John Poupart is President and founder of the American Indian Policy Center, a unique non-profit American Indian organization that does research (Reality-Based Research**) and advocacy for American Indians policy issues. The mission of the organization is to provide accurate historic and cultural information about American Indians.
Poupart is responsible directly and indirectly for helping start many American Indian social service programs in Minnesota. He is founder of Anishinabe Longhouse, a culturally specific Corrections halfway house for American Indian ex-offenders. He was appointed by Governor Rudy Perpich as Ombudsman for Corrections; served on the Minneapolis Civil Rights Commission; Minneapolis City Planning Commission, and; Minneapolis Charter Commission.
** (Excerpt) ...The research method of AIPC is participatory and is called reality-based research. Reality-Based Research reflects the reality of American Indians and tells their stories, from an Indian point of view and from an Indian oral history standpoint. This reverence for oral history is particularly important because American Indian societies are based on oral tradition. Oral tradition preserves history, language and culture for American Indian communities. Using a method of research which respects and incorporates such basic tenets of a people's culture makes our research more meaningful to Indian communities. In the past, Indians had a high distrust for researchers. Translating social research into useful terms understood by American Indians has proven to be one of AIPC's greatest assets. This ability to communicate with Indian communities and their leaders adds a critical component toward capacity building and self empowerment of American Indian communities.
A research institute for Indian people must address the true needs and concerns of American Indians. While utilizing methods which are deemed trustworthy by Indian people, the research institute must also have sufficient academic credibility so that its work will be understood by the mainstream community as well. Thus, the American Indian Research and Policy Institute devotes its research program to encouraging grassroots involvement of Indian people and organizations in research by and for themselves, while abiding by the notions of legitimate research as defined by the academy...