Aboriginal populations in Northern Canada have, for many years, been confronted with socio-economic problems affecting their development. In the early 1990s, the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples (1996) report concluded that it was important to integrate Aboriginal people into the management of public policies that concern them and to encourage their autonomy. In order to produce a quality evaluation that is useful in particular cultural contexts, measures have been developed to assure that the evaluation highly regards cultural sensitivity while integrating local participants in the evaluation process. This study, based on the systematic analysis of a non-probability sample of 27 program evaluation reports, presents an inventory of evaluation practice in Aboriginal contexts and estimates in what measure a culturally sensitive and participatory approach was applied. It was apparent that cultural sensitivity is gradually being integrated into Aboriginal program evaluation and that certain indicators show that there has been a positive evolution in this direction. Finally, the study shows an occasional recourse to participatory approaches, but this is not a strong tendency as systematically technocratic approaches are more broadly employed.


The authors would like to thank the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC), which sponsored our research.

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