Researchers working with Indigenous nations often recognize the need to build respectful relationships with nation representatives, but too often assume that everyone has the same understandings of respect and accountability. Relational accountability, an ethical guideline for conducting research with Indigenous nation partners, references the kincentric beliefs among many Indigenous Peoples. It implies that researchers are responsible for nurturing honorable relationships with community collaborators and are accountable to the entirety of the community in which they work, potentially including collaborators' more-than-human network of relations. This research examines relational accountability in ethnobiology and other research contexts, with a focus on work within Anishnaabe territories. Anishnaabe inawendiwin, a teaching about kinship, provides a path for centering research ethics and praxis in Anishnaabe ways of knowing and being. Anishnaabe inawendiwin urges us to remain committed to Indigenous nation partners regardless of budgets and beyond research grant timelines; to attend to accountabilities towards more-than-human communities; to foster loving, personal relationships with research partners; and to involve youth genuinely in the partnerships.
Academic communities are increasingly acknowledging that, when working in Indigenous territories, researchers need to be highly engaged and strive for respectful and committed partnerships with Indigenous nations and communities (Rundstrom and Deur 1999; Tallbear 2014). Partnerships of this nature are built upon honorable and often deeply personal relationships (Fox et al. 2017; Tallbear 2014). However, the nature of honorable relationships (e.g., trustworthy, honest, loving, etc.) is determined in culturally specific ways and is rooted in a given community's own ethical protocols and traditions. Ultimately, the communities with which I have the privilege to work need to determine whether our relationships are honorable and these evaluations are distinct from research ethics assessments by institutional review boards.
In her attempt to provide guidance for working with Indigenous communities in ethical and respectful ways, Native Hawaiian geographer Renee Pualani Louis (2007) reviewed Indigenous research methodologies and identified four overarching principles: relational accountability, respectful representation, reciprocal appropriation, and rights and regulation. These principles are general guides for ethical research, but to put them into action, they need to be informed by community-specific ethics, protocols, and understandings.
In this contribution, I rely on my cultural background and the lessons I have learned from my research partners to unpack one of Louis' four principles, relational accountability, in a culturally-specific way. I am Anishnaabe (Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians), and most of my research partnerships have been with various Anishnaabe nations in the Great Lakes region of the United States and Canada. To explore this research principle and its ethical context, I present success stories and lessons learned from my various research partnerships in Anishnaabe territories, reflect on my perspective as an Anishnaabe scholar, and discuss these examples and perspectives in light of Indigenous (more pointedly, Anishnaabe) studies and ethnobiological literature. Through this discussion and presentation of examples, I hope to provide tangible insights into human-environment research and the study of environmental knowledge in Anishnaabe cultural and political contexts.
Relational accountability references the “kincentric” (Salmón 2000) beliefs among many Indigenous Peoples, which holds that people are dependent on and related to everything and everyone around them, including air, water, rocks, plants, animals, and so-called “supernatural” beings (Louis 2007). It implies that, as a researcher, I am not only responsible for nurturing and maintaining relationships with my specific community collaborators, but I am also accountable to entire communities where I work (Steinhauer 2002; Wilson 2001; Wilson and Wilson 1998). This potentially includes my collaborators' non-human network of relations.
The principle of relational accountability emerged primarily as an Indigenous counternarrative that questions extractive modes of research. As an Anishnaabe scholar who does community-oriented research, the principle makes sense and feels right to me. Nevertheless, it is not always clear who I am accountable to in the context of research relationships with Indigenous nations. In this section of the paper, I provide some context that helps explain why relational accountability matters and why it is not always a simple research principle to enact.
It is important to recognize that Indigenous People often view university researchers skeptically because of the scientific community's record of unethical and unchecked research practices in Indigenous territories (Hoover 2017; Smith 2013). I am Anishnaabe, but if I approach an Indigenous nation with a research idea or proposal, they see me as a scientist and an academic first, and an Indigenous person second. This means that I carry the baggage of any unethical or dishonorable research practices that the community has historically experienced. One of the more well-known cases of unethical practices is a relatively recent incident from the University of Arizona, where blood samples collected from Havasupai Tribal community members were used for non-consensual genetic research (Mello and Wolf 2010). Many other, less abhorrent examples have been discussed, including social anthropologist Paul Sillitoe's (2015) critique of particular forms of participant observation ethnography culminating in publications that Indigenous community “subjects” regard as detached from their realities.
Collectively, the relationship between the academic community and Indigenous groups has, for generations, been paternalistic and Indigenous ways of knowing have not fully been valued or respected (Castleden et al. 2017). Past experiences with universities can lead Indigenous communities to believe that all research is designed to benefit academics, not community members (Smith 2013). As a result, communities are left feeling “researched to death” (Hoover 2017: 15).
In part because of the skepticism communities feel about academic research, forging relationships is not quick or easy work. It requires spending a lot of time together. In my research partnerships, we make a lot of space for personal conversations about things other than research. We make space for going beyond the rigid fieldwork itinerary and, as such, some of the richest learning opportunities are the most spontaneous ones. We participate fully in tribal cultural protocols when invited to do so. And when I fail to participate in these slower, relational processes, it can cause fledgling projects to flounder.
Having good intentions about my research relationships is not sufficient. Even in instances when researchers have every intention of honoring and valuing Indigenous collaborators, good intentions do not always lead to respectful actions. As geographer Jay Johnson and his co-authors (2016: 3) remind us, “In engaging in dialogue with Indigenous sciences, scientists cannot skip to the end-point imaginary of a dialogue of equals. We have to learn to listen and to hear.”
Questions about research relationships with Indigenous nations are simultaneously ethical and political. To geographer Robert Rundstrom and ethnobotanist Doug Deur (1999), research ethics are a contextual and relational matter that require deep consideration of the social relationships shaping interactions among community and university research partners. A key aspect of this relationality is how we position ourselves vis-à-vis community partners, and this positionality reflects deeply entrenched power relations. Kim Tallbear (2014: 2) discusses her research process as seeking out and articulating shared goals and desires while staying engaged in critical conversation and producing new knowledge and insights. She describes her positionality as “standing with” as opposed to “reaching out” or “giving back,” which “sounds more akin to standing on two sides of a boundary that parties view as pretty much set.” To help equilibrate the paternalistic and colonial history of university-Indigenous relations, Castelden and colleagues (2017: 1) suggest, “[university researchers] have to take a backseat and abandon the arrogance of expertise.” Sillitoe (2015: 24) reiterates, “it is time we sought to give an equal hearing to other voices and views. We need to embark on a journey together.”
Renee Pualani Louis (2007) argues that research on Indigenous issues and research conducted with Indigenous nations should be carried out in a manner which is respectful and ethically sound from the perspective of the Indigenous Peoples we work with. This is a seemingly simple point, but it is easily overlooked and much research with Indigenous Peoples fails this basic test (Smith 2013). As researchers, we are trained to conduct ourselves in ethical ways, but this training is most commonly based on the ethics of Western science and redefines our Indigenous partners into “human subjects” or “key informants” of our research.
Within ethnobiology, the ethical standards that guide relationships between researchers and community or Indigenous nation partners have changed over the decades and much of the field now embraces the principle of relational accountability, although typically without using this specific term (Bannister et al. 2009; Hardison and Bannister 2011). Around the 1990s, many ethnobiologists recognized we could no longer “indulge our intellectual curiosity however and wherever we pleased” (Hunn 2007: 7). Collaborative approaches and co-production of knowledge are increasingly common aspirations in the field. Researchers like Iain Davidson-Hunt and R. Michael O'Flaherty (2007) are blurring the lines between research relationships and research outcomes via place-based learning communities and dialogic networks where research protocols are seen as site-specific expressions of relationship building processes. One of the main principles that guides Amadeo Rea's influential vision of ethnobiology is the idea that “ethnobiological research is founded on mutually respectful, trusting relationships between the ethnobiologist and the descendent communities” (Lepofsky and Feeney 2013: 47).
The evolution of early anthropological practices and university-community research partnerships represented a paradigm shift within the field of ethnobiology (Hunn 2007). Ethnobiologists are now contemplating new philosophical questions concerning the relationship between ontology and epistemology in ethnobiological research (Daly et al. 2016; Fowler and Herron 2018). I argue that continuing to work on Indigenous community-university research relationships, as the discipline has done for the past several decades, will provide more contextual footing and advance the latest philosophical discussions in ethnobiology concerning ontology, epistemology, and the ways ethnobiologists engage Indigenous environmental knowledge.
Researchers in and beyond ethnobiology have a keen interest in understanding the nature of Indigenous environmental knowledge. Despite some strides, researchers have not made as much progress as we would like in this conceptual arena; I believe this is because we have been too focused on trying to understand what Indigenous knowledge is rather than participating in the relationships that are the foundation of Indigenous ways of knowing and being. Several Indigenous scholars, including Deb McGregor, Kyle Whyte, Dale Turner, Dan Longboat, and Robin Kimmerer, have noted for over 15 years that the point of Indigenous knowledge is not understanding ecological relationships, but participating in and tending to relationships—with plants, animals, mountains, waters, and with one another.
When researchers focus their attention on building and maintaining relationships, the connection between ontology and epistemology in ethnobiology becomes more clear. Rather than pondering what plant ontologies might look like, we can speak to plants. Whether or not as individual researchers we are ready to speak and listen to plants (or animals) directly in our work, we can set up our research collaborations, professional meetings, and classes in ways that make room for and value Indigeneity, that is, to “clear and reclaim the epistemological space that allows Indigenous knowledge to flow and to grow” (Goodyear-Ka'o- pua 2013: 141).
An important aspect of clearing epistemological space for Indigenous knowledge in our work is to cultivate honorable and loving relationships with our Indigenous nation partners. In the following section, I think through Anishnaabe understandings of relational accountability and how these Anishnaabe teachings can help foster authentic research partnerships and create space for Indigenous knowledge “to flow and to grow.”
The principle of relational accountability relates directly to Anishnaabe teachings of inawendiwin (relating):
Anishinaabe enawendawin1 is our way of relating to each other and to all of Creation. It is an all-inclusive relationship that honours the interconnectedness of all our relations, and recognizes and honours the human place and responsibility within the family of Creation. (Seven Generations Education Institute 2015)
Anishnaabe inawendiwin is a way of relating to spirit and to one another that honors the interconnectedness of all our relations—kina enwemgik. Relationships based in inawendiwin teachings are respectful of the individual, as well as the integrity of the collective. Such relationships are “personal, honest, caring, responsive and sharing, and, built upon our identity with and connection to spirit, land, environment and all of creation” (Seven Generations Education Institute 2015).
Cree scholar Shawn Wilson explains that within Indigenous paradigms, knowledge is always relational. Knowledge is something that emerges from, and is shared among, all of creation and the cosmos (Wilson 2001). Knowledge is not created or owned by individuals. Relational knowledge comes out of the dense webs of connections that exist between humans, more-than-human beings, lands, and waters, in specific places around the globe. Relational knowledge is alive and it is animate. In this sense, as Anishnaabe geographer Deb McGregor (2009) points out, environmental knowledge is not so much an understanding of the web of ecological relationships, it is the relationships themselves. Thinking of knowledge in this way recasts intellectual pursuits and “knowledge production” in a way that pushes ego out and creates space for humility. John Mohawk articulates this from his perspective as a Seneca man:
An individual is not smart, according to our culture. An individual is merely lucky to be a part of a system that has intelligence that happens to reside in them. In other words, be humble about this always. The real intelligence isn't the property of an individual corporation-the real intelligence is the property of the universe itself. (Mohawk 2010: 277)
Accountability to Indigenous Communities
Indigenous communities are the only entities that can assess the potential for harm in a research proposal involving those communities (Tallbear 2014). As such, relational accountability begins first and foremost with the people of the nation or community with whom I am working. I am accountable to everyone and need to ensure no harm is done to any individuals or the community in its entirety. Since researchers cannot connect with every community member, we rely on key individuals and groups who have their finger on the pulse of the community to help develop and approve research proposals. What has worked best for me is to find knowledgeable people in the community (e.g., Elders or environmental managers) who are willing to spend time with me and visit without an agenda. In the Anishnaabe language, the act of visiting this way could be described with the term, bwaajwewin. Through visiting, I find people are willing to discuss community needs and priorities, which allows me to begin the process of figuring out where my skills might fit in and to identify systems of accountability.
In addition to bwaajwewin, Tribal or Band councils and Indigenous research review boards can help us determine specific plans or strategies for enacting research principles (Louis 2007), including relational accountability, but especially the principle of rights and regulation concerning data ownership and sovereignty. While this is a time-intensive process, co-creating thoughtful plans and protocols with a group of elected or appointed officials is an important starting place for many research partnerships.
I learned the hard way that working with a Nation's Tribal or Band council is an important process, even if you are an Indigenous scholar working in your home community or in an Indigenous nation you have worked with in the past. A few years ago, while initiating a new research project with a community with whom I had worked in the past, I skipped the critical process of communication with the Tribal Council and nearly ended the research endeavor before it began. I took for granted that I had community approval because I had worked with this Tribe before, because I was already close with the Tribal staff with whom I was working, and because we were planning the research project together for over a year. We received funding from a university sponsor who did not require or ask for a letter from the Tribal Council. I arrived in the community in late summer with a group of Indigenous collaborators from other Indigenous Nations. We were there to exchange ideas, learn from one another, and visit the territories of the host Tribe. A few elected Tribal officials pulled me aside before our first meal together in their territories and asked, “Why have we not heard about this research project before this week? You know better. You need to run this sort of thing by us as a proposal well in advance of applying for grant funding.”
I was caught off guard by my own actions. I had broken a golden rule for working respectfully and honorably in Indigenous territories. In my haste to pull this project together, I assumed the Tribal Council would know about and approve of our plans. I apologized profusely, took full responsibility, and the Tribal leaders responded with generosity and grace. The embarrassment I felt over my actions has stuck with me and will certainly prevent me from making this same mistake in the future.
A second lesson I have learned about relational accountability through my own mistakes is the importance of being committed and responsible to communities regardless of funding. I worked with a tribal college (Bay Mills Community College) on a variety of partnerships for close to ten years. After our working relationship was interrupted for a couple of years, I tried to reinitiate a new collaboration through the co-development of a grant proposal. We developed a strong proposal for a highly competitive program, but it was not funded. We refocused our proposal and submitted it to another funding program, but were met with a second rejection. This second rejection happened in 2014, and to date we have not discussed next steps or figured out how we might accomplish some of the objectives in the absence of grant funding. I let our conversation wane but, in hindsight, some of the most important objectives that we outlined in our proposal could have been addressed without a large budget and without asking staff from the College to take on additional responsibilities.
If I want to maintain a relationship with this Tribal institution, inawendiwin teachings hold that I need to be committed and take responsibility for working on important issues and projects regardless of funding. Leanne Simpson (2008: 77) warns that we need to confront and break free from the “funding mentality,” which holds that our research and work with communities must involve large budgets and be paid for by outside groups. Ethnoecologist Andrew Miller (First Nations University of Canada) expressed this same sentiment in a question and answer session at the 2017 Society of Ethnobiology meeting in Montreal, Quebec, inspiring me to genuinely rethink my research priorities and commitments.
Accountability to More-than-Human Persons
Considering Anishnaabe inawendiwin in the context of research practice motivates me to rethink rights, responsibilities, and accountability within my research endeavors. If I take seriously the idea of relational knowledge, plants and animals suddenly have the right to a consent process. I find some guidance down this path from Potawatomi ethnobiologist Robin Kimmerer (2013), who describes Anishnaabe ethics of an “honorable harvest” that include asking permission and listening for answers before gathering any of the gifts of the Earth. Similarly, Arquette et al. (2004: 333) describe how the Haudenosaunee Ohen: ton Karihwatehkwen, or Thanksgiving Address, provides the basis for their environmental health research and an associated reconciliation process, by placing human beings “firmly in an interdependent coequal relationship with what we know as other ‘nations’—these being the various elements of creation that others think of as separate species, natural forces and phenomena.”
While working with an all-Anishnaabe research team in 2011, we began our research partnership with a pipe ceremony to gain spiritual guidance on the direction of our work. This was intuitive to us, but using Indigenous protocols within a mixed (Indigenous/non-Indigenous) research team is a more complicated endeavor. Some Indigenous researchers and community members will not want to involve non-Indigenous partners in their spiritual practices. Not all non-Indigenous research partners have the desire or make the time to participate in a community partner's cultural protocols. Time constraints tied to busy field seasons, tight budgets, and funding timelines create obstacles for academic partners to participate in cultural activities that are unlikely to be included in their list of research objectives (Castleden et al. 2012; Coombes et al. 2014; Mulrennan et al. 2012).
Despite these constraints, I have successfully relied on Anishnaabe protocols in my work within multi-cultural research teams. The spirits consulted in our 2011 ceremony made us all aware of an important blind spot in our research, the need to thoroughly involve youth in our work which, for me, affirmed the value and power of including ceremony in research. Working with my own community (Sault Ste Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians) and a neighboring community (Bay Mills Indian Community) in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, we held a three-day workshop where members of the Bay Mills community shared some of their knowledge about naaknaash (broadleaf cattail, Typha latifolia) to help us sort out our collective concerns and relationship to a newly introduced cattail species (Typha x glauca) that has transformed wetland communities within the Great Lakes region. Following Anishnaabe protocol, we opened and closed this workshop with ceremony. These cultural protocols set a tone for the workshop where no one needed to be “the expert” and everyone was open to teaching and learning. One of the main purposes of our ceremonies was to speak to the cattail and express our intentions and ask permission to harvest and cook cattail in our meeting.
Indigenous community members are actively involved in all phases of our research projects; in the future, I would like to see us engage more-than-human community members in all phases as well. I envision not only asking permission but engaging in a dialogue with plant and animal nations and our other relations prior to initiating research within their homelands. I engage in this practice at a most basic level regularly, for instance talking to local spirits and asking permission before entering a forest or wetland I am studying. But only recently have I begun to see these conversations as consent processes that weweni bzindan (require deep listening), as opposed to acts of gratitude and propitiation. Would mikinaak (Eastern snapping turtle, Chelydra serpentina) be willing to give feedback on my research ideas? Would giizhik (Northern white cedar, Thuja occidentalis) review the key concepts or framing for my next manuscript? Perhaps even better questions are, “how are these relatives influencing my work already” and “how could I engage more conscientiously in a dialogue with these and other relatives about the focus or particularities of my work?”
In our research on an introduced, hybrid cattail, we have grappled with the ethics of our work and how to balance ethical dimensions with more tangible research objectives. But, by bringing in our non-human partners, we have gained new and insightful perspectives. For example, we regard zhashkoonh (muskrat, Ondatra zibethicus) as our teacher because of his extensive knowledge and use of cattails and coastal marshes. We are experimentally constructing open water habitat within dense colonies of hybrid cattail, mimicking the open water habitats created by zhashkoonh. We wonder if zhashkoonh-like open water channels could affect biodiversity measures within “invaded” wetlands, similar to what is found in zhashkoonh habitat in uninvaded coastal wetlands. Basing our experimental design on observations of zhashkoonh is one small way to involve non-human relations in our research, but I am motivated to engage more deeply in the teachings of this animal relative. This will involve spending a lot more time learning from muskrat and learning from Anishnaabe people who know muskrat best, including, for example, trappers.
Anishnaabe inawendiwin teachings are cause for reflection and to rethink the roles within research teams and how they are composed. Animals can become our teachers and rivers can be our collaborators and co-authors. As Haudenosaunee researchers Arquette et al. (2004) explain, other animal nations are our original teachers and have taught humans about medicine, about how to hunt and store food, and how to survive. They continue to teach us and are sources of emotional and spiritual strength. When we recognize more-than-human beings as part of our web of relations (or the web of relations recognized by our Indigenous research partners) and as our teachers, it is no longer appropriate to think of them as “study subjects.” Such an orientation forces us to re-evaluate research terminology and recognize that terms, such as “study subject,” “study system,” and “research protocol,” can take on different meaning for our collaborators or may be irrelevant.
Love and Personal Relationships
Research based in Anishnaabe inawendiwin is about cultivating and nurturing relationships. Collaborators spend time together practicing the art of bwaajwewin. We eat, we laugh, we contemplate, we learn, we teach, and we write. I concur with Tallbear (2014), who says we need to regard the research process itself, including the visiting and relationship building, as a primary outcome. She notes, “it is also helpful to think creatively about the research process as a relationship-building process, as a professional networking process with colleagues (not “subjects”), as an opportunity for conversation and sharing of knowledge, not simply data gathering” (Tallbear 2014: 2).
In their contributions to a compilation entitled Centering Anishnaabeg Studies, Anishnaabe writers Basil Johnston (2013) and Niigaanwewidam Sinclair (2013) discuss love as a process and outcome of Anishnaabek storytelling, an intellectual tradition and form of research. They encourage us to think about ourselves, our relationships, our Nations, and our stories as verbs and as nouns (Johnston 2013)—as “vessels of life” and acts of creation and “relationship-making” (Sinclair 2013: 83). The act of storytelling and relationship-making in research are acts of love. These acts both maintain us and re-create us at the same time. Seen in this light, our collaborations and knowledge creation efforts become highly creative acts in the most generative sense. They are loving and sacred acts. Sean Wilson (2008) compels us to compare this creative process of relationship building to research traditions that encourage us to break down and dissect relationships in order to understand them. It is not unreasonable for us to think of loving emotional commitments in our research—biologists often love the plants and animals they so intimately study. Ornithologists can exhibit deep love and reverence for birds (e.g., see works by Lars Pomara and Allan Mee). Bryologists can love and defend their mosses (Kimmerer 2003).
The personal relationships we develop with research partners can be powerful and last a lifetime. I remember the first time a research partner, now a very close friend, told me “I love you.” It was at the end of a week of intense “fieldwork” (bwaajwewin-focused interactions where we were sharing stories and knowledge about river restoration). Our group was parting ways, with half of us headed to the airport and the other half headed fishing for a week. I felt the same as when I say goodbye to my aunts, uncles, and cousins at the end of a family dinner or holiday feast. We say, “I love you” and share a kiss before leaving. My friend and collaborator Frank did just that and, in doing so, he was saying that we are family. As my half of the group pulled out of the parking lot, Frank chased after our van on foot, waving at us and saying, “I love you guys!” This moment and our interactions since define, for me, the possibilities of deep and personal relationships that can emerge from inawendiwin-oriented research.
Youth and Intergeneration Relationships
Indigenous communities tend to define youth broadly, inclusive of infants, young leaders, and professionals. I aspire to involve young people at multiple levels in my research, including, but not limited to, bwaajwewin, project framing, cultural protocols, data collection, writing, and dissemination of findings. Many Indigenous nations have youthful demographics, with half or more of their citizens under 18. Involving youth helps ensure that your efforts are sustained over the long haul (Whyte et al. 2017).
A comment I hear a lot in Indigenous communities is “the youth are the future.” I do not regard this insight as cliché, but as a teaching that fits within the broader context of inawendiwin. I interpret the insight in two ways. First, our research partnerships are opportunities for giving young people professional and cultural experiences or learning opportunities. In this sense, we are training our future leaders. Second, is that youth have skills, knowledge, and wisdom that has the potential to make research smarter and more relevant now and into the future. From this perspective, I see young people as my collaborators and teachers.
In this contribution, I am attempting to contribute to a much-needed dialogue between Indigenous studies and ethnobiology (and by extension anthropology; Sillitoe 2015). It is also a form of prayer, miigwechwewin, where I am thanking my friends and research partners for all they have taught me and thanking them for their patience when I am a slow learner. I am also asking for clarity and to seek guidance from readers. I am still immersed in a learning phase of my life; I am trying to sort out how to conduct myself in a good way as an Anishnaabe person and scholar. I ask you to call me out for the times when I have been a dishonorable research partner and to correct my misunderstandings or underdeveloped representation of Anishnaabe teachings.
Chi miigwech for giving me the space to think, learn, and pray through this article. Indigenous studies, along with allied fields, including engaged anthropology and ethnobiology, are helping me understand the value of these principles and re-center my research ethics around honorable relationships with Indigenous Nations. To move from understanding to praxis, I need to work with my partners to co-determine strategies and accountabilities for enacting these principles within specific contexts and for specific actions. The work and responsibility of inawendiwin-based research involves sorting out honorable relationships, partnership by partnership, and reckoning what is ethically sound and respectful research according to the specific nations, and, in some instances, the specific families within a nation that I have the privilege to work with.
I would like to thank Laura Ogden for her thoughtful review of early drafts of this manuscript, the special issue guest editors for their many rounds of excellent edits and constant encouragement, and my anonymous peer reviewers. All of these individuals helped shape the final form of this article. Chi miigwech to Minogiizhgad of Bkejwanong and Joyce and Andy McGregor from Manitoulin Island for helping me with the Ojibwe language aspects of this article. Finally, I want to thank my research partners from the Indigenous Confluence Initiative, from Team Typha, from my home Tribe, and from the Bay Mills Indian Community for your commitment to our friendship and work together.