Essentials of research engagement with native American tribes: Data collection reflections of a tribal research team

Teresa N Brockie, Gail Dana-Sacco, Miriam Magaña López, Lawrence Wetsit

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Background: A community-based participatory research (CBPR) approach, particularly relevant when collecting data on sensitive topics, was employed to partner with reservation tribes to assess suicide risk among Native American (NA) youth. Objectives: To share relationship-building strategies used by an NA research team to build a partnership for collecting data. Methods: Our collective knowledge was used to cultivate a deeper understanding of the community, build trust, and partner to engage in a respectful tribally appropriate research process. This approach provided a solid foundation for our inquiry on risk and protective factors for youth suicide. Lessons Learned: A culturally grounded approach recognizes the importance of (1) ethnic concordance, (2) cultural acceptance, (3) taking time to build trust, and (4) using CBPR principles. Conclusions: Significant participation of Native researchers in sensitive topics research with tribal communities is a promising strategy for trust building and partnership development. Understanding tribal context is imperative.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)301-307
Number of pages7
JournalProgress in Community Health Partnerships: Research, Education, and Action
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1 2017



  • Community-based participatory research
  • Health disparities
  • Native american youth
  • Sensitive topics
  • Vulnerable populations

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Education
  • Sociology and Political Science

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