November 29, 2010

Assessing Outcomes

As a research team, School of Public Policy and Administration professor Frances Abele and student Joshua Gladstone say they were practically meant to work with each other.

Both have experience in Canada’s North, but from very different aspects – Gladstone was first a geologist and then a civil servant working in Cambridge Bay and Iqaluit, Nunavut, while Abele has spent three decades studying northern political economy and working with Aboriginal peoples.

Now the two of them are trying to assess the effect of concluded land claim agreements in the North. “What brought me to Carleton was Frances,” says Gladstone, who holds a master’s degree in environmental studies and is a recipient of a $60,000 President’s Doctoral Fellowship.

“I’d read quite a bit of Frances’ work for my master’s degree and I admired it a great deal. When I met her I understood that her commitment to northerners and to Aboriginal people was genuine. This was a very large part of my desire to work with her.”

“Her commitment to northerners and to Aboriginal people was genuine”

The first land claim agreement, or modern treaty, in the Cree territory east of James Bay, was negotiated in 1975. There have since been more than 20 new ones brokered, with others still under negotiation.

The modern treaties are the work of a generation of Aboriginal people and their allies, most famously leading to the creation of Nunavut in 1999.

It’s been a long process of learning on all sides, one that Gladstone says he will be glad to continue participating in during his years at Carleton.

“Canada’s reputation as a just country depends on its commitment to move beyond colonialism,” he says.

“Land claims and self-government agreements are an important part of that process in their contribution to Aboriginal self-determination. I think it would benefit all of us to understand how these new institutions create opportunities for well-being and democratic governance in our society.”

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