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Within Atlantic Canada there is a relative lack of data and research on Aboriginal economic development, which provides a challenge to government, regional leadership and Aboriginal communities. In 2007, the Atlantic Aboriginal Economic Development Integrated Research Program (AAEDIRP) was formed to provide much needed baseline data and evidence-based research on Aboriginal economic development to support decision making in the region.

The AAEDIRP is a unique partnership between the 37 member communities of the Atlantic Policy Congress of First Nations Chiefs Secretariat (APCFNC), the Inuit of Labrador, fifteen Atlantic Canadian universities, and federal and provincial government funders. The main purpose of the AAEDIRP is to improve the knowledge base concerning Atlantic Aboriginal economic development in order to improve the lives of Aboriginal peoples in the region. To achieve this mandate, the AAEDIRP conducts research that is relevant to Atlantic Aboriginal communities and organizations by linking community needs with Atlantic university resources and by using community-based participatory research methods. The research projects approach community economic development from a broad, holistic perspective based on Aboriginal culture, languages and direction from Elders.

The APCFNC leadership and communities have developed stronger relationships with the Atlantic region universities through the work of the AAEDIRP. This has benefited both the Aboriginal communities and the universities. Learning has taken place on both sides about each other’s cultures, processes, ways of knowing and teaching.

Objectives of the AAEDIRP

Conduct Research on Aboriginal Economic Development

  • All research conducted is community-based participatory research, linking the needs of Aboriginal communities with post-secondary resources in order to promote and enhance Atlantic Aboriginal community economic development. The AAEDIRP builds bridges between universities and Atlantic Aboriginal communities; and provides ongoing support to Aboriginal communities and to Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal researchers from inception through to implementation of the research.

Build Research Capacity

  • Research capacity is built through the collaborative relationships the AAEDIRP cultivates between Aboriginal communities and Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal researchers. Research capacity is also built through the hiring and training of Aboriginal researchers, associates, and assistants.

Share Knowledge on Aboriginal Economic Development

  • Workshops and conferences are conducted to bring people together from academic and community settings to share knowledge and build relationships.
  • ASK-ECDEV, a "one stop shop" of internet resources on Aboriginal economic development in Atlantic Canada, has been created and is updated on a regular basis by AAEDIRP staff. For information on business, entrepreneurship, education, training, natural resources and much more, please visit www.askecdev.ca
  • Professors and students from Atlantic Region universities have been stressing the great need for more published academic literature concerning Atlantic Aboriginal economic development. Two volumes of the AAEDIRP research have been published by Fernwood Publishing. Fernwood is a leading academic publisher in Atlantic Canada of books on First Nations issues.

The AAEDIRP University Partners

In 2016, Atlantic region university partners signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the AAEDIRP/APCFNC. This document sets out a common framework around issues such as overhead costs, protection for graduate students, and ownership of research. By signing the MOU, the universities agree that the AAEDIRP will not be charged university overhead administrative fees for projects the universities collaborate on.

The AAEDIRP University Partners include:

  • Acadia University
  • Cape Breton University
  • Dalhousie University
  • Memorial University
  • Mount Allison University
  • Mount Saint Vincent University
  • Saint Mary's University
  • St. Francis Xavier University
  • St. Thomas University
  • Université de Moncton
  • University of New Brunswick
  • University of PEI
  • University of King's College
  • Atlantic School of Theology
  • Nova Scotia College of Art & Design

To learn more about the AAEDIRP and our completed research, please click here.

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