Throughout the twentieth century American Indians have been dealt with as though still living in the nineteenth century, as if American Indian societies are resistant to the change and evolution within communities all over the world. Now as we near the twenty-first century there is a growing awareness that almost an entire century of knowledge about American Indian people has been ignored and/or wrongly fabricated. This country can no longer tolerate such ignorance about its aboriginal people. Many of the current US leadership is based on narcissistic sociopathic types that have no empathy (definition: sociopath) or understanding for the people who are being governed while it’s being framed in a nice smile & pat on the back. The system supposedly works through a voting process, the government has authority over people through enforcement of laws/regulation. Voting allows a voter to choose appropriate leadership. Unfortunately, voters have little to no control over leader’s decisions or actions once they are elected & generally the best liars & manipulative people have what it takes to do the appropriate fundraising & get elected. American Indian leadership vastly differs in its structure, unfortunately the truth is not being told about it.
Reality-Based Research reflects the reality of American Indians and tells their stories, from an Indian point of view and from an Indian oral history standpoint. This reverence for oral history is particularly important because American Indian societies are based on oral tradition. Oral tradition preserves history, language and culture for American Indian communities. Using a method of research which respects and incorporates such basic tenets of a people’s culture makes our research more meaningful to Indian communities. In the past, Indians had a high distrust for researchers.
A research institute for Indian people must address the true needs and concerns of American Indians. While utilizing methods which are deemed trustworthy by Indian people, the research institute must also have sufficient academic credibility so that its work will be understood by the mainstream community as well. Thus, the American Indian Research and Policy Institute devotes its research program to encouraging grassroots involvement of Indian people and organizations in research by and for themselves, while abiding by the notions of legitimate research as defined by the academy.
Previous research approaches are not culturally sensitive and make certain assumptions which are largely irrelevant and inappropriate for most American Indians today.