Sustainable Development and Aboriginal Communities
The Aboriginal issue has been at the heart of political concerns on every continent. The response to Aboriginal aspirations has varied from province to province and from country to country. Gérard Duhaime, a professor at the Université Laval, is a world renowned specialist on living conditions in Aboriginal communities, and on the mechanisms for social change that operate in these communities and on the consequences that result.
As a member of several Canadian and international commissions, Dr. Duhaime is highly influential in the definition of government policies that influence Aboriginal communities. A sociologist and political scientist by training, he has specialized in the comparative analysis of the economic, social and political conditions under which Aboriginal people live.
With the Canada Research Chair, Dr. Duhaime will examine development models for Aboriginal regions, identify practices that enhance sustainable development in communities, nourish public debate in society and help to develop public policies that are relevant to Aboriginal interests both in Canada and abroad.
In Aboriginal communities, economic development is often equated with the impoverishment of traditional customs, social disintegration and the standardization of lifestyles. The purpose of this new Canada Research Chair will be to reinforce the social integration of Aboriginal people, to help them construct their future and, in a sense, to provide them with an alternative to the dependency in which their communities have often been entrapped. The research team will particularly focus on identifying models of development that tend to enhance the economic, social and political advancement of Aboriginal people.
Dr. Duhaime's research project also includes the creation of a database with information on Aboriginal living conditions. The database will provide information on demographics, health, education, housing, communications, transportation, household income, living conditions, businesses and the public sector. This database will be unique in Canada.