Communications capacity and resources : the missing weft in the basket of indigenous nation-building and vibrant communities
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Subjectcommunications; community decision-making; community empowerment; community engagement; Indigenous knowledge; Indigenous self-determination
First Nations in Canada face many barriers in their journey toward self-determination and community empowerment. One such barrier is that the processes for community decision-making, particularly those decisions that require members to vote, can have a significant impact on the outcomes communities seek in the advancement of community goals—but some First Nations lack the internal capacity for effective communications. Community decision-making processes that aren’t thoughtfully designed fail engage community members to participate in the process and thus fail to achieve community goals. In order to better understand the connection between communications and Indigenous self-determination and community empowerment, as well as factors that contribute to successful community decision-making processes, I designed this study to include intensive interviews with representatives of elected leadership and communications staff from participant First Nation communities. Through a situational analysis of the data collected in this research, I identified issues related to communications faced by First Nations in BC and then generated three sensitizing concepts that provide direction for overcoming those issues from a decolonial perspective to contribute Indigenous knowledge to the topic of community decision-making in First Nations. As a result of the findings of this study, I argue First Nations need dedicated resources to develop communications capacity within the community to achieve goals of self-determination and empowerment of community members.
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