Urban Aboriginal Peoples Study

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Urban Aboriginal Peoples Study

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The Urban Aboriginal Peoples Study (UAPS) was a national research project that sought to increase the understanding of the experiences of Aboriginal peoples living in Canadian cities. While Aboriginal peoples living in urban centers are a growing and important part of Canada’s population, few surveys prior to UAPS specifically explored their experiences, and the UAPS was designed to fill this research gap. The UAPS sought to understand the experiences, identities, values and aspirations of urban Aboriginal peoples; gain insight into the relationship between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people in order to advance and reframe the relationship; support further research on urban Aboriginal peoples; and use the survey research to promote a positive narrative in the media about Aboriginal peoples in Canada in order to balance the current dominant negative perspective.
In 2006, Michael Adams, the founder and president of the non-profit research group Environics Institute, and David Newhouse, the Chair of Indigenous Studies at Trent University, first envisioned UAPS. Adams began a series of conversations with people, both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal, who were closely involved with Aboriginal issues across Canada, and recognized that the voices of urban Aboriginal peoples were largely unheard in Canada. In September 2007, Environics Institute and the UAPS Advisory Circle—comprised of both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal thinkers—held their first meeting in Winnipeg, Manitoba.
From March to October 2009, interviewers, who were predominately Aboriginal, conducted 2,614 face-to-face interviews with Métis, Inuit and First Nations (status and non-status) people. 100 interviews were conducted with National Aboriginal Achievement Foundation (NAAF) Scholarship recipients. Phone interviews were conducted with 2,000 non-Aboriginal peoples in order to gain an understanding of how non-Aboriginal people view Aboriginal people and issues. Eleven Canadian cities were included in the study: Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, Regina, Saskatoon, Winnipeg, Thunder Bay, Toronto, Montreal, Halifax and Ottawa (Inuit only). The survey participants were found, in part, through the co-operation of Aboriginal organizations and Friendship Centers. In 2010, several reports were published based on the compiled and analyzed data collected through the interviews. These reports, among other things, were designed to advance policy discussions and inform the Canadian dialogue about social changes among Aboriginal peoples.


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University of Winnipeg Archives

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Dates of creation, revision and deletion

Aug. 16, 2012




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