Evaluation methodologies in multisector community change initiatives: The missing role of indigenous knowledge systems

  • Jason Albert First Nation University of Canada
  • Judy Gillespie University of British Columbia
  • Charlene Bruce First Nation University of Canada


Comprehensive or multisector community change initiatives (CCIs) represent a promising approach to address the overrepresentation of Indigenous children and families in Canada’s child welfare systems. However, such initiatives are difficult to establish and sustain – in part due to the difficulty of evaluating their impacts and outcomes using standardized Western evaluation methodologies. Consequently, over the past 20 years there have been extensive efforts to develop evaluation principles, methodologies, methods, and tools that are more able to illustrate the benefits of these kinds of initiatives. A systematic review of the CCI evaluation literature found that while many of these principles, methodologies, methods and tools show considerable promise, there has been limited attention to or incorporation of Indigenous ways of knowing or approaches to research with Indigenous peoples. This paper presents two examples of Indigenous led multisector community change initiatives to enhance Indigenous well-being and notes the importance of evaluating their impacts. It argues that collaborative research is needed with participants in Indigenous led multisector collaborations to advance knowledge of culturally relevant approaches to their evaluation.