Barbara Harrison has developed guidelines for collaborative programs based on her experience in indigenous communities in Alaska and New Zealand. Most of her program examples are taken from education and vocational training, but the guidelines can be useful for programs in health, social services, and other areas as well. Researchers, teachers, and others from outside indigenous communities will find these recommendations helpful if they intend to work in collaborative relationships. Also, local communities can take advantage of the guidelines when they set up new programs.
Educational anthropologist Barbara Harrison is a straight shooter. Whether the collaborative programs in which she has participated succeeded or not, they are probed for lessons learned, pitfalls to watch out for. And that's what makes this book so valuablea set of practical guidelines for program developers offered with a close examination of how those guidelines evolved in a quarter century of development work among indigenous communities in Alaska and New Zealand. A must for those who strive to be effective community workers, which, as the author points out, requires that they think and act like fieldworkers, rather than simply as do-gooders or community servants.
Harrison has superbly integrated philosophy and advice for collaborative fieldwork with detailed accounts of six projects in Alaska and New Zealand. Because she is evidently a terrific journal keeper, the six personal narrative of events spanning two decades read as vividly as if she were telling us what happened yesterday. I can't imagine a better guide for anyone going as outside expert (researcher, teacher, etc.) into a local community. The six narrative chapters all take place in indigenous communities, but the book is relevant anywhere.
Few social scientists have been able to bridge the insider-outsider divide with indigenous populations as effectively as Barbara Harrison. And she has done so not just in one milieu, but in twowith Native people in Alaska and with Maori people in Aotearoa/New Zealand. This account of her experiences as a participant-observer-contributor in the development of several important socio-political and educational initiatives will be a valuable reference for indigenous people seeking to initiate change, as well as for the non-indigenous researchers and educators who work with them.