White Privilege and the Decolonization Work Needed in Evaluation to Support Indigenous Sovereignty and Self-Determination


  • Kate McKegg The Knowledge Institute




This paper builds on a keynote paper presented at the 2018 Canadian Evaluation Society annual conference by Kate McKegg, a Pākehā, non-Indigenous evaluator from Aotearoa, New Zealand. Kate reflects on the concept and implications for Indigenous people of white privilege in colonized Western nations. She discusses some of the ways in which white privilege and its consequences play out in the field of evaluation, perpetuating colonial sentiments and practices that maintain and reinforce inequities and injustice and potentially threaten the social justice aspirations of the field. Kate argues that those with white privilege have much work to do, unpacking and understanding their privilege if they are to have any chance of playing a role in deconstructing and dismantling the power structures that hold colonizing systems in place. She suggests that for evaluators to be effective allies for Indigenous sovereignty and self-determination, they must undertake ideological, cultural, emotional, and constitutional work. This work will be tough and scary and is not for the faint hearted. But it is vital to unlocking the potential transformation that can come from just and peaceful relationships that affirm and validate Indigenous peoples’ ways of knowing and being.

Author Biography

Kate McKegg, The Knowledge Institute

Kate McKegg is Director of The Knowledge Institute Ltd; a New Zealand based Evaluation Consultancy.  The Knowledge Institute specializes in evaluation, evaluative thinking and practice, evaluation capacity building, research, policy and public sector management. Kate is a founding member and current Convenor of the Aotearoa New Zealand Evaluation Association (ANZEA).