​​"​To improve the quality of life for all Tribal Members, through culturally competent, custom-fit research"

Dr. Joan Lafrance
Joan LaFrance, Ed.D., is owner of Mekinak Consulting, a management and evaluation service in Seattle, Washington specializing in educational program evaluation, research, and management studies. She is a member of the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa.  Joan received her doctorate Harvard University, and a Master of Public Administration from the University of Washington. 

Mekinak Consulting has a long history of evaluation of programs in Tribal Colleges and Universities, tribal and indigenous communities, and for non-profit organizations.  With support from the National Science Foundation (NSF) through a grant to the American Indian Higher Education Consortium (AIHEC), she conducted the research and co-authored the book Indigenous Evaluation Framework: Telling Our Story in Our Place and Time. Currently, she is conducting research on the application of the Indigenous Evaluation Framework in three tribal college communities.  She was a founding member of the Indigenous Peoples in Evaluation Topical Interest Group in the American Evaluation Association.  She believes that traditional Indigenous voices and values will make significant contributions to evaluation theory and practice.

In addition to her ongoing work in American Indian tribal communities, she is working projects in the United States Affiliated Pacific Islands to assess culturally relevant mathematics curriculum and climate change education projects.  She was the lead evaluator for CEMELA, a NSF funded four university consortia dedicated to research in mathematics learning among Latino populations. 

Joan has taught research and evaluation methods in graduate programs for the University of Mary, Sitting Bull College, and University of Washington.  She has done municipal budgeting, program development and management, and curriculum development.  She has also worked as an internal consultant in the City of Seattle’s Performance Resource Group where she was involved in government improvement efforts such as performance measures, surveys of city residents and businesses, organizational research and organizational development.