Carleton University researcher Frances Abele in the School of Public Policy and Administration (SPPA) will receive $2.5 million over six years from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) to support an investigation into transforming Indian Act governance, further bolstering Carleton’s continuing commitment to Indigenous issues.

“This SSHRC funding enables Carleton to expand the leading research taking place in the prestigious School of Public Policy and Administration,” said Rafik Goubran, vice-president (Research and International). “Carleton-led SSHRC Partnership Grants have now been funded for six consecutive years. With only 15 to 18 Partnership Grants awarded each year, Carleton’s research excellence has been well represented.”

Led by Abele and project co-founders Satsan (Herb George) of the Centre for First Nations Governance and  Catherine MacQuarrie, a fellow with SPPA, the Rebuilding First Nations Governance (RFNG) project tackles perhaps the most intractable issue in Indigenous-Canada relations: how can First Nations work free of Indian Act governance to become fully self-governing within Canada?

RFNG is an alliance of First Nation communities and tribal councils, and academic researchers and practitioners, committed to working from the community level up to end Indian Act governance and build alternatives that realize the inherent right to self-government as affirmed in the Constitution Act.

“At the core of this partnership is the understanding that positive change away from the Indian Act must be led by First Nation communities,” said Abele. “The academic and practitioner partners are taking their lead from First Nation priorities, and we build upon the experience of Satsan and his colleagues at the Centre for First Nations Governance.”

RFNG aims to liberate the energy and vision for change in First Nation communities through road-tested, step-by-step community-led processes, peer-to-peer learning among First Nations and targeted academic research keyed to community priorities.

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Carleton University

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