EUC Seminar Series looks at Indigenous involvement in city planning, Nov. 23

Scenic view of Toronto sunrise

This year, York University’s Faculty of Environmental and Urban Change (EUC) Seminar Series is focusing on Assistant Professor Martha Stiegman’s knowledge translation project Polishing the Chain, which leverages research by the Indigenous-led Talking Treaties community arts project of Jumblies Theatre and Arts to enrich public discussion of treaty relations Toronto.

The series’ third instalment, “Treaty Relations, Planning and Indigenous Consultation at the City of Toronto,” will take place on Tuesday, Nov. 23. Speaking at the event are Selina Young, director of the Indigenous Affairs Office for the City of Toronto; Leela Viswanathan, associate professor, School of Urban and Regional Planning, Queen’s University; and Bob Goulai, Niibisin Consulting.

Treaties, the Crown’s duty to consult and Ontario’s Provincial Planning Policy Statement have triggered new practices of Indigenous consultation and urban planning in Toronto. In this panel, speakers will discuss Indigenous planning and decision making in the Greater Toronto Area. To what extent does city planning include Indigenous nations and communities? To what extent do Indigenous Peoples have meaningful authority or decision-making power in relation to land and waters? To what extent does the city recognize and enable their ability to practise ceremony, plant and harvest food and medicines, or enact stewardship responsibilities?

Polishing the Chain: Treaty Relations in Toronto is a fall and winter conversation series that will bring together Indigenous and allied scholars, knowledge holders, artists, Earth workers, and activists who will explore the historical significance and contemporary relevance of the treaties Indigenous nations in southern Ontario have made with each other, with the land and with the Crown. It will explore: the spirit and intent of Toronto treaties; the ways Indigenous Peoples have upheld and continue to uphold them; the extent to which they are (and are not) reflected in contemporary Indigenous and state relations; and the treaty responsibilities of both settler and Indigenous Torontonians.

All Fall 2021 seminars will be held from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. via Zoom and live-streamed on the Polishing the Chain Facebook page. To register, visit

This year’s EUC Seminar Series is co-presented by York’s new Centre for Indigenous Knowledges and Languages, the Indigenous Environmental Justice Project, and the Jumblies Theatre and Arts Talking Treaties project. For more information about the seminar series, email