2010 Conference - Ethical Issues in Studying Minorities and Indigenous Peoples (Spide)
Ethical Issues in StudyingMinorities and Indigenous Peoples Eileen Luna-Firebaugh & Kate Spilde, Arizona State University & San Diego State University November 14, 2010
Public Policy Questions• Concerns about impacts on minorities and indigenous peoples mirror larger gaming industry: • Relationship between tribal gaming industry and a set of economic or social outcomes, including impact on nearby populations; • Impacts on gamblers themselves.
Tribal Community Concerns• Research or recovery needs within minority or indigenous communities may not mirror mainstream public policy questions• Non-Natives bring intervention frameworks and tools that may not be appropriate or necessary or meaningful• Important to look, listen and learn
What we Know• Tribal gaming industry has brought income and employment benefits to tribal and non- tribal communities• Economic and social indicators reveal improvements in education and family income• Poverty and unemployment decrease with the introduction of tribal gaming
Tribal Community Research Challenges• Myths about social costs persist due to perceived lack of transparency and real lack of data• Paradox of transparency for tribal governments: • Releasing tribal or gaming data can improve public relations and support research/policy analysis • Tribal resources/rights are more easily targeted when they are well documented (revenue sharing)
Indian Gaming Regulatory Act• “Congress finds that -- • (4) a principle goal of Federal Indian policy is to promote tribal economic development, tribal self- sufficiency, and strong tribal governments”
Need for New Metrics• Downstream benefits rarely captured or considered• Tribal gaming suggests and prompts further economic development, government innovation and partnership creation• Current research methods understate the social and economic benefits because they show up in additional locations and populations, not datasets• Many researchers fail to make long-term data commitments to tribal communities.
Need for Collaboration• Refrain from imposing outside solutions• Look for strengths and acknowledge what is working and offer encouragement• Stay objective and non-political• View your work as service and let go of the notion of “helping” or “fixing”• Don’t take yourself too seriously
Impact on Gamblers• Zitzow, D. (1996) Comparative study of problematic gambling behaviors between American Indian and non-Indian adults in a northern plains reservation.• Volberg, R.A. & Abbott, M.W. (1997) Gambling and problem gambling among indigenous peoples.• Wardman, D. & el-Guebaly, N. (2001) Problem and Pathological Gambling in North American Aboriginal Populations: A Review of the Empirical Literature.• Costello, E.J. (2003) Relationships Between Poverty and Psychopathology : A Natural Experiment .
Challenges• SOGS not validated for native/minority communities• Native urban communities not studied in spite of higher rates of alcoholism and limited access to services• Poor generalizability since studies don’t account for community gambling opportunities• Tribal community-level factors not included (rate of unemployment, presence/absence of community resources/ social agencies, lack of recreational outlets)• Difficult to capture impacts of the stress of reservation life• Grief from residential/boarding schools poorly understood & rarely included
Long –Term Commitments• One shortcoming of outside efforts has been tendency to exploit the opportunity for personal gain and then abandon the community• Learn the language, songs and ceremonies• Attend community activities and pitch in however you can• Include fun and laughter wherever possible
Need for Qualitative Research• Fear of approaching tribal governments for permission• Focus on long-term commitment to tribal relationship-building not datasets• Lack of respect for qualitative work generally, dismissing it as anecdotal, unscientific or biased (“just stories”)
Imperfect Methods• Important to continue to pursue research on tribal gaming impacts in spite of imperfect methods• Gambling policy continues to evolve in spite of the research limitations• Evolving methods and limited datasets can contribute to public policy discussions while being shaped by them.