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Skyline of Calgary, AB at dusk.

Indigenous Re-Imagining of Cities Project

Transforming cities through placekeeping and civic-Indigenous partnerships

The Indigenous Re-Imagining of Cities project aims to collaboratively build and contribute to a national platform of dialogue, research, convenings, and land-based activations focused on re-imagining and transforming cities through placekeeping and civic-Indigenous partnerships. The project’s suite of regional and national partnership-based activities works to advance the truth and reconciliation calls to action through righting relationships and championing Indigenous inclusion, leadership, and approaches to placekeeping and landscape stewardship. 

Placekeeping is a reframing of the more commonly known term placemaking, from an Indigenous lens. Placekeeping refers to the understanding by many Indigenous knowledge-keepers and practitioners that place, and the land that provides a foundation for place, inherently exists and has agency. As people, we can: hold place, be caretakers or stewards of place, respond to place, and form relationships to place. This perspective of human interaction with place is holistic and relational and recognizes that place (and land) has its own beingness and agency.  

Indigenous placekeeping is a unique form of expression, design, process and praxis that prioritizes the ecological, historical and cultural setting of ‘place’; and engages an expanded role of community in the design process, and activations. It also unsettles and re-presences Indigenous histories and futures in the civic commons (i.e. public places such as parks, trails, entertainment venues, and libraries). Indigenous placekeeping empowers diverse Indigenous principles and processes as a means of re-imagining and transforming landscapes, public spaces and structures in urban centres.

Key Indigenous placekeeping and civic-Indigenous partnership activities for 2020: 

  • Convenings  
    • Indigenous Architecture and Placekeeping Roundtable Webinar 

    • Indigenous Placekeeping Symposium at Evergreen Brick Works 

    • Civic-Indigenous Placekeeping and Reconciliation Collaboration Forum at the Future Cities Summit 

  • Research & Publications 
    • Indigenous Placekeeping and the Civic Commons: Perspectives and Practices (Framework and Applied Toolkit) 
    • Land-based Documentation of the Lower Don Parklands (Waasayishkodenayosh)  

This program is led by Tanya Chung-Tiam-Fook (Evergreen) and co-developed in partnership with Indigenous FCC Senior Fellow Tash Naveau and Elder Catherine Tammaro. 

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