Urban Aboriginal Knowledge Network at U of S to foster progressive public policy

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE -March 28, 2013 2013-04-07 SASKATOON - U of S involvement in a new national research network will see connections among academics, Aboriginal organizations and governments across the country to address issues like food security, urban planning and addictions recovery.

The Urban Aboriginal Knowledge Network (UAKN) works with communities to study issues faced by urban Aboriginal people, who make up more than 50 per cent of Canada's Aboriginal population. Ryan Walker, director of the UAKN's prairie centre and professor of urban planning at the U of S, explained that while community-based research often originates in academic offices, the UAKN is more likely to fund research projects that are generated by community groups.
"Our goal is to give life to a community-driven model of research that brings together communities, government and academics so we can carry out a full process of knowledge creation to mobilization," said Walker, whose own research is focused increasingly on embedding forms of Aboriginal culture into the fabric of urban planning and architecture.
"What we really want, at the end of it all, is to build durable research infrastructure that makes peoples' lives better than they were before we started."
Several projects are already being funded by the UAKN's prairie centre. A project led by U of S sociologist John Hansen is exploring addictions recovery among Aboriginal people who use the Saskatoon Friendship Centre. Another, led by University of Winnipeg researchers, is studying urban Aboriginal food security.
The UAKN received funding in the spring of 2012 through a partnership grant from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC). The network comprises four regional headquarters across Canada, with the U of S being home to the Prairie Research Centre, which covers Saskatchewan and Manitoba.
For more information, contact:
Michael Robin
Research Communications Specialist
(306) 966-1425

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