Forum Question: There were many examples where non-Indigenous researchers conductedexploitative, non-consensual, unethical and disturbing research on Indigenous people,including children. What factors allowed/promoted this unethical research to happen? Whatis being done to prevent this type of unethical research being done again? Please explainyour answer using evidence/examples from the readings for this week.

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1. Tennet, Z. (2021). The dark history of Canada's Food Guide: How experiments onIndigenous children shaped nutrition policy. CBC Radio.*Review the web article andlisten to the Unreserved segment that is 15:32 minutes long.

2. Hayward, A, Sjoblom, E., Sinclair, S. and Jamie Cidro. (2021). A New Era of IndigenousResearch: Community-based Indigenous Research Ethics Protocols in Canada.Journal of Empirical Research on Human Research Ethics.

Reponse to SM

In this week's reading “The dark history of Canada’s Food Guide: How experiments onIndigenous children shaped nutrition policy”, historian Ian Mosby described the justificationfor allowing unethical research to be conducted on Indigenous people, stating that “ajustification for these experiments, explained Mosby, was a theory going around amongscientists and bureaucrats that the so-called "Indian problem" might have been caused bymalnutrition and not due to what they saw as ‘racial traits’” (Tennant, 2021). ResearcherLionell Pett, along with the Federal government, allowed the non-consensual research to beconducted with the goal of understanding and settling “a whole series of internal debatesamong nutrition professionals and bureaucrats about Canada's Food Guide and about whata healthy and nutritionally adequate diet looked like” (Tennant, 2021). Pett and the Federalgovernment understood that in order to create the Canadian food guide, they needed alreadyhungry “subjects” to determine what foods and additional nutrients are required to make theaverage Canadian “healthy”, and unfortunately, “some federal bureaucrats and scientists sawthe pervasive malnutrition and hunger experienced by Indigenous people as an opportunityto test their scientific theories” (Tennant, 2021).

In order to prevent this type of unethical, non-consenting research from being conductedagain, “contemporary research ethics boards have been established” (Wajuntah, 2021).Indigenous communities often critique these ethics boards, as they “claim standards andprotocols are in place to protect universities and researchers, not actual participants”(Wajuntah, 2021). Contemporary ethics boards also often do not take into account thenegative history of Indigenous health history (Wajuntah, 2021). In order to combat this,Indigenous researchers and communities have developed a framework for ethical research,one that is “community-driven, self-determined, action-oriented, culturally responsive, [and]that upholds Indigenous sovereignty of data and information” (Wajuntah, 2021). Oneimportant framework that outlines ethical research within Indigenous communities is theOCAP model, which outlines the importance of ownership, control, access, and possession(Wajuntah, 2021).


Tennant, Z. (2021 April 19). The dark history of Canada’s Food Guide: How experiments onIndigenous children shaped nutrition policy. CBC News.

Wajuntah, C. (2021). INHS Week 13 [Video]. YouTube.

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