Decolonizing strategies for mentoring American Indians and Alaska Natives in HIV and mental health research.
American Indian and Alaska Native (AIAN) scholars in the fields of mental health and HIV face formidable barriers to scientific success. These include justifiable mistrust of historically oppressive educational systems, educational disparities, role burdens within academe, the devaluation and marginalization of their research interests, and outright discrimination. Research partners can work to dismantle these barriers by embracing indigenous worldviews, engaging in collaborative research partnerships, building research capacity within universities and tribal communities, changing reward systems, and developing mentoring programs. At the individual level, aspiring AIAN scholars must build coalitions, reject internalized colonial messages, and utilize indigenous ethical frames. The creation of a cadre of AIAN researchers is crucial to improving the health of AIAN peoples.