Statistics about indigenes must be accounted for: Tahu Kukutai, Maggie Walter, ‘Indigenous Statistics’, in Pranee Liamputtong (ed.), Handbook of Research Methods in Health Social Sciences, Springer, 2017


Abstract: Statistics about Indigenous peoples are a common feature of Anglo-colonizing nation states such as Canada, Australia, Aotearoa New Zealand, and the United States (CANZUS). The impetus for the production of most Indigenous statistics is the shared position of Indigenous disadvantage in health and socioeconomic status. In this chapter, we contrast statistics about Indigenous peoples with statistics for Indigenous people and statistics by Indigenous people. There are very significant differences between these categories of Indigenous statistics. At the heart of these differences is the methodology that informs the research processes and practices. Statistics about Indigenous peoples often reflect the dominant social norms, values, and racial hierarchy of the society in which they are created. In the CANZUS states, these statistics are deficit focused and, at times, victim blaming. Also missing from these statistical portrayals is the culture, interests, perspectives, and alternative narratives of the Indigenous peoples that they purport to represent. We contrast these statistics with those from statistical research using processes and practices that are shaped by Indigenous methodologies. Indigenous methodologies are distinguished by their prioritization of Indigenous methods, protocols, values, and epistemologies. We conclude with two examples of what Indigenous quantitative methodologies look like in practice from Aotearoa NZ and Australia.

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