[APG Public List] Native American Research

Ray Beere Johnson II raybeere at yahoo.com
Thu Feb 18 21:35:22 MST 2010

--- On Thu, 2/18/10, L. Boswell <laboswell at rogers.com> wrote:

> doesn't it depend on the purpose of the research? As far as ethical 
> considerations go? I see no reason why paid research requested by
> a client with an ancestral link of that background would be any 
> different because it involved a particular first nation and not some 
> other ancestral background.

     _So many_ of those who seek to establish tribal ancestry do so for ulterior motives, _and_ the research is so much more difficult to complete successfully than many other specialties (since those of tribal descent were less likely to leave behind many records) that I really believe - as a specialty - it should be left to someone with a particular interest in that area. That is not to say there's anything wrong with doing the basic research you'd do for any other family, up to the point where it becomes necessary to refer the client to a specialist.
     For that matter, although I do believe that the particular circumstances emphasise this point in the case of First Nations research, I am also convinced that _anyone_ who does _anything_ because they think there is a demand for it rather than out of love for or interest in the thing itself will not do as good a job. When your _heart_ is not in it, you just can't give it all you have. So, personally, I'd be unhappy if I hired a researcher to trace my Irish roots and then discovered they chose Irish research because there are a lot of us, rather than because they were fascinated by Irish ancestry for its own sake. If you don't have a passion for that type of research, you just won't throw yourself into it with the same dedication. The same principle is really true of just about anything - the only difference may lie in two areas: how difficult the pursuit is, and thus how much real difference a lack of passion may make to the final result; and how
 much pressure there may be to cut corners or act unethically in any other way.
     My remarks were prompted by the degree to which these factors apply here, not because I think there is any essential difference.
                             Ray Beere Johnson II


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