The OAC will be putting on a one day symposium, entitled “Planning from an Indigenous Lens.” The purpose of this symposium is to increase the capacity of the City of Ottawa and Ottawa services and organizations that are to build a sense of belonging for the estimated 40,000 Indigenous people in Ottawa.
In the last two years there have been a number of issues that indicated challenges that the City and Ottawa service organizations have in working with Indigenous people to address issues facing Indigenous people.
The most significant example was the approval by City Council for the 500-bed male homeless shelter that will also provide services and supports to additional men. The proximity to key services provided by the Indigenous community in Ottawa to other vulnerable populations and the size of the project showed the lack of knowledge that the City had in balancing needs with ensuring safe spaces exist for Indigenous people. The research has also shown that Indigenous people do not do well in larger institutional settings and vulnerability to violence and self-harm can increase.
We realized that we need to help the Ottawa community understand how to plan for the Indigenous community. The Symposium Agenda includes community and international experts on how to plan a city from an Indigenous and people first perspective. The symposium was planned for April 2020 but has been postponed.