Abstract: The picture of researchers arriving in ‘remote’ communities to conduct research on a topic of interest to them (complete with consent forms and ethical clearance), is conjured up frequently by First Nations people, as a sign of White power and colonial control. ‘Research’ for many, has become a dirty word. But when First Nations researchers who live in those communities, take responsibility for research, a different dynamic comes into play. Research then becomes a legitimate way for community members to tell their stories, and for the voices of community members to be heard and relayed with integrity. This Rural Connections article tells two interwoven stories of Catherine Ridley, in her own words. The first story is about her experiences growing up and learning at school in the Kimberley region of Western Australia. The second story is about her experiences as a researcher, investigating issues of school engagement, attendance, and retention.