History tells us of the overwhelming destructive influence of exotic culture, politics and knowledge forms upon the worldview and wellbeing of Indigenous Australians. The power of dominant culture to oppress, control and dominate traditional Indigenous ways of knowing and being has been identified as a being a crucial influence on the health status, future hopes and aspirations of Indigenous Australians. Fundamental to this assertion is that the alienating effect of the belief in and application of the scientific method in relation to learning and knowing is a phenomenon that is incompatible with the law and cultural ways of traditional Indigenous people. The establishment of the Centre of Clinical Research Excellence (CCRE) is predicated upon and responds to a deep need in our community today to synthesise the ideological and epistemological premises of an increasing range of cultures and world views. It recognises that clinical research, for example, is important to the health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, but also that the way such research is designed and carried out is also crucial to its potential to effect change in and improve the state of Indigenous health in Australia. This paper examines knowledge principles and processes associated with research in Indigenous communities, explores emerging research trends in science and proposes an epistemological framework for synthesis of traditional approaches with those of the scientific paradigm.
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