Aboriginal Inquiry: Lifting All Learners

An Impact Assessment of the Aboriginal Enhancement Schools Network (AESN)

1.2 Telling/sharing stories: Assessing impact in culturally inclusive ways

Given the above, our project design endeavoured to create what we are tentatively describing as a culturally inclusive impact assessment. To paraphrase from Halbert and Kaser’s (2013) work, we want to incorporate “wise ways” in our research work and represent these in our final study document. This has been accomplished in a number of ways including: creating a research advisory group that included Aboriginal peoples that assisted in the impact assessment design and analysis; by following Aboriginal protocols in terms of respecting and honouring the knowledge of local communities and ensuring resources were attributed to their authors; and thirdly, by incorporating a narrative approach that honoured the tradition of story telling evident in many First Peoples cultures. More will be said about the specific processes of the analysis and methods used in the methodology section. However, acknowledging the centrality of story as a culturally inclusive means of describing impact seemed a powerful and compelling way to meet our goals of reporting on the impacts of the AES Network , and was very much in keeping with the AESN purposes of broadening the knowledge of non-Aboriginal peoples about First Nations histories, cultures and contribution to Canadian society. As a result, the design of our study sought to gather impact stories and this report will weave these stories among other data collected for assessing impact. We have also incorporated a number of visuals including photographs, charts and sample resources to help provide richer detail to support our analyses.