Photo of Frances Abele

Frances Abele

Chancellor’s Professor, School of Public Policy and Administration

Phone:613-520-2600 x 2553
Office:5209 Richcraft Hall

Teaching Concentration: Policy Analysis
Courses Taught: Research Methods and Design, Foundations of Policy Analysis, Aboriginal Policy, Indigenous-Canada Relations

Frances Abele is Chancellor’s Professor of Public Policy and Administration, Academic Director of the Carleton Centre for Community Innovation, Fellow of the Centre for Governance and Public Management, and Research Fellow at the Institute for Research on Public Policy. She is adjunct professor in the doctoral program in Indigenous Studies at Trent University. Dr. Abele is a former director of the School of Public Policy and Administration at Carleton. During 1992-96, she was seconded to the research directorate at the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples, where she was responsible for research and policy on the North and some of the Commission’s work on governance.A political scientist born in Alberta, Dr. Abele attended the University of Calgary, University of Toronto and York University. She has worked with Indigenous peoples all over Canada and in some parts of the circumpolar Arctic for most of her career. Her research has focused on northern economic and political development, Aboriginal self-government, policy and programs important to Aboriginal people living in cities, policy and program evaluation, qualitative research and citizen engagement. Besides her academic publications, Abele has published research reports with the National Centre for First Nations Governance, Canadian Policy Research Networks, the Institute for Research on Public Policy, the Walter and Duncan Gordon Foundation, the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, and the Institute of Public Administration of Canada. She is currently a member of the editorial boards of two academic journals: aboriginal policy studies, and Canadian Public Administration.

Current Research

Dr. Abele is currently following two broad lines of research, both SSHRC-funded. The first aims to understand the past, present and future of northern political and economic development and particularly to build upon this to define options for sustainable development to enhance the wellbeing of northern communities in Canada and in other circumpolar nations. This research program has a number of interlinked strands, including a study of the role of the state in the developing northern social economy and a project to define medium-term economic development options that are alternative to reliance upon project-by-project decision-making. An important recent project has been a partnership with IsumaTV and other researchers to build a digital, interactive, bilingual network among researchers and community members to ensure that the latter have access to the knowledge they require to make pending decisions about development projects.

Abele’s second line of research focuses on the Canadian federation and Indigenous self-government. As part of a SSHRC Partnership Grant project, she is studying the financial aspects of land claim implementation. In addition, with collaborators Satsan Herb George and Catherine MacQuarrie, she has launched the Transitional Governance Project. This project aims to meet the research needs of First Nations governments that are working their way out from under the Indian Act.

Recent Publications

Articles in Refereed Journals

  • Sheena Kennedy Dalseg and Frances Abele. 2015. “Language, Distance, Democracy: Development Decision-Making and Northern Communications” The Northern Review. No. 41 (October 2015).
  • Frances Abele and Katherine Graham. 2011. “What Now? Future Federal Responsibilities Towards Aboriginal People Living in Cities” aboriginal policy studies vol 1 n 1 spring 2011.
  • Frances Abele. 2009. “The State and the Northern Social Economy: Research Prospects” The Northern Review No. 30 (Spring) pp 37-58.
  • Frances Abele and Thierry Rodon. 2007. “Inuit Diplomacy in the Global Era: The Strengths of Multilateral Internationalism” Canadian Foreign Policy 13:3 Spring.
  • Frances Abele and Michael J. Prince. 2006. “Four Pathways to Aboriginal Self-Government in Canada” American Review of Canadian Studies 36:4 pp 568-597 Winter 2006.

Edited Books

  • Frances Abele and Chris Southcott. (eds). 2016. Care, Cooperation, and Activism: Cases from the Northern Social Economy. Edmonton: University of Alberta Press.
  • Frances Abele, Tom Courchene, France St. Hilaire, and Leslie Seidle (eds). 2009 Northern Exposure: Powers, Peoples and Projects. Montreal: Institute for Research on Public Policy.

Book Chapters

  • Frances Abele. 2016. “The North in New Times: Revising Federal Priorities.” In J. Higginbotham & J. Spence (Eds.), North of 60: Toward A Renewed Canadian Arctic Agenda (pp. 5–11). Waterloo: Centre for International Governance Innovation, 2016.
  • Frances Abele. 2015. “State Institutions and the Social Economy in Northern Canada” in Chris Southcott, ed. Northern Communities Working Together: The Social Economy of Canada’s North.University of Toronto Press.
  • Frances Abele. 2014. “The Immediate and Lasting Impact of the Inquiry into the Construction of a Mackenzie Valley Pipeline” in Greg Inwood and Carolyn Johns, eds. Commissions of Inquiry and Policy Change: A Comparative Analysis. University of Toronto Press.
  • Frances Abele. 2013.”Intergovernmentalism and the Well-Being of First Nations” in Ghislain Otis and Martin Papillon, eds. Fédéralisme et Gouvernance Autochtone/Federalism and Aboriginal Governance. Presses de l’Université Laval, 2013.
  • Frances Abele. 2013. “Promises to Keep: Federal Spending on Transportation and Communication Infrastructure in the Territorial North” (with Sheena Kennedy Dalseg and Joshua Gladstone) in G. Bruce Doern and Chris Stoney, eds. How Ottawa Spends 2013-14: Mid-Term Blues and Long Term Plans. Montreal and Kingston: McGill-Queen’s University Press.
  • Frances Abele, Russell LaPointe, David Leech, and Michael McCrossan. 2012. “Four Ways to See It: Aboriginal People and Public Policy in Selected Ontario Cities” in Evelyn Peters, ed. Fields of Governance #5:  Urban Aboriginal Policy Making in Canadian Municipalities. Montreal and Kingston: McGill-Queen’s University Press.
  • Frances Abele and Katherine Graham. 2012. “Federal Urban Aboriginal Policy: The Challenge of Viewing the Stars in the Urban Night Sky” in Evelyn Peters, ed. Fields of Governance #5:  Urban Aboriginal Policy Making in Canadian Municipalities. Montreal and Kingston: McGill-Queen’s University Press.
  • Frances Abele. In Press 2011. “Use it or Lose it? The Conservatives’ Northern Strategy” in Bruce Doern and Chris Stoney, eds.  How Ottawa Spends 2011-12. McGill-University Press.
  • Frances Abele and Senada Delic. 2010. “Aboriginal Workers and the Recession” in G. Bruce Doern and Chris Stoney, eds. How Ottawa Spends 2009-2010. Toronto: Oxford University Press, pp. 163-192.

Technical Papers

  • Frances Abele and Senada Delic. 2014. Northern Aboriginal Youth Employment. Report prepared as part of SSHRC Knowledge Synthesis Grant. February.
  • Frances Abele. 2007. Like An Ill-Fitting Boot: Government, Governance and Management Systems in the Contemporary Indian Act. National Centre on First Nations Governance.
  • Frances Abele. 2012. Is Evaluation a Tool for Social Justice? Reconciliation? Control? Reflections on the Canadian Experience in Indigenous Affairs. in Better Indigenous Policies: The Role of Evaluation. Roundtable Proceedings. Canberra: Australian Government. Productivity Commission, 2013. Presented at Policy Roundtable: Lessons to be learnt — how evaluation can lead to better Indigenous policies Canberra 22-23 October.
  • Frances Abele. 2006. The Feasibility of a Northern Policy Research Institution Consultation and Report for the Walter and Duncan Gordon Foundation. 2006
  • Frances Abele, Katherine Graham, Alex Ker, Craig Brown, and Chris Stoney. 2005. First Nations Governance Pilot Projects: Challenge and Innovation. Volume 1 and 2. Carleton Centre for Community Innovation for the National Centre for First Nations Governance, 200 pages.
  • Frances Abele. 2004. Aboriginal Peoples and a New Social Architecture for Canada’s 21stCentury.  Canadian Policy Research Networks.