Research Ethicist Examining Study Of Dene People

Tuesday, April 14, 2009 at 15:37



Research conducted more than two years ago in northern Saskatchewan by a researcher from a British university is raising some concerns.


In 2006, Suzi Bekkattla was attending a celebration in northern Saskatchewan when she ran into a woman from Cambridge University who was doing research on Dene people.


The researcher was taking mouth swabs from the Dene in Saskatchewan, Alberta and British Columbia.


Bekkattla became concerned with whether people were giving proper consent and questioned the researcher, who assured her they had but didn’t produce any documentation.


Bekkattla was eventually put in touch with Raven Sinclair, the assistant director of the Indigenous Peoples Health Research Centre, who is meeting with representatives from the Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations today in Saskatoon about the matter.


Sinclair says part of the reason she is involved as a representative from the IPHRC is because her organization focuses on enhancing research ethics knowledge amongst Aboriginal communities as well as university researchers.


She says she will provide the FSIN with background on the situation, as well as ethical standards, so it can determine if it will challenge this researcher or leave it be.


Sinclair says the researcher plans to defend her dissertation this fall, and if she is successful, she can use that information and samples for anything she wants.