Over 370 million people around the globe, in over 70 countries from the Arctic to the South Pacific, define themselves as Indigenous, tribal or first peoples on the land. These original Indigenous peoples are situated in a cultural context and have knowledge systems, cultures, and ways of living that often set them apart from non-Indigenous peoples. Indigenous peoples also are situated within legal and political context Indigenous peoples as members of sovereign Tribal governments that have their own laws, policies, and a unique government-to-government relationship with the federal or national public government. Despite these cultural and legal/political components, Indigenous people in many instances continue to be marginalized or excluded by non-Indigenous governments, agencies, and programs. As sovereign peoples and caretakers of their ancestral lands Indigenous peoples have the right to determine and develop their own destinies; develop their own cultural and legal frameworks; and to play a central and foundational role in designing and implementing evaluation policies, projects, and broad initiatives as part of a larger community or nation building effort. This panel will provide strategies, illustrative case studies, and resources for inclusion of the cultural and legal/political components of Indigenous people. Information from panelists will be discussed so audience members can consider the implications for designing evaluations being implemented in and with Indigenous communities and governments. Cultural and legal protocols, policies, and regulations guide engagement with Indigenous peoples or governments and require both technical skill and cultural responsiveness by any non-Indigenous evaluation association, agency, or person seeking to collaborate, support, and/or implement an evaluation. When this purposeful design takes place in advance, the collective and impactful effort not only carries out a culturally responsive and rigorous evaluation but also contributes to Indigenous people’s community and nation building efforts.
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