David Newhouse: Our partners in Urban Aboriginal Knowledge Network are the National Association of Friendship Centres, Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada, and 57 other partners right across the country.
Our focus is on trying to understand how people build good communities. We’re trying to focus on success and focus on what people are doing. And that is a very different view of aboriginal communities than has usually been part of research literature.
Our research benefits from the experience of the National Association of Friendship Centres and their 120 centres across the country. They have an incredible range of experience and incredible knowledge that they bring to the table. [This research] reflects their experience for public policy makers.
Tricia McGuire‑Adams: It’s a community‑driven process. They’re going to let us know what their issues may be and the benefits involved in that. So, it’s certainly going to be focused on community‑centered research and the benefits to [the community members].
David Newhouse: They get the benefits of academic research. They get benefits of other experiences. It was a natural fit.
Tricia McGuire‑Adams: Moving away from the deficit based approach to the community, [with the] regeneration approach, there’s not enough research out there determining what the successes are. It is a mutual‑benefit approach to this research project.
David Newhouse: We brought in the government structure and clearly defined a bit more what we were going to do. What we try to do is bring a whole variety of different perspectives—different knowledge—to a particular phenomenon in hopes that we try to understand it better and in more complex ways. That results in their better ability to support social innovation and social policy, and that results in better communities and better lives for urban aboriginal people.