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Authentic relationships, crafted through an ongoing process of engagement that results in shared priorities, are essential to working with, versus for, in or on community. Using a comparative analysis of a CBPR case study with two rural Métis communities, authors present shifts in individual attitudes and behaviors that represent principles for authentic relationship development. Reciprocal capacity building, relational accountability, and honoring cultural and personal boundaries are principles for authentic relationships that may be generalized across contexts to inform CBPR. Based on a process of collaborative inquiry, the authors propose two indicators of authentic relationships, including adaptability, as shown in decision-making, and shared values, reflected and achieved through inclusive reflexive practices. Using quantitative and qualitative methods to explore authentic relationship development made apparent the absence of authentic relationships in one case study. In conclusion, authors present the discussion and ultimate decision to step back from program delivery when authentic relationships are lacking.