Indigenizing City Planning Processes in Saskatoon, Canada

R. Ben Fawcett, Ryan Walker, Jonathan Greene


The article examines how the City of Saskatoon’s strategies for working with Indigenous communities in high-level planning processes leading to its Strategic Plan 2013-2023 relate to three concepts framing the academic literature on how to re-calibrate state-Indigenous society relations at the urban municipal level: Indigenization, coproduction, and coexistence. We argue that indigenizing mainstream city planning processes through authentic forms of partnership will increase Indigenous density within our shared cities. Qualitative interviews with leaders from City Hall and Aboriginal communities revealed a disconnection between municipal and Indigenous participants’ ideas about inclusion. The City’s mechanisms of consultation engaged Indigenous communities as stakeholder interest groups, but not as autonomous political communities wanting to share control as full partners. A civic culture and institutional structures that affi rm and operationalize indigeneity would have improved the outcome of Saskatoon’s planning processes.

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