From occupation to connection
November 30 2016 6:30-9:30
Through this series, we have been exploring ways to re-indigenize Toronto. Currently our focus in on the parks and public realm.
In this session, Clara MacCallum Fraser and Christine Migwans join us for a dialogue on what it means to restore right relationship with the land in Toronto, and with each other--from both indigenous and non-indigenous perspectives.
Clara and Christine will offer some theoretical framing for our conversation, exploring how urban planning policy and practice could be informed by Indigenous consciousness and ways of knowing—and ultimately become a fulfillment of treaty.
Indigenize or Die has embarked on a journey of understanding what it means to re-indigenize Toronto’s parks and public realm, and how to support that.
In our October session (see the report below), the City of Toronto and their consulting team gave a presentation on the TOCore Parks and Public Realm Plan they are developing, and received feedback from indigenous and other participants. A stark contrast between indigenous and settler worldviews was revealed. The need for the land itself to be a participant in the planning process emerged as an overarching theme. Indigenous participants also spoke of their need and right to be in relationship with the land. One part of reconciliation is to restore the damage done to the land itself, they stated, while re-creating opportunities for indigenous "customary practices" on the land.
We have invited Clara MacCallum Fraser and Christine Migwans to help deepen and broaden last month’s dialogue by looking at how indigenous consciousness and local treaty history can inform land use planning today.
Through her doctoral research, “Imagining Planning Futures: urban planning as fulfillment of treaty,” Clara intends to enable planners to engage in genuine and transformative relationship-building with Indigenous communities, and to support indigenous consultation staff in their efforts to impact local planning processes. She will share the journey she has undertaken to understand what it means to be in right relationship as a planner.
Christine will underpin the dialogue with an indigenous perspective on the fundamental interconnectedness of all things and how that relates to treaty making and to land planning. Treaties include the consciousness of the land, the seen and the unseen. To re-indigenize fundamentally means an intention to restore these relationships and ways of being.
Clara MacCallum Fraser, Shared Path Consultation Initiative and York University
Clara is the co-Executive Director of Shared Path Consultation Initiative, an Indigenous-non-Indigenous organisation that raises awareness around urban planning and Aboriginal and treaty rights through workshops and research. She is currently a second year PhD student in the Faculty of Environmental Studies at York University. Her research, entitled “Imagining Planning Futures: urban planning as fulfillment of treaty” focuses on the intersection of urban planning and Aboriginal & Treaty rights, with a particular focus on Anishinaabe Nations in Ontario. In seeking to make reconciliation a part of her life, Clara is learning about treaties and her own responsibilities to those treaties as a settler person, in particular those over Toronto and the eastern shores of Georgian Bay, where she grew up and currently resides.
Christine holds a masters degree in Indigenous Studies from Trent University. She has worked extensively with Indigenous peoples in Canada and Thailand. She is interested in reconciliation through Indigenous education, transforming the moral fabric of the country, and Treaty ethics and philosophy.
Kevin Best, Series Curator
Kevin Best has focused on how to create a just and sustainable society through activism, innovative business and restoring Indigenous society for over four decades. Of mixed heritage, through adoption he self-identifies as Anishinabeg of the Martin Clan. He has worked with Indigenous people throughout Turtle Island, consulted to Greenpeace and pioneered green energy in Ontario. He is currently working on a start-up called Odenaansan (Village or “the little places where my heart is”), an integrated, culturally-based approach to restoring Minobimadzin (the good life) through sustainable food, energy, housing and water in Anishinabe communities. Passionate about decolonization and re-indigenization, he is committed to spreading understanding of these life-giving possibilities. He is Managing Director of Rivercourt Engineering.
ABOUT THE "INDIGENIZE OR DIE" SERIES
The ship of global imperialism and colonization has hit an iceberg. While the majority of the world's inhabitants suffer the consequences of runaway capitalism and globalized war-making, the very few on the upper decks continue their party with business as usual, blissfully ignoring the realities.
In this series, "Indigenize or Die," we deconstruct the myths of the dominant culture, explore a more truthful historical perspective and how that manifests today. Then, through the lens of decolonization and re-indigenization, we explore together possibilities for an ecologically sustainable and socially-just way forward. We ask, how can we ensure the survival of complex life on this land in accordance with its legitimate laws and the laws of Nature?
The intent of the series is to weave an understanding of history and current reality into developing a practical "go forward" plan for this land. We will be joined by other Indigenous people from both here and elsewhere around Mother Earth throughout the year. Curated by Kevin Best. See unifytoronto.ca to know more.