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Indigenous Evaluations: Fostering a Healing Community.

DeMuth, Scott.

The Ain Dah Yung Center (ADYC) is one of the first culturally-relevant emergency shelters for American Indian youth in Minnesota. In 2009, ADYC began to redesign and implement a culturally-relevant evaluation model. The research project funded by the CURA-Kris Nelson Community-Based Research Program had the goal of developing evaluation mechanisms and tools that are consistent with ADYC’s evaluation matrix, that are done in a culturally-appropriate way, and that measure the impact ADYC programs have on the holistic success of American Indian youth and families. This includes the following objectives:

  • Conduct a literature review of Indigenous evaluation and measures
  • Develop evaluation tools
  • Implement a sample study that will exhibit initial outcomes

This report is the work produced by the graduate researcher Scott DeMuth during Summer 2014. This accomplishes the first objective of conducting a literature review of Indigenous research and evaluations. In looking at the literature on Indigenous and decolonizing methodologies, research, and evaluations, important concepts are highlighted that should assist in the evaluation’s development and implementation. This includes a discussion and deconstruction of the “Indian problem,” which is a discourse that situates problems within the Indigenous individual and/or community. Research and evaluations should be conscious of this tendency, and they should actively work to situate social problems within broader social and systemic issues, most important of which is the historical and continuing legacy of colonialism.

Additionally, this report sets the ground for the second two objectives. It begins the development of evaluation tools that are culturally-relevant and decolonizing. This discussion is carried out in the last two sections where the Medicine Wheel is discussed as a multi-level framework for logic models, program evaluations, and personal assessment. Ultimately, it is a tool that should assist in ADYC’s goal of fostering a healing community. In this regard, this paper should be viewed more as an interim report more than as a final report. It is only a benchmark in an on-going process, a process which will include the final development and implementation of evaluation tools during Fall 2014.

The work in the Fall semester will include:

  • Continued development of evaluation tools, specifically based around the holistic model of the Medicine Wheel
  • Implementation of a sample study of the Medicine Wheel Evaluation at the Emergency Shelter.
Publication date: 
Conducted on behalf of The Ain Dah Yung Center (ADYC). Supported by the Kris Nelson Community-Based Research Program, a program of the Center for Urban and Regional Affairs (CURA) at the University of Minnesota.
37 pp.
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