Money and Methodology
The Environics Institute hired Ginger Gosnell-Myers, a Vancouver-based researcher and member of the Nisga’a First Nation, as the UAPS project manager. Gosnell-Myers worked with a small team including Dr. Keith Neuman (Group Vice President, Public Affairs at Environics Research) and Dr. Doug Norris (Chief Demographer at Environics Analytics and the former Director General of Social and Demographic Statistics at Statistics Canada) to design a research proposal that would be presented at the Advisory Circle’s first full meeting at the Forks in Winnipeg in September, 2007. The proposal was to address three groups: (1) First Nations, Métis, and Inuit people living in ten Canadian cities; (2) National Aboriginal Achievement Foundation (NAAF) Scholarship recipients; and (3) the Canadian public.
The Institute was also busy seeking funding from government, foundations, and corporations. All funders contributed with the understanding that supporting the UAPS financially did not entitle them to influence the research. The Environics Institute was accountable first and foremost to the Advisory Circle and to the individuals who participated in the study.
At this time, Gosnell-Myers and her team were beginning to reach out to prospective partners in the various cities. In some cities, it would have been impossible to reach the necessary number of respondents without the support and collaboration of a range of local Aboriginal organizations, including Friendship Centres. Although many organizations were receptive to participating, some were wary, fearing that a non-Aboriginal research organization would not approach their communities in a respectful way. “There is a long history of outsiders coming in and examining Aboriginal people,” explains David Newhouse. “There were times at the beginning when I wondered whether people would reject this study outright. That didn’t happen.”