Carrying out informed consent is considered an essential aspect of ethical research practice. However, carrying out consent raises complex issues in Aboriginal communities where involvement in research has involved risk and where protocol for consent starts with the community. Based on our experience as explored in a focus group, we discuss challenges faced and lessons learned while obtaining informed consent from parents/guardians of community children for a school based, health intervention research project which took place at the request of the Alexis Nakota Sioux Nation located in western Canada. Ongoing ethical dilemmas and issues of consent as perceived by both the community and by the university ethics board were discussed along with possible solutions. Recommendations for managing ethical consent in research with Aboriginal communities are presented along with the need to find an “ethical space” (Ermine, 2007) where solutions can be developed.
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