Indigenous Stories in Policy

Coming together, gathering stories, creating change

Why is this toolkit important?

Policy relationships between Indigenous Peoples and the Canadian government have historically been and continue to be devastating for Indigenous Peoples, nations, and communities. The history of Indigenous policy in Canada is characterised by the goals of the domination and assimilation of Indigenous people by colonising powers, resulting in the marginalisation or exclusion of First Nations, Inuit, and Métis peoples’ participation in society. Through racist and patrilineal policy, Indigenous Peoples were not permitted to participate in society in a way that encouraged the freedom to pursue wellness, prosperity and quality of life equitable to that of non-Indigenous people. In this toolkit, we seek to build an understanding and gather resources for how urban Indigenous stories can become a part of public and urban policy in ways that are meaningful and ethical, and enhance the right of urban Indigenous people to determine their own futures. Creation stories, hunting stories, family and clan stories, stories about conflict resolution, stories about the land, transformation stories, and stories of Indigenous experiences are foundational parts of Indigenous governance. Indigenous stories hold great cultural, spiritual and political meaning, and so, it is important to ensure that they are handled carefully and ethically in the policy development and implementation process.

What are toolkits?

Toolkits are bundles of resources NUICC is gathering and developing on different topics related to urban Indigenous governance, policy, politics and knowledge mobilisation. The toolkits are developed from conversations we are having with Indigenous knowledge workers and keepers, staff at Indigenous organisations and institutions, and most importantly, those who are most often the “subjects” of “research”—urban Indigenous people themselves. We acknowledge that little here is new knowledge. Instead, we gratefully and humbly acknowledge that these toolkits build from generations of knowledge carriers who have allowed this work to be possible.

Intended Audience

Toolkits are open-access, but have been developed particularly to support knowledge sharing between coalitions from coast to coast to coast. Knowing what others have learned helps under-resourced and new coalitions integrate other communities’ lessons. We want to advance the work of urban Indigenous organisers, service providers, coalitions and policy makers to better understand how we can ethically and carefully carry Indigenous stories and storytelling into policy development. The purpose of this toolkit is to offer accessible solutions and approaches—through a variety of multimedia sources—to people advocating for and implementing change to lift up the needs of urban Indigenous communities.

These toolkits build from generations of knowledge carriers who have allowed this work to be possible.

Building a Community
of Practice

The National Urban Indigenous Coalition Council’s Knowledge Mobilisation Hub (“The Hub”) is being built to support urban Indigenous coalitions across the country as we undertake and mobilize Indigenous knowledge to advance their policy and action priorities in community and beyond.

Interested to collaborate, meet with your peers and join a community of practice? Check our monthly online meetings of the Knowledge Hub Working Group. 

To join, please email us a quick message about what you are working on for a meeting invite and Zoom link.

The Hub hosts a series of digital lectures, workshops, and discussions on a range of topics that engage Coalition members and the urban Indigenous research community on what Indigenous knowledge is and how we carry it into research, policy, and decision-making. By sharing our practices, successes, and challenges, we hope to foster research skills that lead to positive and meaningful benefits for urban Indigenous communities. Go to our Events page, or subscribe to our newsletter to get event updates.
Stories Have Always Been Our Governance showcases the work of NUICC’s Urban Indigenous Knowledge Mobilization Hub in order to amplify, focus and disseminate emergent knowledge, practices and futures for urban Indigenous people. This is an open call for stories, reports, papers, op-eds, songs, podcasts, and creative knowledge which we want to amplify! See guidelines included in the submission form.
Work With Us
NUICC is hiring for a Research Assistant position in Eastern Canada and in Western Canada who will advance the rights and visibility of the urban Indigenous population across Canada. Join us in this unique flexible part-time remote research assistant role supporting projects advancing public policy that addresses challenges for urban Indigenous peoples.  We are also hiring a Research Assistant position at Simon Fraser University where we are delivering a series of briefs on ways urban Indigenous knowledge mobilisation is affecting policy in 16 Canadian cities.
Mobilise Indigenous Knowledge
Trends as reported by StatCan point to growing numbers of Indigenous People in Canada living in urban centres, with estimates of approximately 1,000,000 living off reserve today. Such statistics hide the fact that many Indigenous territories have been subsumed by urban areas. Approximately one-quarter of Indigenous people living in urban areas in the provinces are living in poverty. Urban organisations which provide support are therefore vital to the overall health of Indigenous Peoples, and to Canadian society. From this urban encroachment, Indigenous Peoples engaged with researchers more often. However, much of the results did not benefit our communities for a variety of reasons, including lack of access (either behind academic paywalls or language barriers) and that research agendas were created primarily to meet the needs of non-Indigenous stakeholders. As a contributor to NUICC’s Urban Indigenous Knowledge Mobilisation Journal: “Stories Have Always Been Our Governance,” you will be a part of changing the conversation about community-engaged research that will have a positive impact on countless urban Indigenous populations in Canada.
Distribution of your article on the Knowledge Hub
NUICC’s Indigenous Knowledge Mobilisation Hub exists to support urban Indigenous coalitions across Canada to undertake and mobilise knowledge in their communities to advance their policy and action priorities. The Hub enables members and their communities to come together in one place to learn about, share, and access resources, research, and tools that support their programming, services, reports, and policy recommendations. The Hub will support coalition members and the urban Indigenous populations they serve to build capacity with access to knowledge, and lift up the best community-engaged research that is impacting policy change. The Hub will also host resources and online programming that build on promising practices for culturally-located, trauma-informed, intersectional, and accessible research.
Submission Guidelines
For this pilot issue, we are open to your ideas, please pitch us! While academic style is acceptable, submissions are best written in plain language for a general readership. We invite you to connect with the experienced editors on our resource team who can assist you with article length, editorial mentorship, and support. Keep the length of your article between 800 to 3,000 words for publication in the print journal. If you wish to submit work that is over 3,000 words, or written in specific academic language, please do so, but the work may need to be abridged and edited for the print edition with support from our editors. Any submissions will be reviewed and permissions will be received before publishing. While we will pay publication fees, authors/content creators retain copyright of their work. Written submissions may be in Google Docs, Microsoft Word, or other open document format. Please contact us for details on visual submissions. If you are ready to submit material now, use this Google Form.

Get Urban Indigenous Knowledge Mobilisation Hub updates in your inbox.

Receive updates from the Urban Indigenous Knowledge Mobilization Hub research caucus. The Caucus will meet once per month and be a space made specifically for sharing questions, strategies, challenges, and successes in your research activities.