Decolonizing Methodology

Using sequential sharing circles as a trauma-informed method of data collection with Indigenous women living with HIV 


Background: For years, Indigenous women living with HIV have been voicing the need for separate safe spaces where they can be themselves together, free from stigma and violence. Where do the voices of Indigenous women go? Colonization and patriarchy has left a strong resistance of structures to change those aspects that create health inequities. However, Indigenous women are living with HIV 20-30 years longer than expected, they do not just want to live; they want to live well, supporting each other. 

Methodology: Using a Two-eyed Seeing approach, a small but proud group of Indigenous women all aging with HIV gathered for four days of sequential sharing circles over a two-week period. The women shared – without fear of judgment or consequence – both the challenges as well as the things that brought them joy and made them well. They explored the services, supports, health and wellness interventions that they know will assist them and other women aging and living with HIV. The implications if one listens are profound. 

Discussion: Using sequential sharing circles as a data collection method and by using it in such a way that it honours the lived experiences of Indigenous women living with HIV therefore, it is then both a-trauma and gendered informed practice for research. 


Most of our team lives and works on Treaty 6 territory and the Homeland of the Métis. The original peoples of these lands are the Cree, Saulteaux, Dene, Dakota, Lakota, Nakota, and Métis. Others are based in Vancouver, on the unceded lands of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish) and səlilwətaʔɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) peoples. We encourage everyone, wherever they are, to learn about the Indigenous people of the lands on which they live and work. We seek to become engaged allies together. In the spirit of truth and reconciliation, we respect the self-determination of First Nations, Métis and Inuit – in their cultures, languages and their pursuit of wellness.

© 2023 Pewaseskwan (the Indigenous Wellness Research Group) | Office of the Cameco Chair in Indigenous Health and Wellness, University of Saskatchewan.