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Ana María Peredo, Murdith McLean and Crystal Tremblay

The focus in this chapter is on the connection between the promise of social innovation and a particular population that is especially acquainted with the kinds of problems that social innovation is supposed to tackle: Indigenous peoples around the world. Rather than consider what forms of social innovation not yet identified or attempted might be employed to address the difficulties faced by Indigenous peoples, the authors raise the question of what specifically Indigenous social innovation might look like, and whether something like that is already taking place. They ask further what we can learn from distinctively Indigenous social innovation (ISI) that could inform our attack on social problems faced not only by the Indigenous but by other disadvantaged peoples and communities. The authors begin with a brief exploration of the concept of social innovation. They then proceed to look at two main literature streams to inform the search for what is distinctive about ISI. These streams suggest three aspects in which they might expect ISI to be grounded: (1) traditional knowledge and practices; (2) distinct cosmology and culture; and (3) struggles for decolonization and Indigenous resurgence. The authors consider a specific case of Indigenous innovation that illustrates how those distinctive aspects work in practice and the possibilities that opens for Indigenous communities. They conclude the chapter with a research agenda.