Principles focused evaluation and racial equity
I was happy to be able to spend a short time this week at a gathering of Art of Hosting practitioners in Columbus, Ohio. People had gathered from across North America and further afield to discuss issues of racial equity in hosting and harvesting practices. I’ve been called back home early to deal with a broken pipe and a small flood in my house, but before I left I was beginning to think about how to apply what I was learning with respect to strategy and evaluation practices. I was going to host a conversation about this, but instead, I have a 12 hour journey to think with my fingers.
My own thinking on this topic has largely been informed by the work I’ve done over thirty years at the intersection between indigenous and non-indigenous communities and people in Canada. Recently this work has been influenced by the national conversation on reconciliation. That conversation, which started promisingly, has been treated with more and more cynicism by indigenous people, who are watching non-indigenous Canadians pat themselves on the back for small efforts while large issues of social, economic and political justice have gone begging for attention. Reconciliation is gradually losing its ability to inspire transformative action. And people are forgetting the very important work of truth coming before reconciliation. Truth is hard to hear. Reconciliation is easy to intend.
As a result, I’m beginning to suggest to some non-indigenous groups that they should not think of their work as attempting to get to reconciliation, but instead to focus on work with indigenous communities that has a real and tangible and material impact on indigenous people. Reconciliation can then a by-product and a way of evaluating the work while we work together to achieve positive effects.
So my question now is, what if reconciliation was one of the ways we evaluated work done with indigenous communities, and not as an end in itself?
Read the rest of the post here.