Salish Kootenai College encourages research by faculty, staff, students, and other affiliated investigators that is consistent with the mission of the College. All research involving human subjects, for whom SKC students, faculty, and staff are subjects or investigators, whether on campus or elsewhere, is subject to review by the SKC Institutional Review Board to assure that the research activities meet ethical and legal standards. No research activities that involve human subjects or cultural or other resources of the Tribes may begin prior to approval by the IRB. It is the responsibility of the researcher to submit proposed research for review and determination of the need for IRB approval. Researchers are required to complete training in protection of human subjects and cultural intellectual property and follow the policies and procedures of the SKC IRB.

SKC complies with the regulations of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services for the protection of human subjects involved in research (Code of Federal Regulations Title 45 Part 46 as revised June 23, 2005). The definition of research used in this policy follows 45 CFR 46.102(d). Research is defined by the regulations as “a systematic investigation, including research development, testing and evaluation, designed to develop or contribute to generalizable knowledge” [Federal Policy ยง .102(d)]. In addition the SKC IRB assures research conducted under the auspices of SKC does not individually or collectively harm members of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes through a misuse of cultural or other resources of the Tribes.

The SKC IRB considers the unique conditions pertinent to ethical research involving cultural intellectual property of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes including:

  • Protection of cultural, natural, and other tribal resources,
  • Protection of communities,
  • Respect for elders,
  • Respect for the strengths and resiliency of Native American communities, and
  • Respect for and promotion of tribal sovereignty.

The IRB shall have the sole authority to approve, require modifications in, or disapprove all research activities involving human subjects conducted under the auspices of SKC that are regulated by CFR Title 45 Part 46. A written letter of approval from research sites will be required prior to IRB approval. Permission to use Salish Kootenai College as a research site is a separate process from IRB review and written site approval by the President of SKC is required for research projects that will involve SKC students, faculty, staff, or facilities.

If the subject matter of the research may pertain to the cultural intellectual property rights of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes, the IRB will consult with the Salish and/or Kootenai Culture Committee(s) as appropriate. Researchers will be required to obtain written permission from the appropriate Culture Committee and/or tribal government authority and submit this document with the SKC IRB protocol. The President may overrule decisions of the IRB on research activities involving cultural or other resources of the Tribes.

The IRB shall consist of eight individuals. Members shall be appointed by the Salish Kootenai College President. The majority of members will be SKC faculty or staff from departments that have performed or could perform research involving human subjects or cultural or other resources of the Tribes. One to two members will be from the local community who are not employees of SKC or immediately related to employees of SKC. The President will appoint one of the SKC employees on the IRB to serve as the Chairman, and another SKC employee on the IRB to serve as the Secretary. At least one of the IRB members must work primarily in a scientific field, and at least one member must work primarily in a nonscientific area.

All IRB members have an equal vote in IRB deliberations. There is no limit to the length of the term for an IRB member or the length of the term of the Chairman. IRB members will complete Human Subjects and Cultural Subject Protections Training as required for all SKC researchers and file a member certification form with the IRB secretary within one month of appointment.

The IRB is governed by a set of written policies and procedures. The SKC IRB will meet monthly during the academic year and monthly as needed during the summer. The procedures governing the initial and continuing review of research involving human subjects shall meet the requirements of CFR Title 45 Part 46. The IRB has the authority to create or modify its procedures as long as the procedures meet these requirements. The procedures for IRB review and for application of investigators for IRB review of their proposed research will be freely available via links from the SKC website. Nothing in these procedures should be viewed as discouraging research or inappropriately limiting academic freedom.

Approved by the Salish Kootenai College Board of Directors, February 2007