Welcome to the Urban Aboriginal Knowledge Network (UAKN) website. We are pleased to offer information about the UAKN history, governance structure, current research, and engagements with our network of vital partners. Our research aims at fostering “mino-biimaadiziwin” – the good life – for urban Aboriginal peoples. This goal is achieved through funding high-quality, policy-relevant research that brings together perspectives from academia, government and the urban Aboriginal community.

According to the National Household Survey (NHS) 2011, nearly 60% of Aboriginal peoples lived in urban areas. Until recently, there has been little research on this growing and vibrant population. The dimensions of urban Aboriginal lives and the issues facing urban Aboriginal peoples have not been examined and analyzed in a rigorous fashion towards the development of healthy progressive public policy.

In an effort to close these knowledge gaps, the National Association of Friendship Centres (NAFC), and Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada (AANDC) co-led the creation of the UAKN in 2007. With support from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC), the UAKN is poised to provide policy makers across Canada the knowledge to move forward together with Aboriginal peoples using evidence collected by the community for the community.

UAKN Research

The UAKN is a community driven research network with a focus on urban Aboriginal concerns. Our goal is to contribute to a better quality of life for Aboriginal peoples living in cities and towns by filling the current knowledge gap in urban Aboriginal research, programming and public policy. The UAKN establishes a national, interdisciplinary network involving universities, community, and government partners for research, scholarship and knowledge mobilization.

The UAKN’s national network provides a different kind of partnership by developing stronger relationships, through a community driven process. Our governance brings together urban Aboriginal communities, academics, governments and others stakeholders in pursuit of knowledge creation, mobilization and transfer.

The UAKN has grown to include over 80 formal partners with over 53 regional research projects funded. A priority area of the UAKN is to ensure training of new and emerging scholars, especially Aboriginal scholars is focal to the research. To date 30 graduate and undergraduate students have been involved in various capacities. The UAKN also supports communities as they build their own research capacity through this process. We look forward to more opportunities to expand our network as we move forward.


Our national network develops progressive and positive public policy based on research information collected by the community for the community.

The UAKN has four sets of expertise:

  1. Community driven research
  2. Knowledge mobilization
  3. Administration and development of research networks and grant processes
  4. Knowledge of local community structures

At the community level, Friendship Centres and other urban Aboriginal organizations play a critical role in our research development and policy improvement processes. These organizations have effectively worked to ease social dislocation, assist with separation from family and counter racial discrimination experienced by First Nations, Métis and Inuit peoples.