Doing participatory evaluation in Indigenous contexts


  • Steve Jordan
  • Christine Stocek
  • Rodney Mark


In countering the legacies of colonisation, aboriginal communities across Canada are beginning to mount their own locally inspired and developed initiatives in business, health, welfare and education to address needs that they have identified. This paper reports on one such initiative created and launched by the Cree Nation of Wemindji (in Quebec, Canada), called COOL (Challenging Our Own Limits) or Nigawchiisuun.2 The paper briefly outlines the creation, development and implementation of COOL and the theoretical and methodological framework that supports the project. The paper is organized into three sections. First, a brief background and discussion of the origins, impetus and eventual launch of COOL; second, a general theoretical framework situating participatory evaluation (PE) in relation to the broader field of participatory action research (PAR); and third, the implications and potential of this methodology for indigenous research. The paper concludes with remarks on participatory evaluation as an indigenous alternative to mainstream program evaluation and related managerial technologies.