A primary principle of Maamawi-abiit-Bawajigaywin: Visioning our future dwelling together is increased visibility and awareness of the circumstances, conditions and life experiences of First Nations peoples in Northern Ontario. Public awareness will promote accountability and change, and positive developments in the area of public policy.
For the academic community, the research will provide opportunities to develop culturally appropriate methods that fit the northern Ontario First Nations context and may be useful in other First Nations contexts across Canada. The process will teach researchers about local realities and ways to understand and represent them fairly, accurately and respectfully. Students will implement high-level research into design studios examining the role of urban planning and architecture in Indigenous northern development. The students will also learn from project partners about relationship-building, participatory community-development methods, mapping methods, data analysis and reporting. Not only are these important skills for urban planners, but likely this is the growing context of their future employment as Canada continues to define itself as a resource rich country.
Evaluations of initiatives taken on the basis of community priorities will provide valuable information about the characteristics of effective program development and service delivery in northern communities.
The report uses the following questions to deconstruct housing evaluations and reveal decision making processes:
+ What is housing?
+ Why evaluate housing?
+ Who evaluates housing?
+ How is housing evaluated?
+ Which scale is housing evaluated at?
+ Which unit of analysis is used?
The creation of a unique housing evaluation framework for mid-Canada corridor First Nations must:
Recognize the implications of colonialism in the existing housing system and housing evaluation;
Shift control in the methodological process towards community self-determination;
Allow communities to answer the six primary methodological questions;
Centre community goals, values and aspirations in the evaluation process;
Situate evaluation within a broader well-being conversation, recognizing the complex interactions between home, occupant and environment;
Develop local capacity in methodological development, data collection and analysis to reduce evaluator bias and reliance on translation; and
Support evaluation with sufficient resources to apply results in creating community-generated housing solutions.
This research was supported by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada.