Msit No'kmaq: An Exploration of Positionality and Identity in Indigenous Research


  • Erica Samms Hurley Memorial University of Newfoundland Grenfell Campus
  • Margot Jackson University of Alberta



Identity, Positionality, Indigenous research, Relational accountability, Relations


In this paper I explore the Mi’kmaq words Mist No’kmaq, which can be translated as ‘all my relations’. Msit No'kmaq is not only at the center of who I am as a person, but also who I am becoming as a researcher. Reflecting on how to honor all my relations within research, has allowed me to explore my beliefs about research, thereby developing a clear understanding of the purpose and intentions of engaging in Indigenous research. Rather than seeing researchers as insiders or outsiders within the context of Indigenous communities, I argue that it is important to engage in reflexive processes that make visible a researcher’s positionality and who they are and are becoming.


*Keywords: Identity, positionality, Indigenous research, relations, relational accountability


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Author Biographies

Erica Samms Hurley, Memorial University of Newfoundland Grenfell Campus

Erica (Samms) Hurley is a Mi’kmaw woman from western Newfoundland. She is a Registered nurse and is currently a Nurse Educator at Western Regional School of Nursing, Grenfell Campus, Memorial University of Newfoundland. Erica is also a adjunct Professor in the School of Arts and Social Sciences at Grenfell Campus. She is currently a PhD of Nursing student at the University of Alberta. Erica is grounded in cultural knowledge which she draws upon for her work with various committees locally, provincially and nationally, which include the Institute Advisory Committee for Nutrition, Metabolism and Diabetes for Canadian Institute of Health Research, Newfoundland and Labrador Provincial Advisory Committee for the Status of Women, and Memorial University’s President’s Advisory Committee on Aboriginal Affairs.While she has been recognized for her achievements and contributions by the Governor General’s Award in Commemoration of the Persons Case and the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Award for her work with Indigenous youth and women she recognizes the many other individuals who have attributed to her journey.

Margot Jackson, University of Alberta

Dr. Jackson is an Assistant Professor in the Faculty of Nursing at the University of Alberta. Her research, clinical and professional background focuses on the areas of child and youth mental health, community health, harm reduction and populations who are socially vulnerable. Dr. Jackson incorporates the impact of the social determinants of health as well as trauma informed practice within her research, practice and teaching. She has a strong background in qualitative methods, particularly narrative inquiry participatory action research and thematic analysis.




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How to Cite

Samms Hurley, E., & Jackson, M. (2020). Msit No’kmaq: An Exploration of Positionality and Identity in Indigenous Research. Witness: The Canadian Journal of Critical Nursing Discourse, 2(1), 39–50.