Studies on the Effects of External Budgetary Controls and Accountability Reporting Demands on First Nations Communities in Canada
This dissertation is organized into four chapters; an introduction, two distinct empirical research studies, and a reflection piece on the research process. The first empirical study (Chapter 2) examines the effects of external government demands for accountability reporting, as witnessed by Indigenous individuals who work and live in First Nations communities. The chapter sheds light on the personal interpretive schemes that individuals employ to make-sense of accountability and reporting in their social context. The findings indicate that individual perceptions about accountability vary according to the participant’s personal background and their role in the community (i.e. administrative manager vs political leader). The attitudes of managers about their political leaders were found to contain commonalities to the attitudes expressed in the historic accounts of former government agents (i.e. Indian Agents) who had once managed First Nations communities on behalf of the “Indian Department”. The second study (Chapter 3) examines how budgets and budgeting in the Canadian government’s Grants and Contributions Program govern financial transfer payments to Indigenous recipient groups. The study indicates how budgeting practices allow government agencies to reinforce the dominant-subordinate social relationship that has long existed between Indigenous and non-Indigenous groups in colonial settings. The budgeting structure retains characteristics of historic colonial forms, originally intended to contain, control and assimilate the Indigenous population of Canada. Two key outcomes of the chapter are that Indigenous populations have little choice but to cooperate with government imposed funding requirements and that they retain a sense of agency through small acts of resistance against government funding agencies. Finally, Chapter 4 reflects on my experiences as an Indigenous field researcher while investigating the accountability relationships between First Nations populations and government agencies. The chapter shows how reflexive strategies were employed to ensure quality control over the collection and analysis of qualitative information. The chapter suggests strategies for future qualitative research projects, conducted in Indigenous contexts, that may benefit from reflexive practices. Overall, the dissertation extends accounting and Indigenous research streams and informs contextual accounting and Indigenous research on the potential of reflexivity as a strategy for conducting qualitative inquiry and in the construction of knowledge.
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