May 26-May 29 The Canadian Evaluation Society’s 2018 Conference was hosted in Calgary where the theme was “Co-creation” and the focus was to explore new and not-so-new approaches to evaluation in the context of Indigenous knowledge and methods. An impassioned keynote of Indigenous evaluators reminded the packed room that there has been countless studies, reports and research published backing the need to indigenize evaluation practices. What then, they asked, is the hold-up in implementation?
Over the three days, there was lots of interesting conversations around when and how the sector can begin looking to Indigenous ways of measuring and evaluating as valid practices and not simply, work-arounds or “exceptions” to rule; Indigenizing evaluation is not just a way of being more “inclusive” but, a must in the field’s path towards reconciliation.
Big questions around what constitutes evidence and what role, if any, non-Indigenous evaluators play in measuring towards an Indigenous communities’ goals and needs, all contributed to an amazing learning experience. Dr. Nicole Bowman, one of the keynotes and a leading voice in the global initiative to connect evaluation efforts around the world with her “EvalIndigenous” work group, finished off her powerful speech by suggesting all read “Pagans in the Promised Land: Decoding the Doctrine of Christian Discovery” by Steven T. Newcomb.