. KORI has a strong partnership with K-Net and has access to video conferencing services.
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