Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander identity

Given the historic context of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander experience, specific ethical considerations are required when conducting evaluation or research with the community. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities should be involved in every step of the evaluation design and reporting processes. Specific benefits for the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women should be at the forefront of the evaluation purpose (Lowitja, 2011).

Research was and is central to the colonisation and political realities of Indigenous communities. Because evaluation is a form of research, and persons conducting evaluation are not immune to oppressive practices, it is essential that evaluators acknowledge and engage with this history. Use of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander advisory groups can support decolonise the evaluation process (Johnston-Goodstar, 2012). This ensures that processes and outcomes are appropriate for Indigenous communities by centering Indigenous world views, actively including participation and ensuring relevance as defined by Aboriginal communities.

For further reading please refer to:

  • The Lowitja Institute, Ethics Hub which contains specific considerations for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples
  • Decolonising evaluation: the necessity of evaluation advisory groups in indigenous evaluation (Johnston-Goodstar, 2012) - a paper discussing how to centralise Indigenous voices and ensure relevance and service to the community.
  • Lessons on Decolonising Evaluation from Kaupapa Maori evaluation (Cram, 2016) - outlines key learnings in developing equity evaluation approaches.