Kyle Whyte, MSU, speaks about "Indigenous Planning as a career" at the Woodhenge outdoor learning site on the CMN campus in Keshena Wisconsin.

The 2nd annual Indigenous Planning Summer Institute (IPSI), hosted by College of Menominee Nation (CMN) Sustainable Development Institute (SDI), was held May 31 - June 3, 2016. During IPSI, 26 undergraduate and graduate students formed teams to explore difference concepts of indigenous planning, including “7 generations planning”, “people are beautiful already i.e. indigenous knowledge already is a powerful resource for planning” and “there is a history of oppression in Native American communities; This history needs to be understood and learned from.” The concepts were presented by Dr. Ted Jojola, a distinguished professor of Community & Regional Planning at the University of New Mexico.

The first day of IPSI was spent introducing indigenous planning concepts and the rest of the week was spent visiting the Menominee Nation, Oneida Nation, and Stockbridge-Munsee Community to see how these sovereign nations incorporated indigenous planning concepts into their own community planning, natural resource management, and other examples. On the last day of IPSI the three groups were able to teach their indigenous planning concept to the larger group, in addition to providing recommendations on how SDI might incorporate these planning concepts further into the development of research agendas.

The basis of IPSI focuses on the fact that Indigenous peoples have longstanding traditions of planning for the sustainability of their communities and environments. These development and decision-making efforts continue as present-day Tribal leaders address complex social, ecological and economic issues in the context of U.S. settler colonialism and globalization. Indigenous planning involves the use of time tested frameworks of community flourishing that guide Tribal uses of science and technology.

IPSI started as a Forest Ecology Summer Institute through a partnership between CMN SDI and Dr. Robin Kimmerer, Director of the Center for Native Peoples and the Environment at the State University of New York (SUNY). In the last two years, IPSI has transitioned through collaboration with Dr. Kyle Whyte an Associate Professor at the Michigan State University, into a broader summer institute based on indigenous planning concepts.

IPSI is partially supported through College of Menominee Nation’s work with both the Network for Sustainable Climate Risk Management (SCRiM) and Department of Interior (DOI) Northeast Climate Science Center (NE CSC).

Next year’s Indigenous Planning Summer Institute is already scheduled for June 5 – 9, 2017.

Image: The College of Menominee Nation