I am pleased to introduce this special issue, guest edited by Robert Shepherd and Kathryn Graham. The guest editors have assembled a number of important contributions for this volume, which provide a legal and epistemological framing for evaluating in Indigenous contexts as well as examples of how this translates into practice. There is still much to learn and to construct in this domain of evaluation, and Shepherd and Graham articulate quite clearly what actions are needed to advance our collective knowledge and practice. I extend my heartfelt thanks to the guest editors, authors, and reviewers who made this special issue possible, and I hope that our readers take away its important messages.
Isabelle Bourgeois Editor-in-Chief
© 2020 Canadian Journal of Program Evaluation / La Revue canadienne d’évaluation de programme
34.3 (Special Issue / Numéro spécial), v doi: 10.3138/cjpe.34.3.v
EvalIndigenous Origin Story: Effective Practices within Local Contexts to Inform the Field and Practice of Evaluation
Proactive Information Services Inc.
University of Wisconsin
Abstract: EvalIndigenous began in November 2015 as a global network of Eval-Partners. This origin story of EvalIndigenous is shared to describe some of the work being carried out today by Indigenous evaluators in the Global North and South. EvalIndigenous is rooted in tribal critical and Indigenous theories and methods, as well as the legal and political distinctions of Indigenous peoples and Tribal/First Nations. EvalIndigenous shares how evaluation is done “by us and for us.” Th e article concludes by highlighting key strategies that the fi eld of evaluation can consider in the future when working with Indigenous populations and sovereign Tribal/First Nations governments and communities.
Indigenous Evaluation in the Northwest Territories: Opportunities and Challenges
Hotıì ts’eeda: NWT SPOR SUPPORT Unit
Abstract: There is increasing interest by governments and other service providers in the potential for Indigenous evaluation methods and approaches to support the evaluation of programs and services in a way that is culturally appropriate and responsive. Indigenous governments and organizations are using Indigenous evaluation methods and approaches to inform their own program and service delivery. This article explores the current status of Indigenous evaluation in the Northwest Territories, the opportunities for expanding the use of Indigenous evaluation, and some of the challenges that must be addressed.
Indigenous Health Service Evaluation: Principles and Guidelines from a Provincial “Three Ribbon” Expert Panel
Michelle Firestone , Raglan Maddox , Patricia O’Campo , and Janet Smylie
St. Michael’s Hospital
Cheryllee Bourgeois and Sara Wolfe
Seventh Generation Midwives Toronto
Susan Snelling and Heather Manson
Public Health Ontario
Constance McKnight and Jeanne Hebert
De dwa da dehs ney>s Aboriginal Health Access Centre
Roger Boyer II
Maamwesying North Shore Community Health Services
University of Minnesota
Vicki van Wagner
Abstract: A group of Indigenous health and social service evaluators called the “Three Ribbon” panel came together in Toronto in 2015/16 with the goal of informing a set of evidence-based guidelines for urban Indigenous health and social service and program evaluation. The collective knowledge and experiences of the Th ree Ribbon panel was gathered through discussion circles and synthesized around the following areas: barriers to conducting Indigenous health and social service evaluation; decolonizing principles and protocols that support community self-determination and centralize Indigenous culture and worldviews; and guidelines to inform health and social service evaluation moving forward. The wisdom and contributions of the Three Ribbon Panel creates space for Indigenous worldviews, values, and beliefs within program evaluation practice and has important implications for evaluation research and application.
Section 35 Legal Framework: Implications for Evaluation
Abstract: Developments in Canada’s constitutional and legal framework since 1982 set the stage for the current Liberal government’s nation-to-nation policy, which recognizes Indigenous rights and seeks to build a relationship of respect and partnership through reconciliation with Indigenous peoples. These developments have important implications for those engaged in policy and program evaluations who are now called upon—not only by their own professional ethics but by the legal principles fl owing from Section 35—to reimagine their approach and work as partners with Indigenous nations based on the recognition of Indigenous rights, reconciliation, and the Crown’s duty to act honourably in all of its dealings with Indigenous peoples. There are no off-the-shelf answers for how this can be done. Evaluation professionals will need to be guided by these key legal principles and the progressive view set out in the Liberal government’s Principles respecting the Government of Canada’s Relationship with Indigenous Peoples .
Reflections on Being a Learner: The Value of Relationship-based Community Evaluations in Indigenous Communities
Abstract: Drawing on Donna M. Mertens and Amy T. Willson’s work on trans-formative paradigms in program evaluations, together with the author’s experience working in partnership with First Nations communities in Ontario, this paper explores the lessons learned from the process of moving between assumptions and application using the transformative paradigm in First Nations evaluations; explores the relationships between power, discourse, and paradigms in the relationship between Western and Indigenous ways of knowing and being; and asks what steps an can evaluator take to ensure that local epistemological and ontological perspectives are respected and captured.
Reconciliation and Energy Democracy
Kishk Anaquot Health Research
Abstract: Indigenous clean-energy leaders are moving Canada’s sustainable development agenda along at an impressive rate and are setting the stage for the localization of goods and services. Indigenous communities that do not yet have enough energy security should be the first recipients of green infrastructure investments in order to bolster equity as a tenet of Canadian nationalism. A series of key policy drivers to amplify Indigenous inclusion in the energy transition are offered as well as a number of performance indicators that can determine the extent to which Canada is advancing on reconciliation and energy democracy.
Reflections on Evaluating in Indigenous Contexts: Looking to the Future
INTRODUCTION: RECALLING OUR PURPOSE
This special edition on evaluation in Indigenous contexts had two purposes: to understand the differences between Indigenous and Western ontologies and epistemologies as these relate to research and evaluation; and to highlight the experiences and insights of researchers and evaluators who work routinely in or with Indigenous communities on research initiatives that incorporate evaluation. Creating a volume of this nature builds on the ideas of several in the fi eld who propose that context matters where effective and relevant Indigenous research and evaluation are concerned (Cram, Chilisa, & Mertens, 2016; Cram & Mertens, 2015). Equally important, however, is our view that there is a dearth of research and reflection on the actual practice of evaluation in these contexts. Although there is an acknowledgment that attitudes, behaviours, and methods must be different, there is little writing on the substance and implications of these diff erences on evaluation practices. In this regard, explorations about how evaluators, both Indigenous and non-Indigenous, are working in and with Indigenous communities was the main insight we were looking for from the papers.
The special edition was divided into two main parts: the first part, including the introduction, contains papers that explore the legal and aspirational obligations for evaluating in Indigenous contexts; the second part relates evaluator and researcher experiences working in Indigenous contexts on actual projects. The latter set of papers provides some initial reflections on experiences with an emphasis on the challenges encountered when attempting to bridge Indigenous and Western ways of knowing. They highlight methodological challenges and the practical realities of designing and implementing projects that are meaningful to Indigenous communities.
Evaluation in Indigenous Contexts: An Introduction to Practice
SETTING A BETTER DIRECTION FOR EVALUATION IN INDIGENOUS CONTEXTS
Indigenous evaluation as a field of inquiry and finding culturally appropriate and responsive ways to evaluate Indigenous programs and services are receiving increased attention (Cram, Tibbetts, & LaFrance, 2018). One important catalyst has been the Truth & Reconciliation Commission of Canada’s admonitions regarding the cultural damage caused by residential schools, where recommendations focus on the need for governments to pay greater attention to culturally relevant approaches to research, including program evaluations (TRC, 2015). More generally, Western governments are struggling to evaluate programs in Indigenous communities in ways that serve both governmental interests in accountability and quality assurance, while at the same time serving Indigenous needs and interests for program effectiveness and respecting local autonomy (Shepherd, 2018).
Identifying Key Epistemological Challenges Evaluating in Indigenous Contexts: Achieving Bimaadiziwin through Youth Futures
Abstract: The evaluation field’s understanding of Indigenous ontologies and epistemologies must improve in ways that do not serve to privilege Western ways of knowing or governmental priorities for accountability. The literature has not identifi ed ways to bridge these in practical ways, or to move the field to balance community and government needs. This article describes some prevailing epistemological and methodological issues related to evaluation and then identifies practical challenges bridging Western and Indigenous approaches, using the example of the Indigenous Youth Futures Partnership project (IYFP), a seven-year SSHRC-sponsored grant. It is suggested that there are approaches that work well in these contexts but that agency is vitally important to establish reciprocity.
Peer Reviewers for Volume 34
Peer Reviewers for Volume 34
A. Sidiq Ali, Research & Evaluation Consulting, Inc.
Thomas Archibald, Virginia Tech
Tim Aubry, University of Ottawa
Andrealisa Damacia Belzer, Indigenous and Northern Aff airs Canada
Naïma Bentayeb, École nationale d’administration publique
Ayesha Boyce, University of North Carolina at Greensboro
Anthony Buckley, Technological University Dublin
Monique Campbell,Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency
Rhonda Cockerill, University of Toronto
Evangeline Danseco, Ontario Centre of Excellence for Child and Youth Mental Health
Christian de Visscher, UC Louvain
Rod Dobell, University of Victoria
Rob Downie, Fanshawe College
François Dumaine, Prairie Research Associates
Marie-Josée Fleury, Douglas Institute, McGill University
Michela Freddano, INVALSI, University of Genova
Lisa Garnham, Glasgow Centre for Population Health
Jean-Louis Genard, Université libre de Bruxelles
Harold Henson, Hensky Consulting
Irene Huse, University of Victoria
Yves Jalbert, Association pour la Santé Publique du Québec
Andrea L.K. Johnston, Johnston Research Inc
Hamid Jorjani, International Research, Innovation, and Development Inc.
Joanna Kocsis, University of Toronto
Keiko Kuji-Shikatani, Ontario Ministry of Education
Marlène M. Laeubli Loud, LAUCO Evaluation & Training
Sebastian Lemire, Abt Associates
Chris Lovato, University of British Columbia
Céline Mercier, McGill University
Lisa O'Reilly, Consultant Michael Q. Patton, Utilization-Focused Evaluation Saint Paul, MN
Lynda Olivia Rey, École nationale d’administration publique
Rodriguo Quiroz Saavedra, University of Desarrollo
Michelle Searle, Queen's University
Mark Seasons, University of Waterloo
© 2020 Canadian Journal of Program Evaluation / La Revue canadienne d’évaluation de programme
34.3 (Special Issue / Numéro spécial), 521–522 doi: 10.3138/cjpe.34.3.521