Such a program would be based on proposals submitted jointly by Native or local groups, and scientific laboratories or agencies. In principle, the proposals would be written and submitted by these groups as the lead investigators. The funding for competitive proposals would go directly to local communities with subcontracts to the laboratories or agencies to give the local groups some control over the research process. The most competitive proposals would have a strong educational component that would engage and train younger members of the community. One useful way of encouraging collaborations would be to use seed grants to allow groups to work together to develop more-detailed and long-term research proposals.

The advantages of this type of program are threefold:

  • It incorporates Native or local groups directly into the mainstream of scientific research and provides them with long-term contacts and relationships with the scientific community.

  • It ensures that LTK and Native community insights contribute to the formulation of research hypotheses and conceptual designs, and that research is conducted in local areas where the Native or local community lives. Researchers in scientific laboratories and agencies can learn a lot from this process.

  • It provides local and Native communities with additional influence because the funding runs through their institutions.

One of the challenges is to ensure that productive and friendly collaborations are formed. In some cases, researchers in scientific laboratories or agencies might already know Native and local groups with whom they would like to engage (and vice versa). The AYK SSI (STC and Steering Committee) might also be able to identify potential partners on both sides, and other scientists familiar with the region might be able to help get a few good collaborative partnerships formed. Finally, seed-grant funding might be provided to explore partnerships before full proposals are formed.

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