Evaluation Tools in Development will Help Łutsël K’é’s Thaidene Nëné and Wildlife, Lands and Environment Departments Gather and Share Important Information
Northern Indigenous communities like ours are well aware of the benefits of guardian and harvester programs, which include serving as the eyes and ears of our communities on the land and water and supplying our people with food and medicine. Unfortunately, the value of these programs and the impacts that they are having is not always recognized by decision-makers and funders.
Ni Hat’ni Dene is one of four hunter/harvester/guardian programs currently being supported by MakeWay to develop evaluation tools that are easy to use and provide information that is of use to our communities while also satisfying the expectations of funders. The others are the Joint Secretariat, which administers the Imaryuk and Munaqsiyit Monitoring Programs in the Inuvialuit Settlement Region of the Northwest Territories (NWT); the Dechinta Centre for Research and Learning in Yellowknife, NWT; and the Ittaq Heritage and Research Centre in Clyde River, Nunavut.
The four programs met in person for the first time in June 2022 at Dechinta’s camp on Mackenzie Island. Over four days, the twenty-five participants shared about their programs and the opportunities and challenges they face in carrying out their work. Since then, each program has been working with an evaluation partner to design responsive tools that can collect, analyze, and share important outcomes related to their programs, such as harvest distribution, on-the-land learning and skill development, and intergenerational knowledge transfer.
One evaluation partner, Tiffany Scurr, was in Łutsël K’é in last month to meet with Ni Hat’ni Dene guardians and other members of the Thaidene Nëné and Wildlife, Lands and Environment departments. Over the week that she was in town, Tiffany learned about the different ways the two departments are currently gathering information and shadowed the guardians during regular daily activities. She also talked to guardians and administrators about what is and is not working in the related processes of collecting, analyzing, and reporting on data. Mostly importantly, staff in both departments identified what information they need and what stories they want to tell.
Over the coming months, the guardians will work with the evaluation partners to design tools that meet the needs of the Thaidene Nëné and Wildlife, Lands and Environment departments. They will also develop tools that will translate the information being gathered into a format that works for funders.
Over the longer term, the four programs will work with evaluation partners to develop an economic evaluation model that will demonstrate the value of harvester and guardian programs so that funders can see the “return on their investment.”
This work builds on the development of the Hunter/Harvester/Guardian Evaluation Toolkit, which was released in 2021. The toolkit was developed in collaboration with northern Indigenous communities and organizations to support the design and implementation of evaluations to assess the impacts of hunter/harvest/guardian programs. The hope is that by using a common approach to evaluation, programs across the North can learn from one another and also communicate the benefits of these programs to decision-makers and funders.
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.
We are the Lutsel K’e Dene First Nation. Our vision for Thaidene Nëné is:
Nuwe néné, nuwe ch'anıé yunedhé xa (Our land, our culture for the future).
We’re working with our partners to permanently protect Thaidene Nëné—part of our
huge and bountiful homeland around and beyond the East Arm of Tu Nedhé.