In 2013, Nisga’a Lisims Government (NLG), launched the Quality of Life Strategy to enhance the living conditions of Nisga’a citizens. The strategy consists of a framework outlining a holistic understanding of sustainability and quality of life for the development and implementation of effective government programs and services.
The Quality of Life Strategy was initiated to reflect how NLG defines successful governance and public policy, considered as the degree to which government actions produce demonstrable improvements in the quality of life of Nisga’a citizens. The strategy includes key performance indicators (either quantitative or qualitative) that reflect how Nisga’a citizens view and describe the relationships among governance, public policy, and quality of life. Ultimately, by measuring indicators over time, engaging Nisga’a citizens, and aligning governance and public policy-making to improve quality of life for individuals, families and communities, the NLG aims to develop a long-term approach to understanding the quality of life for Nisga’a citizens.
The Quality of Life Framework (QoLF) was developed under a participatory research process that convened a Nisga’a working group. The QoLF encompasses eight (8) quality of life themes and 35 subthemes. The Framework was presented to Nisga’a citizens at a Special Assembly of the Nisga’a Nation held in 2014. In their feedback to NLG administration, attendees requested meaningful and tangible quality of life improvements based on the expansion and implementation of the QoLF.

NLG adjusted the QoL strategy accordingly and undertook a comprehensive household survey in the fall and spring of 2018/2019, respectively. The survey is designed to gather relevant baseline data on “how well a person is living their daily life.”  The strategy/survey provides a case study of a culturally adapted way for acquiring baseline data which assists governments in evaluating the impacts of the Nisga’a Final Agreement, a comprehensive land claims agreement and British Columbia’s first modern treaty. The survey, known as the Nisga’a Nation Household Survey (NNHS), linked the QoLF themes to measurable indicators, as well as culturally adapted and contextually relevant questions.
The survey is a practical way of monitoring the social and economic changes affecting the various subgroups of the Nation’s population, such as elders, children, urban dwellers and women over time. As such, it provides a means of establishing baseline criteria and data to support NLG’s understanding of and responses to the impact of the Nisga’a Final Agreement on the living conditions and quality of life of Nisga’a citizens.
With fieldwork complete and the analysis of findings from the NNHS underway –QoL departmental staff have been holding community engagements sessions to share certain key preliminary results and findings, such as those regarding food security, housing and transportation challenges.[1]
The conclusions of the NNHS are intended to provide Nisga’a individuals and communities with factual information and data to raise funds for programs and local initiatives, to help determine critical areas that require attention, as well as to disseminate knowledge that can foster constructive dialogues and positive change. Nisga’a Village Governments, Urban Locals, and Nisga’a citizens can use the NNHS process and results to engage in meaningful conversations among themselves and with public officials about the factors, conditions and situations that define their well-being, and thus highlight ways of uplifting and empowering their communities.
[1] The survey was test-piloted by several Nisga’a citizens of varying ages and experiences, literacy ranges, and gender in order to gain feedback on the grouping, wording and content of its questions. Verifying the data is an important part of participatory research undertaken by the NLG.

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