Reference Group for the Appropriate Review of Indigenous Research

The Reference Group is seeking Indigenous Knowledge Keepers (e.g., Elders, Kitchi Anishinaabe, Grandparents) to join them in providing guidance to the three Federal Granting Agencies on peer review approaches for research conducted by and with Indigenous communities. Find out more.

The Reference Group for the Appropriate Review of Indigenous Research (Reference Group) is a community group of eleven First Nations, Inuit and Métis individuals that provide advice to CIHR, SSHRC and NSERC on ethically and culturally safe peer review approaches and practices for research conducted by and with First Nations, Inuit and Métis Peoples.

Following an expression of interest and an Indigenous-led selection process, formation of the Reference Group was announced in late 2020 to bring together Indigenous academic, community and youth perspectives from across Canada (including representation from northern, urban, on-reserve realities, gender equity and geographic locations).

Formation of the Reference Group is an important step in implementing the agencies’ strategic plan: Setting new directions to support Indigenous research and research training in Canada: Strategic Plan 2019-2022. Co-developed with First Nations, Inuit, and Métis Peoples, the plan will guide development of new models of support of Indigenous research and research training in Canada. It reflects the agencies’ and the Canada Research Coordinating Committee’s (CRCC) commitment to respond to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada’s call to establish a new relationship with Indigenous Peoples—one that creates a more equal society that respects the value of traditional knowledge systems and is based on mutual respect.

The Reference Group’s collective understanding on Indigenous research and Indigenous Knowledges is greatly valued as they advise the agencies on the following common priority areas:

  • Analyzing data related to existing peer review models for Indigenous research, identifying potential improvements, and areas where the agencies can harmonize their processes;
  • Developing peer review policies, frameworks, and guidelines to ensure the culturally safe review of Indigenous applications;
  • Supporting the development of culturally safe learning materials and tools for reviewers (based on the above recommended frameworks, guidelines, and criteria); and
  • Analyzing reviewer capacity to develop strategies and frameworks that will increase the number of reviewers able to conduct ethically and culturally safe evaluations of research proposals by and/or with Indigenous communities.

Current Reference Group Membership

  • Kimberly Fairman (Chair), Institute for Circumpolar Health Research
  • Myrle Ballard, University of Manitoba
  • Suzy Basile, Université du Québec en Abitibi-Témiscamingue
  • Amber Bedard, Reciprocal Consulting
  • Catherine Dussault, PhD Candidate, Université Laval
  • Lawrence Ignace, PhD Candidate, University of Victoria
  • Georgina Martin, Vancouver Island University
  • Lorrilee McGregor, Northern Ontario School of Medicine - Laurentian & Lakehead Universities
  • Julian Robbins, Centre for Addiction and Mental Health - Shkaabe Makwa
  • Margaret Robinson, Dalhousie University
  • Suzanne Stewart, University of Toronto

For more questions related to the work of the Reference Group, please contact the secretariat at

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