In the sixth installment of the Society for Qualitative Inquiry in Psychology (SQIP) Distinguished Researcher Interview Series, Nisha Gupta and Logan Barsigian speak with Joseph Gone about Indigenous psychology and methods of inquiry.
Dr. Joseph P. Gone (Aaniiih-Gros Ventre) is professor of Anthropology and of Global Health and Social Medicine at Harvard University, where he also serves as Faculty Director of the Native American Program. Trained as a clinical-community psychologist, Gone received the 2021 APA Award for Distinguished Professional Contributions to Applied Research.
In this conversation, Gone describes his approach to Indigenous psychology as a form of interpretative cultural psychology that centers the application of Indigenous concepts, traditions, and expertise to the development of therapeutic programs and services. He describes his collaborative work with community members to develop the Blackfeet Culture Camp as a therapeutic addiction program that harnesses traditional and spiritual Indigenous practices and ways-of-knowing. Gone reflects on the importance of promoting Indigenous epistemologies and an anti-colonial political agenda, while also maintaining cautious discretion due to histories of colonial subjugation, New Age cultural misappropriation, and problematic essentialism when discussing anti-colonial work. Finally, he reflects on the philosophy of science and its multiplicity of diverse epistemologies, including Indigenous ways of knowing as holistic, oral, personal, experiential and storied (HOPES).
For viewers interested in particular portions of the interview, we are including the following timestamps:
1:05. Gone defines his approach to indigenous psychology as a form of interpretative cultural psychology which centers the application of Indigenous concepts, traditions, and expertise to the development of therapeutic programs and services.
5:30. Gone explains his ethical commitment of practical problem-solving to develop health services in Indigenous communities that are relevant for everyone. He discusses how this commitment to praxis guides his choice of methodological tools, and how he avoids essentializing Indigenous and Western methods in opposition to each other when doing so.
10:05. Gone differentiates between the implications of the terms “decolonial” and “anti-colonial” as they relate to Indigenous emancipation and restoration of land.
12:30. Gone discusses his collaborative work with community members to develop the Blackfeet Culture Camp as a therapeutic addiction program that harnesses traditional and spiritual Indigenous practices and ways-of-knowing.
20:30. Gone describes the sensitive nature of disclosing Indigenous sacred epistemologies and practices in academic contexts, due to historical colonial subjugation as well as new-age cultural misappropriation.
27:45. Gone reflects on how ongoing academic mentorship and community-building, including with SQIP, have been essential resources in empowering his academic career trajectory as an Indigenous community psychologist.
37:30. Gone offers insights about the philosophy of science and its multiplicity of diverse methodologies and definitions, as it relates to indigenous inquiry and qualitative research more broadly.
46:30. Gone discusses foundational attributes of Indigenous ways of knowing as holistic, oral, personal, experiential and storied (HOPES), and reflects on ways to bridge these epistemologies with academic knowledge-production.
Logan Barsigian is a doctoral student in social psychology at the University of California, Santa Cruz and a student member of SQIP.
Nisha Gupta is an assistant professor of psychology at the University of West Georgia, and the communications chair of SQIP.