Sofia Locklear is a Native American woman from the Lumbee Tribe of North Carolina, and was born and raised in Seattle, Washington, U.S.A. She received her BA from Seattle University, her MA from the University of New Mexico, and is currently a Ph.D candidate in sociology focusing on social determinants of health and race and ethnicity. Sofia strives to engage in rigorous and dynamic research and evaluation that is centered around indigenous community cultural values, needs, and ways of knowing as an effort to combat structural oppression.
Reclaiming the Narrative: Lifting indigenous voices through evaluation
The Urban Indian Health Institute (UIHI) recognizes evaluation as an indigenous value, and is in the process of creating an indigenous evaluation framework that is inclusive of American Indians and Alaskan Natives living in urban settings. This framework includes the core values of decolonizing data, centering of community, resiliency and strength based, and the recognition that community is created wherever indigenous people are, with the goal to use evaluation as a tool that lifts the stories of our indigenous communities, recognizes the interconnectedness with our environment, highlights the importance of indigenous ways of knowing, and pushes back on the white heteronormative patriarchal scripts that often seeks to erase Native identities and histories. With this is in mind, the Urban Indian Health Institute funds four community grants every year to varying urban Indian health programs. As a part of our indigenous evaluation framework, grantees are asked to submit a qualitative photo narrative project that shares their story in a way that best represents their truths. With permission, photo narrative projects will be shared as an example of how UIHI seeks to implement indigenous evaluation while meeting the demands of federal funders and raising the voices of the indigenous people we serve.