Re-visiting the Past, Re-imagining the Future: Documenting NBAPC Elders and Youth Leaders in Dialogue

Research Start-up Summary and Abstract:
Founded in 1972, the New Brunswick Aboriginal Peoples Council (NBAPC) was created to preserve the rights and represent the interests of New Brunswick’s off-reserve Aboriginal population.

This project aims to address the need to document the history of the organization identified as a priority by Elders in the urban Aboriginal community, and to use its legacy as a path towards forward movement on the pressing political issues the urban Aboriginal population face in New Brunswick. The project will create a unique record that will preserve Elders’ rich insights on the NBAPC’s past accomplishments and struggles and on their dreams for the NBAPC’s future. Their individualized accounts as advocates working in an urban context are an important resource to guide the future of the organization. In this project, we will provide Elders with an opportunity to share what the organization has meant to them and will document youth perspectives on advocacy by recording their responses to the Elders’ stories.

This project addresses all five of the Legacy Project questions approved by the UAKN Executive Committee: Who are we?; How did we get here?; What do we do?; Where are we going?; How are we getting there? This project seeks to further our understanding of urban Aboriginal people in New Brunswick. By recording the Elders’ stories for the community, for the Youth Council and for future generations, this project will give the emerging leaders the foundational knowledge to answer the last two questions by themselves, on behalf of their community.

The project promises to offer fresh insights on urban Aboriginal people in New Brunswick through qualitative interviews with Elders with experience with the organization. By preserving the stories of NBAPC Elders, this project aims to continue with the established storytelling tradition. Future generations of NBAPC members and New Brunswick’s urban Aboriginal community will have these stories and will better appreciate their history.

Engagement Objectives:

By broadening knowledge of the political history of New Brunswick’s urban Aboriginal population, this project will promote awareness and will advance sovereignty by supporting greater social cohesion amongst community members and between urban aboriginal peoples and the broader community. The project responds to four research questions:

  1. What stories about the NBAPC are important to the Elders who have long term involvement with the organization?
  2. What insights on the future political direction of the organization can be obtained when communications between emerging youth leaders and Elders are facilitated by a research project?

This proposed research project uses a range of qualitative and art based methodologies that are in keeping with Tuhiwai-Smith’s advice, affirmed by Kovach, Wilson and others, that researchers adopt culturally sensitive methods to gain indigenous perspectives. Primarily, it uses documentary filmmaking and other qualitative approaches to capture the history of the organization through interviews with Elders and conversations with youth. Through the videotapes, the Elders will be connected with members of the Youth Council, the next generation of NBAPC leaders who will envision and shape the future of New Brunswick’s urban Aboriginal community.

Collaborators/Research Team:

NBAPC (community partner); Elizabeth Blaney, Director, NBAPC (community researcher/ representative for the NBAPC as a governing body); Lisa Jodoin (urban Aboriginal filmmaker, UNB Ph.D. Candidate/student researcher), Gary Gould (Elder); Josephine Savarese, Associate Professor Criminology and Criminal Justice, St. Thomas University (academic researcher and co-applicant), New Brunswick Filmmaker’s Co-operative (community partner).

Main contact:
Josephine Savarese, Associate Professor,
Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice,St. Thomas University
[email protected]

Lisa Jodoin, Urban Aboriginal filmmaker
[email protected]



Research Centre