In May 2012, the Canadian Career Development Foundation (CCDF) began a project, The State of Practice: Essential Skills Applications with First Nations, Inuit and Métis in Canada (FIMESA), that’s aim, is to: • Increase the understanding of Essential Skills Applications for First Nations, Inuit and Métis by developing a comprehensive inventory of current Essential Skills practices aimed at increasing employability and employment for First Nations, Inuit and Métis youth and adults living in diverse environments and; • Increase capacity in the field by developing an Essential Skills (ES) community of practice engaged in the development and assessment of the inventory, the widespread dissemination of results and promotion of ongoing innovation through the sharing of best practices in Essential Skills application and evaluation. This project is meant to solidify the field’s understanding of the state of practice with respect to ES applications tailored to First Nations, Inuit and Métis populations, help “uncover” factors which contribute to strong employability and employment outcomes and, through the establishment of an ES community of practice, identify, share and promote innovation and excellence in service delivery and evaluation. The purpose of this literature review is to describe the current level of need for Essential Skill development among First Nations, Inuit and Métis, to explore the state of practice of Essential Skills initiatives with these populations in Canada and to examine innovative practices in an effort to determine potential “markers of excellence” in ES programming.
With a focus on the use of technology when evaluating programs for Aboriginal people, this article explores the possibility of using visual and oral computer technology to enhance the incorporation of Aboriginal worldviews in program evaluation. The author situates Aboriginal worldviews, including methods of communication and transmission of knowledge, within a unique evaluation framework that also considers Western methods of data collection. Examples of the author’s framework are offered in the context of evaluations of Aboriginal programs. Based on her experiences, the author concludes that it is possible to join the traditional knowledge of Aboriginal people with digital technology in program evaluation.
Canadian policy decision-making has utilized case studies extensively in recent years. Johnston Research Inc. (JRI) has completed more evaluation-related case studies over the past 4 years than in the previous 15 years of our evaluation work. To understand the growing application of case studies, we interviewed clients and contacts from First Nations that had been case study sites for our government clients, to understand what aspects of case study evaluation research had helped them share their opinions and improve their programs, and what aspects had not. We then interviewed our government clients, asking how well case studies served their evaluation purposes and their programs or policy development efforts. JRI conducted and financed this study to help us improve our own approaches for conducting case studies in Aboriginal populations and to share these findings with others. This article presents our interview findings on the value of case studies for Aboriginal evaluation projects and shares some best practices for conducting case studies within, and with, First Nations. Finally, we explore the impact case studies have had on Canadian policy.
In reviewing the historical pattern of education for the Aboriginal people it is noted that the education system was built on the goal of assimilation and was designed for individual economic improvement. According to Imel (2001), Aboriginal adult education programs in the 1950s were designed to improve adult English proficiency and provide adult vocational training. In more recent years, Aboriginal literacy programs have built in broader goals that are concerned with safeguarding Aboriginal language and culture rather than with promoting assimilation. The Aboriginal people have experienced great trauma in their educational journey, especially from the residential school approach where the children were removed from the home, community and nation and placed in a foreign environment governed by Eurocentric rules and expectations. The situation was not much better for the children who attended schools in their home community. They were also exposed to the Eurocentric values of corporal punishment in the learning situation and many were strapped for speaking their own language. Therefore, factors such as healing, reclamation of identity, language, cultures and self-determination, play a major role in the complex issue of Aboriginal literacy and learning. The Ontario Native Literacy Coalition states, “Native literacy is a tool which empowers the spirit of Native people. Native literacy services recognize and affirm the unique cultures of Native Peoples and the interconnectedness of all aspects of creation. As part of a life-long path of learning, Native literacy contributes to the development of self-knowledge and critical thinking. It is a continuum of skills that encompasses reading, writing, numeracy, speaking, good study habits and communication in other forms of language as needed. Based on the experience, abilities and goals of learners, Native literacy fosters and promotes achievement and a sense of purpose, which are both central to self-determination (George, ND:6).”
How can indigenous evaluators implement culturally competent models in First Nations communities while ensuring that government grant evaluation requirements are met? Through describing the challenges in one tribal community in the United States, this article will discuss how American Indian/Alaska Native substance abuse prevention programs are evaluating the implementation and outcomes of Strategic Prevention Framework grants from the federal government’s Center for Substance Abuse Prevention. Requirements for implementing evidence-based programs normed on other populations and for evaluating data based on quantitative methods add to the challenge. Throughout the process, much is being learned that it is hoped will strengthen indigenous grantees and increase the cultural competence of government evaluation requirements. (Contains 2 figures.)
Understanding the Value, Challenges, and Opportunities of Engaging Métis, Inuit, and First Nations workers analyses the challenges and opportunities employers encounter when engaging Aboriginal workers in Canada. An online survey and interviews with Canadian businesses industry associations, and Aboriginal employment organizations examined their engagement and experiences with Aboriginal workers. The report acts as a starting point for creating a greater understanding of how to overcome the labour market integration challenges facing Aboriginal workers in Canada. In addition, it provides recommendations on the steps that employers, Aboriginal organizations, and policy-makers can take to help improve the labour market participation of Aboriginal workers
The American Indian Higher Education Consortium (AIHEC), comprising 34 American Indian tribally controlled colleges and universities, has undertaken a comprehensive effort to develop an “Indigenous Framework for Evaluation” that synthesizes Indigenous ways of knowing and Western evaluation practice. To ground the framework, AIHEC engaged in an extensive consultation process including conducting a number of focus groups in major regions of the United States. Cultural experts, Indian educators, and evaluators shared their concerns regarding evaluation and described how evaluation fits within a cultural framework. This article summarizes the focus group discussions and describes how the framework developed using the key principles of Indigenous ways of knowing and four core values common to tribal communities
The Qalipu Linkages Program is a youth employment program funded by the Department of Advanced Education and Skills. The program provides participating youth with a 26-week career-related local job placement combined with regular workshops on employment skill-building topics. After a week of orientation, participants will conduct their own job search to find a placement that suits their skills and interests. Upon completion of the program, participants will earn a “completion bonus” to support their future career and education goals.
Over the past 15 years, a common theme to the various studies commissioned by the Department of Indian Affairs and Northem Development (DIAND) has been the differences in the labour force and employment conditions of Native Peoples compared to other Canadians. 1 In Indian Conditions: A Survey (Canada 1980: 58-59), participation in the wage economy in 1976 was 40 percent for Indians compared to the national level of 60 per cent and Indian unemployment was estimated to be 18 per cent compared to 8 percent for the national labour force. Using the 1981 Census, Nicholson and MacMillan (1986: 52) found only 38 percent of the Indian population employed compared to 60 per cent of the Canadian population. Nicholson and MacMillan (1986:52-53) also found the off-reserve Indians had a substantially higher employment rate (47 per cent) compared to on-reserve Indians (32 per cent) and that for on-reserve Indians, 29 per cent had never worked compared to 16 per cent of Indians off-reserve and only 10 per cent of other Canadians. Census data for 1986 show that employment rates for Indians remain low (31.4 percent) compared to those for all Canadians (50.6 percent). Twenty-eight percent of Indians on reserves were employed compared to 36.8 percent of Indians livingoff reserves, and 23.6 percent of Indians on reserves had never worked compared to 17.0 percent of Indians living off reserves (Canada 1989). The above statistics provide a rationale for examining the theoretical and methodological issues surrounding Native Peoples’ attachment to the labour force and the implications for regional development. Beyond this, however, is also the recognition that self-government for Native Peoples is a fast-approaching reality. With self-government will also come the realization that it will be a hollow enterprise if it does not lead to the improved economic well-being of Native Peoples. Therefore, it is a useful first step to examine what is known about Native Peoples’ attachment to the labour force.