The Findings Emerge
Ultimately, the UAPS involved 2,614 interviews with Métis, Inuit and First Nations (status and non-status) individuals living in eleven Canadian cities: Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, Regina, Saskatoon, Winnipeg, Thunder Bay, Toronto, Montreal, Halifax and Ottawa (Inuit only). These were conducted from March to October of 2009. Interviews with 100 NAAF scholars were also completed; the Environics Institute sees the NAAF study as a pilot that will lead to further research in the future. Finally, 2000 non-Aboriginal Canadians were surveyed by phone on their attitudes toward Aboriginal people and issues.
Sonya Kunkel, Vice President Public Affairs at Environics Research and the author of the study report, says that although the challenges of gathering the data were considerable, making sense of the data was also a huge task. “We used a lot of open-ended questions, which enable people to express themselves with more richness. The job is to approach these thousands and thousands of answers and synthesize them in a way that respects the complexity of the issues, and in a way that honours all the people we spoke to.” A vital part of approaching the data respectfully, Kunkel says, was to have a fully Aboriginal-owned and -operated research organization (Acosys Consulting) oversee the coding of participants’ answers. After Kunkel had prepared a preliminary draft report, the Advisory Circle convened once again at the Forks in Winnipeg to discuss the results and to crystallize the central themes that run through the data.
The findings of the study are reported in a number of documents on this site, and are being released through UAPS media partners: the Aboriginal Peoples Television Network, the CBC, and The Globe and Mail.