UBC Graduate Research

Gwa'sala-'Nakwaxda'xw Nations Community Organizing: Stories and Lessons Learned (Report on A Collaborative Community Engagement Process) Mazur, Johanna


The collaborative community-based research project presented in this report emerged out of a research partnership initiated by the Gwa’sala-’Nakwaxda’xw Nations on the north end of Vancouver Island, British Columbia, with the School of Community and Regional Planning at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada. This report discusses the community engagement process and research principles of this project, through my experience and worldview, with additional reflections shared by some of the co-researchers and participants through follow-up interviews. The project was about honouring, recording and learning from the ways the Gwa’sala- ’Nakwaxda’xw Nations are supporting each other and building community for their children and future generations. I collaborated with members of the Gwa’sala-’Nakwaxda’xw Nations, to create a booklet of stories about grassroots community organizing and collaborative planning, entitled Gwa’sala-’Nakwaxda’xw Community Organizing: Stories and Lessons Learned, designed as an appendix to the Gwa’sala-’Nakwaxda’xw Comprehensive Community Plan. As coresearchers, we hosted a series of focus groups for community members to share their experiences, values, inspirations and reflections connected to the planning, organizing, performing and volunteering they do for their community. The booklet of stories is a compilation of what people shared at the focus groups and photos we gathered to highlight people’s words. The stories are included in this report with permission from the Gwa’sala- ’Nakwaxda’xw Nations.

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