Video, Past Event, Social Justice, Urban Issues

Decolonizing the City: The Future of Indigenous Planning in Vancouver

September 25, 2019

On September 25, 2019, SFU's Vancity Office of Community Engagement, the PIBC South Coast Chapter and the Vancouver City Planning Commission (VCPC) hosted a panel that explores the work of Indigenous planners in Vancouver. It looked behind the scenes on what it takes to strengthen relations and create new practices and policies with Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh Nations, and with urban Indigenous communities, from a City of Vancouver context. Panelists reflected on what reconciliation means for city planning, how Indigenous Planning in Vancouver has changed over time, and what Indigenous rights means for urban planning today.

About our Speakers

Ginger Gosnell-Myers, Moderator
Decolonization Strategist, Urban Planner, and Researcher

Ginger Gosnell-Myers, of Nisga’a and Kwakwaka’wakw heritage, is a policy expert, researcher, and activist whose work focuses Indigenizing urban centres through decolonizing strategies, strengthening relations with Indigenous communities, and institutional change. Ginger was the City of Vancouver’s first Indigenous Relations Manager, where she advanced Vancouver as the world’s first “City of Reconciliation”, and ensured that Indigenous recognition and meaningful inclusion was reflected throughout all City departments and plans. 


Reconciliation Planner, Vancouver Board of Parks and Recreation

Cha'an Dtut (Rena Soutar) is of Haida descent and works as Reconciliation Planner for the Vancouver Board of Parks and Recreation. Her portfolio includes the ambitious goal of decolonizing the Vancouver Park Board. Among other initiatives, she works intergovernmentally with local First Nations on a long-term comprehensive plan for Stanley Park.


Kamala Todd, Panelist
Indigenous Arts and Culture Planner, City of Vancouver

Kamala Todd is a Metis-Cree mother, community planner, filmmaker, curator, and educator born and raised in the beautiful lands of the hən̓q̓əmin̓əm̓ and Skwxwú7mesh-speaking people, aka Vancouver. She has a Masters degree in Geography (UBC) and is the City of Vancouver’s first Indigenous Arts and Culture Planner. Kamala’s film credits include Indigenous Plant Diva, Cedar and Bamboo, RELAW: Living Indigenous Laws, and Sharing our Stories: the Vancouver Dialogues Project. She is the author of “This Many-storied Land”, in In This Together: Fifteen Stories of Truth and Reconciliation (2016),  and Truth-Telling: Indigenous perspectives on working with Municipal Governments (2017) for Vancouver Park Board.


Spencer Lindsay, Panelist
Indigenous Social Planner, City of Vancouver

Spencer Lindsay is of Red River Métis descent and has worked at the City of Vancouver since 2017, first as an Indigenous Engagement Specialist and now as an Indigenous Social Planner. Spencer’s work at the City has included facilitating the naming of šxʷƛ̓exən Xwtl’a7shn and šxʷƛ̓ənəq Xwtl’e7énḵ Square, developing an Indigenous Writing Style Guide, and serving as liaison to the Metro Vancouver Aboriginal Executive Council and the Urban Indigenous People’s Advisory Committee.


Spokesperson and elected councillor, Squamish Nation Council

Khelsilem (Sḵwx̱wú7mesh-Kwakwa̱ka̱’wakw) is serving his first four-year term as an elected Councillor and spokesperson for the Squamish Nation Council. He serves on numerous committees, but has spent his first year in office focusing on housing, capital projects, language and culture, and economic development. He believes in progressive policy and ending the climate emergency.

About our presenting Partners

Planning Institute of British Columbia

Planning Institute of British Columbia (PIBC) is the professional association of planners in British Columbia and the Yukon and has been dedicated to the advancement of the planning profession for more than 60 years. This event is supported by the PIBC South Coast Chapter which organizes local opportunities for planners to learn and connect throughout the year.

Vancouver City Planning Commission 

The Vancouver City Planning Commission (VCPC) advises City Council on planning and development issues in the City, and may report to Council on any proposal likely to have a significant effect on the future of the City. The commission organizes conferences, consultations, competitions, presentations, and research on topics including housing, public realm, neighbourhoods, transportation, and public engagement.

Presented by

SFU's Vancity Office of Community Engagement, Planning Institute of British Columbia, and the Vancouver City Planning Commission


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