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Introduction: Planning Just Indigenous Futures


Published onOct 18, 2023
Introduction: Planning Just Indigenous Futures

In response to contemporary, multipronged racialized crises, including anti-Black police killings, COVID-19, and anti-Asian hate, a range of “just futures”-oriented research and changemaking initiatives have emerged across the United States. Driven by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and an array of other public and private funders, such initiatives run the gamut. Broadly, they seek to leverage the imaginative capacities of the humanities, alongside the grounded local knowledges of Black, Indigenous, People of Color communities, to envision a world beyond the long-standing violence and systemic unsustainability underpinning the current racial, social, and political–economic order in the United States (and across the world). 

To be sure, the notion of “just futures” is not merely a COVID-19–era or US-specific phenomenon. One genealogy might be traced to long-standing efforts to respond to large-scale political, economic, and social crises by critically interrogating the possibilities for a better world. Take the classic works of Black Marxist pioneer C.L.R. James, who affirmed that “it is impossible not only to think but to take any kind of sustained positive action in the world today unless one postulates the complete victory of the great masses of the people” (James 1947), and who thus implored for us to recognize and enact “the future in the present” (James 1977). In response to the well-documented rise of neoliberal deregulation in the 1980s, sociologist Erik Olin Wright (n.d.) led the establishment of the Real Utopias Project in the early 1990s, whose “objective [was] to focus on specific proposals for the fundamental redesign of basic social institutions rather than on either vague, abstract formulations of grand designs, or on small reforms of existing practices” around the world (Fung and Wright 2003, viii). Drawing on the Black Radical Tradition (Robinson 2000), and echoing the “another world is possible” mantra of 2001’s World Social Forum, Black scholar Robin D.G. Kelley’s landmark monograph Freedom Dreams called for us to “imagine something different, to realize that things need not always be this way” (Kelley 2002, 9). 

Our field of urban planning has certainly been part of this current wave of “just futures” initiatives as well—although our engagement has been strikingly limited despite our long-standing interest in futures-oriented thinking (cf. Cole 2001; Hoch 2016; Isserman 1985). In perhaps the most focused and incisive exploration of the topic to date, planning scholars Zapata and Bates (2021) curated an influential interface collection entitled “Planning Just Futures” in Planning Theory and Practice. As Zapata’s (2021, 615) introduction notes, the collection sought to harness the “utopian and dystopian imaginings from people living with injustice” and the “plausible plans and calls for radical actions from marginalized people” to ensure that “planners can become part of the fight for just futures.” It concludes with a call for planners to further reflect on three main lines of inquiry: (1) Who are the actors involved in claiming the future of communities and the cities and regions they inhabit? (2) What are the epistemologies through which different communities and professional planners should conceive just futures? (3) How can we cultivate and expand the imaginations through which we conceive of just futures? 

Projections volume 17 continues to elevate these pertinent questions while centering Indigenous perspectives on the particular political–intellectual project of formulating and enacting just Indigenous futures. Within the vibrant, interdisciplinary, Indigenous-led field of Indigenous Studies, the notion of "futures" (as distinct from the distinct literary and cultural movement of Indigenous Futurisms) has admittedly received less sustained intellectual attention compared with other keywords of Indigenous Studies (e.g., nation, kinship, genealogy, land, sovereignty, Indigeneity). Nonetheless, several provisional definitions from Indigenous scholars offer instructive guidance. Drawing on the work of political scientist Benedict Anderson, kanaka maoli scholar Noelani Goodyear-Ka‘ōpua (2018) eschews “futures” for the term “futurities” to capture three dimensions of how futurities operate in Indigenous contexts: (1) they articulate heterogeneous Indigenous conceptualizations of temporalities (i.e., relationships between past, present, and future), (2) they are grounded in particular sets of already existing Indigenous practices that give meaning to the future, and (3) they deploy varying social logics that legitimize and shape how Indigenous peoples respond to an imagined future. Tuck and Gaztambide-Fernández (2013) further emphasize that Indigenous futurities concern the interruption and rejection settler colonialism—defined broadly as the legal, social, and political–economic processes by which Indigenous dispossession (i.e., the removal of Indigenous peoples from their lands, waters, and kinship ties) is perpetuated, legitimated, and invisibilized. In this way, Indigenous futurities reject the eliminationist logic concomitant with settler futurities—their violent, uncaring counterpoint (Wolfe 2006). This volume is intellectually indebted to these conceptualizations of Indigenous futurities but opts to preserve the language of “futures” to align itself with the ongoing wave of “just futures” initiatives. 

In the spirit of the abundance that characterizes the notion of “Indigenous futurities,” we adopt an open, expansive approach to the study of just Indigenous futures. Indeed, what makes “just Indigenous futures” compelling as a concept, in our estimation, is precisely its capaciousness. It is a methodology—a way of harnessing the political potentialities of the present to imagine a world that harnesses, cultivates, and celebrates Indigenous abundance. It is a theoretical optic—a way of surfacing the future-oriented potential of already existing, and often long-standing, Indigenous initiatives and capabilities. It is an ethical heuristic—a way of clarifying what is good and desirable for Indigenous peoples amidst ongoing processes of empire, settler colonialism, and Indigenous dispossession. It is an empirical quest—a set of Indigenous values, beliefs, and practices that are already sowing the seeds of a different kind of world, if only we had the courage and sensitivity to attend to them. It is a conceptual provocation—a way of critically interrogating the taken-for-granted temporalities of planning practice. 

In Projections Volume 17, we strove to embrace the expansiveness that so characterizes Indigenous-led initiatives for resurgence and sovereignty. In doing so, we hope to have created a space wherein the knowledge of Indigenous artists and community leaders are taken seriously alongside academic manuscripts as key sites of knowledge production in the collective struggles for more just Indigenous futures. 

Overview of Journal Contributions

While the scholarly traditions of insurgent, radical, and multicultural planning have done much to celebrate the insights of community leaders and artists for real-world planning practice, these insights are often segregated from that of scholars and formal planning practitioners. This reproduces elitist divisions between expert and community knowledge and does a disservice to the persistent need for collective dialogue, understanding, and action across diverse sites of knowledge production. 

Motivated by profound respect for the wisdom inherent in the imaginative capacities of Indigenous artists, elders, and community leaders, this journal brings together artwork from six Indigenous artists, reflection essays from four Indigenous community leaders, and three article-length academic manuscripts from planning scholars working on issues from energy systems planning to participatory filmmaking. Drawing inspiration from flagship refereed journals in the interdisciplinary fields of Indigenous Studies and Pacific Studies, which also often include artwork and practitioner reflections, it is our hope that this cross-cutting content will continue to reinforce the importance of Indigenous artists and Indigenous community leaders as central figures in the crafting of more just Indigenous futures. 

The volume itself is bookended by two pieces of Indigenous artwork, with the remaining materials organized into three interrelated thematic sections: (1) reorienting the profession, (2) weaving together, and (3) feminist approaches. Below, we facilitate dialogue between planning scholars, Indigenous artists, and Indigenous community leaders by highlighting the central insights that all contributors offer to the capacious and much-needed project of planning just Indigenous futures. 

Opening Piece

“Yanggen un tånom, siempre dokko”—famous Chamoru proverb

(If you plant it, it will surely grow)

Cherokee Nation artist Brenda Mallory’s “Proximate Parcels” sets the tone of the journal through a bold declaration of Indigenous resurgence—how Indigenous peoples fiercely maintain their values, cultures, knowledges, languages, lands, waters, and kinship ties in spite of settler-colonial logic seeking to eliminate their Indigeneity and alienate them from each other (Simpson 2017). Against the murderous red backdrop of blood quantum policies and against the rigid lines that fragment and recast the traditional boundaries of Indigenous nations, Mallory affirms that Indigenous peoples continue to thrive. Like the fragmented, deconstructed spool cores that she reconstitutes as the backbones of her panel, Indigenous peoples reconstitute their genealogies, kinships, and nations and remain unified despite settler-colonial divisions. Indeed, these spool cores work their way through the panel and across woven lines, defying containment by settler-colonial cartographies and insisting on an alternative (Indigenous) logic of spatial, social, political, and economic organization. 

The seeds of Indigenous resurgence were planted long ago and have been nurtured across generations by myriad ancestors present and emerging. As the abovementioned Chamoru proverb suggests, there is a certain undeniable power to this—a power more than capable of withstanding the ominous, corrupted forces of settler colonialism. Through highlighting the strength and unity of Indigenous peoples in the United States (and beyond), Mallory reminds us that the Indigenous-led struggle for more just Indigenous futures is alive and well. 

Theme 1: Reorienting the Profession

The ignoble history of urban planning as a professional field and academic discipline is well-documented. Federally sponsored racist lending practices (i.e., redlining) institutionalized racial segregation in cities, creating systemic barriers for non-white access to economic opportunity and intergenerational wealth (Rothstein 2017). Urban renewal-era planners fragmented communities through large-scale highway projects (Crockett 2018). New urbanist-era planners celebrated aesthetic and physical dimensions of planning while eschewing the social dimensions and political–economic processes of inequality (Hanlon 2010). Particularly germane to this volume are the ways in which Indigenous nations historically have been and currently are exploited by colonial powers as contested testing grounds for Euro-American ideologies while spatially invisibilizing, eroding, and disciplining Indigenous struggles for sovereignty over time (Porter 2010). 

Yet, there remains much room for planners to reckon with the field’s historical and ongoing role in Indigenous dispossession and to consider how they might support and elevate already existing Indigenous sovereignty struggles. To this end, our first theme explores novel methodologies and real-world planning practices that may better align urban planners with Indigenous-led, future-oriented planning initiatives. 

In “Scenes from El Alto: Indigenous Youth Visions,” Casagrande and Horn analyze the process and products of a participatory video-making project with urban Indigenous Aymara youth in the predominantly Indigenous Bolivian city of El Alto. Ultimately, they demonstrate the utility of filmmaking (and specifically docu-fiction) as a particular form of Indigenous planning––one that nurtures the agency of Indigenous youth as planners of their own lives and communities and facilitates a relational articulation of anti-racist, decolonial urban futures. Drawing primarily from Aymara scholar Silvia Rivera Cusicanqui’s conceptual elaboration of the Aymara word ch’ixi, they show how urban Indigenous youth use film to illustrate a future that recognizes the already existing connections between Indigenous and non-Indigenous worldviews, communities, and spatial imaginaries and emphasize that they can coexist without either subsuming or effacing the other. 

Focusing more squarely on Indigenous traditions and worldviews, Walpole Island First Nation scholar–activist Clint Jacobs’s and Kitigan Zibi Anishinabeg scholar Leora Gansworth’s reflection essay, “Indigenous Land Trusts: Using and Transcending Settler-Colonial Legal Frameworks,” draws from the experiences of the Walpole Island Land Trust to articulate the complex ways in which Indigenous peoples navigate and even circumvent settler-colonial property law to restore “intergenerational, interdimensional, and holistic” relations between Indigenous peoples and the land. Starting from the premise that Canada’s nationwide truth and reconciliation process ultimately serves to “secure the future of the settler-colonial project,” Jacobs and Gansworth assert that Indigenous peoples must continue to disrupt these structures through myriad strategies––including through developing Indigenous-led land trusts that “combine the needs of formalized land stewardship and the tending of place.” In this clear-eyed vision for an “Indigenous-led future,” they emphasize the central role of Indigenous land stewardship, grounded in “Indigenous laws and legal traditions,” in ensuring “the wellness of the land” above all else. 

In this vein of Indigenous-led resurgence, Ñätho (Otomi) artist Eileen Jimenez’s “Ser Pueblo” is a startlingly close-up portrait of three worn hands intertwined in an unbreakable triangular formation—a visual representation of Indigenous community-based strength, solidarity, and mutual care. On each side of the triangle, Jimenez intersperses a famous quote from Lucio Cabañas Barrientos, a Mexican schoolteacher who founded the insurgent leftist political movement Partido de los Pobres (Party of the Poor), and whose legacy continues to animate radical, progressive politics in Mexico today: “ser pueblo / hacer pueblo / y estar con el pueblo” (“Be community/of the people, create community/with the people, and being/stand with community/the people”). 

Yet, as Jimenez herself notes in her artwork description, the word “pueblo” does not easily translate to English. Indeed, it conjures images of intimate, small-town, disenfranchised working-class communities in Mexico striving for social justice, which does not always readily translate to other contexts of struggle and revolution. Her insistence on the specificity of the word’s social, spatial, and political provenance is critical: This reminds us that the struggle for more just Indigenous futures must be grounded in the unique socio-spatial contexts within which Indigenous peoples enact social transformation and pursue sovereignty over their own lands and waters. 

Theme 2: Weaving Together

Weaving of both natural and synthetic fibers—as part of making clothes, jewelry, accessories, and even physical spaces for ceremony and residence—is a sacred practice in many Indigenous cultures around the world. In the Diné nation, rug weaving is a practice that connects Diné grandmothers, aunties, and mothers to their daughters, nieces, and granddaughters while creating treasured opportunities for intergenerational dialogue, nurturing, and care. In Kūki 'Āirani (the Cook Islands), the ‘ei katu (flower crown) is woven from local leaves and flowers and worn or gifted to commemorate special events, such as birthdays or hair-cutting ceremonies. Weaving is deeply intertwined with the land: Materials are grown, harvested, sorted through, and dyed—frequently (though not always) in these intergenerational spaces for women and girls. As such, weaving as Indigenous practice is not only about the process of craft-making as such but also serves as medicine, requiring a deep attentiveness to the health of the land, of other-than-human relatives, and of the weavers themselves.

Within the long-standing, vibrant tradition of Indigenous methodologies, the notion of weaving is often used to denote the ways in which different theoretical perspectives, methodological approaches, identities, and/or positionalities are intertwined with each other in service of seeing the world anew. Seeking to celebrate the virtues of weaving in this sense, our second theme brings together contributions broadly interested in navigating the tensions and possibilities inherent in the recognition of social difference. 

Māhū kanaka maoli artist Lehuauakea’s “Mele O Nā Kaukani Wai” (Song of a Thousand Waters) uses traditional kanaka ʻohe kāpala (carved bamboo) printing tools to offer a dazzlingly textured, swirling representation of kanaka geographies from the mauna (mountain) to the muliwai (river). The natural movements and contours of the Hawaiian landscape are paralleled in the intricate folds and twists of the mixed mulberry paper base—a poignant illustration of the fluidity, dynamism, and sheer beauty of Indigenous cartographies writ large. 

Drawing on various natural materials, from earth pigments to plant dyes, to represent the points at which the muliwai meets the moana (ocean), they emphasize “the need for the integration of Indigenous knowledge and western science to address ongoing global environmental decline.” Indeed, this observation is deeply felt in their artwork: Indigenous knowledges are critical for tracing and following the natural, dynamic movements of land, waters, and other-than-human relatives, and it is incumbent upon the Western sciences to develop ways to facilitate and enable these natural movements. By visually connecting the muliwai to the moana, and the local to the global, Lehuauakea emphasizes the interconnected, multiscalar kinships that must be honored—as part of crafting more just Indigenous futures and more just climate futures for all. 

At the same time, such proposals of Indigenous–settler collaborations are often fraught and contentious on the ground. In his article “Kalu'wetolilh: Assembling Infrastructures of Indigenous Energy Sovereignty in the Mad River Valley,” BIPOC scholar Aaron Gregory elucidates the processes by which Native–state relations are depoliticized in the context of renewable energy systems planning. He weaves Indigenous Wiyot concepts together with archival and ethnographic research to offer an in-depth look at the Blue Lake model—a “new regime of state-sponsored Indigenous energy sovereignty” co-stewarded by the Blue Lake Ranchería of Northern California. Through this innovative analytical lens, Gregory uncovers the vast array of Indigenous and non-Indigenous actors responsible for the regime’s emergence and sustenance over time and demonstrates the ways in which “the political problems of sovereignty and recognition are increasingly translated as technical and infrastructural matters of concern.” Ultimately, this offers a healthy dose of critical skepticism toward the technological optimism that occasionally accompanies broader discussions of “just futures” while emphasizing the importance of attending to contentious Indigenous politics in the making of just Indigenous futures in particular. 

Indeed, the political struggle for just Indigenous futures is one that is inextricably and inexorably bound to other social movements for justice and liberation. This insight is at the very heart of BIPOC Planning Collective’s inspiring “Statement of Support,” as represented by Byron Nicholas, Afro-Indigenous (Tuscarora) planner Sean Robin, and Mia White. Writing from Lenape territory (specifically New York City), they affirm that redressing the intertwined processes of Black and Indigenous dispossession requires meaningful Black–Indigenous solidarities: “We believe if any roadmap [for shared reparations] is possible, it will come about through mutual study and collaboration, where visions for just indigenous futures are conjured together with visions for justice for descendants of the enslaved and exploited.” 

Alongside political acumen and intentional coalition-building, joy is an equally central but oft-overlooked component of collective liberation. In Nansemond and white artist Alex Britt’s “Aiyana (Cowlitz),” we’re treated to an affectionate portrait of her two-spirit friend Aiyana. Aligned with Britt’s overarching project of “queering the gaze,” Aiyana is presented in ways that resist objectification by the heterosexist, anti-Indigenous, racist, and misogynistic gaze of the normative art viewer. Laying on a lush bed of tall grass, smiling with her eyes closed, her arms relaxed and outstretched, Britt captures Aiyana in a joyful moment of enjoying and connecting with nature on her own terms. As viewers, we are not permitted to know what she’s smiling at, how the grass feels, or how the sky looks, but her joy is palpable and uplifting. This is an instructive reminder: In a field in which so much emphasis seems to be placed on the challenges of knowing and understanding Indigenous peoples, Britt redirects our focus on what matters—cultivating, honoring, and celebrating Indigenous joy, even when one might not fully understand the (queer) Indigenous kinships that inspire it.

Theme 3: Feminist Approaches

Indigenous methodologies and feminist methodologies both constitute heterogeneous sets of critical methodologies seeking to circumvent and redress the myriad harms that dominant (i.e., extractive, colonial, racist, heterosexist, masculinist) modes of research have inflicted upon marginalized communities. At the most basic level, Indigenous methodologies largely center on drawing from Indigenous epistemologies, values, and kinships to increase accountability to Indigenous peoples, coproduce knowledge in service of Indigenous sovereignty, and uncover the already existing strengths, assets, and desires through which Indigenous peoples are charting out their own futures. Correspondingly, feminist geographical methodologies largely center on the importance of the body as a site of discipline, care, desire, knowledge production, political inspiration, and geographical scale whose spatial boundaries often exceed and interrupt the colonial spatial boundaries of the contemporary nation-state (Goeman 2013; Kern 2020). While we recognize the inspiring, parallel scholarly tradition of Indigenous feminisms (cf. Goeman and Denetdale 2009; Aikau et al. 2015), this theme primarily focuses on how feminist geographical methodologies are deployed in service of Indigenous sovereignty and Indigenous futures writ large. 

Cherokee curator and artist Asia Tail, in her poignant reflection essay, “Forgetting to Remember,” considers her experiences as an Indigenous curator in a settler-colonial context. Amidst gesturing to a future that centers on healing, dreaming, and liberation, she shares the intimate ways in which colonial harms manifest as physical symptoms—allergies, sickness, and trauma—in Indigenous bodies. The road to decolonial futures is long and winding, and the long trek requires that Indigenous peoples focus on healing today while taking care to help others heal along the path. For her, a more just future is one in which Indigenous peoples have “a space where our value isn’t determined by our productivity or defined in juxtaposition to whiteness but rather where our work is liberated from settler gaze entirely.”

The importance of cultivating spaces for care and healing is elaborated further by CHamoru elder Fran Lujan, Curator and Museum Director of the Pacific Island Ethnic Art Museum (PIEAM)––the only museum dedicated to protecting Pacific ancestors and art in the continental US. In her reflection piece, “A Brave Space,” she powerfully articulates the ways in which Indigenous geographies and temporalities factor into her decolonial practice. Situating PIEAM geographically on the west coast of Turtle Island (the “unceded lands of the Tongva people,” specifically Long Beach), which shares the Pacific Ocean with “the Marshallese waves” and “Carolinian skies,” she honors the connections and kinships between Pacific Islanders and Native peoples across Turtle Island. Emphasizing the importance of seeking permission from the ancestors, curating “intergenerational mentorship” and advocating for environmental protection for “seven generations out,” she further situates PIEAM within an intergenerational line of Indigenous stewardship amidst ongoing climate devastation and colonialism.

In “Moss Babies Frontside,” Skokomish and Navajo artist Denise Emerson presents a digital portrait of six Native women with infants. Donning an assortment of headscarves, hairstyles, and clothing, but with their hands firmly clasped around their babies in a protective stance, this piece emphasizes the role of Native women as protectors and caretakers of the next generation of Indigenous peoples as well as of Indigenous land, waters, and nations. Emerson attributes the genealogy of this artwork to “a historical photo of Saskatchewan Native mothers with their baby on their back while they worked” and to her own experiences of women constituting “an integral part of the Navajo family system.” 

This positions the piece as a work of trans-Indigenous solidarity, an analytic that emphasizes kinships between Indigenous peoples (Allen 2012; Te Punga Somerville 2012; 2018), or what Black and Banaban scholar Teresia Teaiwa frequently termed “difference through connections.” Indeed, the facelessness of the Native women not only allows the Indigenous viewer to see their own mothers, aunties, grandmothers, and elders in them but also facilitates a certain ease of resonance across Indigenous nations in Turtle Island and beyond. For Emerson, the future is stewarded by Indigenous women, and a future of global decolonization perhaps hinges on the kinships that are forged between Indigenous women across geographical context.

While feminist theories and methodologies trace their genealogies to the struggles, triumphs, and lives of women, they offer much in the way of critique and construction in other domains as well. Layla Kilolu, Sebastien Selarque, and Leilani Chow, in collaboration with the Ho‘ahu Energy Cooperative, deploy the conceptual framework of place-based feminist energy systems (PBFES) to guide equitable and meaningful partnerships between Indigenous peoples and energy developers in service of Indigenous energy sovereignty. The authors start from the powerful premise that Indigenous peoples should have ultimate influence over the kinds of energy developers they wish to work with and that energy systems should be rooted in Indigenous values and epistemologies. Drawing on their experiences as core members of a participatory action research project in the kānaka-majority context of Moloka‘i in Hawai‘i, they present a PBFES-grounded process evaluation tool that “communicate[s] a desire from impacted communities to see energy developers be transparent, accountable, and responsive to public inquiry and input” and that ultimately “seeks to reveal the underlying attitude energy developers have toward working collaboratively with the community.” 

Closing Piece

“Kia whakatōmuri te haere whakamua”—famous Māori proverb

(I walk backwards into the future with my eyes fixed on my past)

Among Indigenous peoples facing the settler-colonial threat of Indigenous elimination and cultural erasure, elders play a key role as stewards of Indigenous knowledge and help ensure that ancestral wisdoms are passed onto future generations through stories, music, and other arts. To conclude the journal, spuyaləpabš (Puyallup), Yakama, and Scandinavian artist Epiphany Couch celebrates the importance of Indigenous ancestral wisdoms and stories through two multimedia collages, “Ancestral Memory” and “Legacy.” Combining family photographs, papers, and beadwork, these pieces serve as reminders that everyday objects of Indigenous life hold precious nuggets of ancestral wisdom and that Indigenous elders continue to guide Indigenous peoples long after they leave this plane.

In the intimate setting of Indigenous kinship networks, elders do more than this: In ornate written text circling a postcard, and beadwork, and against the grand backdrop of towering hills and winding river, Couch speaks directly to her ancestors: “all the stories, stories, stories you tell to remind me that I am the wind. I am the wind carving, carving, carving the shape of the earth.” Building on the sentiment articulated in the Māori proverb above, Couch observes that keeping one’s “eyes fixed on [one’s] past” is not merely about honoring ancestors and elders but also about drawing strength to effectuate change in the world around us. Indeed, with ancestral strength in tow, struggles for a more just Indigenous future seem that much lighter and that much more possible. 


In the federal Morrill Act of 1862, the US federal government exploited their superior military power and imposed labyrinthine legal–bureaucratic procedures to steal thousands upon thousands of acres of land from Indigenous peoples across the continental United States. These huge swaths of land were then redistributed to flagship universities to be managed as speculative real estate in their stead. This is the violent genealogy that underpins land-grant universities—or, more accurately, land-grab universities (McCoy, Risam, and Guiliano 2021)—in the United States. 

MIT is one of two land-grant universities in Massachusetts (alongside UMass Amherst). Its establishment, sustenance, and expansion over time is directly indebted to settler-colonial processes of Indigenous land dispossession. Yet, MIT’s leadership refuses to dedicate meaningful, substantial resources to hold the institution accountable to the Indigenous peoples of the land. Indeed, in 2022-23, MIT allocated 50 thousand dollars to support Indigenous livelihoods and scholarship, whereas Harvard allocated 100 million dollars to repair its role in Black and Indigenous dispossession (Lowry 2023). For continuing to steward and protect the land currently occupied by MIT, and for continuing to guide us toward a future beyond Indigenous dispossession in their Indigenous nations and beyond, we thank the past, present, and emerging elders of the Wampanoag and Massachusetts peoples. 

This journal volume is indebted to so many people. First, we thank our contributors—planning scholars, Indigenous artists, and Indigenous community leaders—without whom this volume would not exist. For providing encouragement and guidance throughout this process, we thank our faculty coadvisors Delia Wendel (who provided additional assistance with navigating logistics and communications with MIT Press), Gabriella Carolini, and Catherine D’Ignazio. For believing in our vision and selecting us as editors for this edition of Projections, we thank the MIT DUSP PhD committee. For promoting the journal at every stage, we are grateful to our esteemed editorial board. For outstanding copyediting services, we thank Sarah Gulliford (Kearns) and Dawit Tegbaru from Knowledge Futures. For graciously reviewing our received manuscripts, much gratitude is owed to Ana Maria R. Gomes, Aja Grande, Annette Koh, Antonio Moya-Latorre, Candace Fujikane, Carolina Sarmiento, Denisse Vásquez Guevara, Dyanna Jolly, Dylan Stevenson, Elspeth Iralu, Fabricio Martins Silva, Heather Dorries, Josh Campbell, Konia Freitas, Lyana Patrick, and Magdalena Ugarte. 

For sharing your wisdom and expanding our imagination of what this journal could do, we thank Aunty Standing Feather (Native Land Conservancy) and Aaron Slater (MIT SOLVE). For additional research assistance and thought partnership, we thank Jola Idowu and Arya Sasne. For funding support, we express our deepest gratitude to MIT DUSP for earmarking funding for operations support and research assistance, to the DUSP EPP program group (particularly Larry Susskind and Janelle Knox-Hayes) for helping to cover funding gaps, and MIT ICEO (particularly Beatriz Cantada and Rachel Ornitz) for being early supporters of our vision. For offering guidance on weaving, we thank Alex Hawley for your treasured friendship and wisdom. Yáʼátʼééh, yáʼátʼééh. For offering guidance on Chamoru chants, we thank Dakota Camacho of Gi Matån Guma’. Migai ma’åse’ put i ayuda-mu, che’lu.

In fino’ Chamoru, a common way of expressing gratitude is “saina ma’åse’,” which roughly translates to “the elder is merciful.” Indeed, we are all here because of the mercy and grace of elders, past, present, and emerging. For all that we have been taught in the collective making of this journal, saina ma’åse’, saina ma’åse’.

Editorial Board

Andy Inch, Senior Lecturer, Department of Urban Studies and Planning, The University of Sheffield

Janelle Knox-Hayes, Associate Professor, Department of Urban Studies and Planning, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Keith L. Camacho (CHamoru) Professor and Vice-Chair, Department of Asian-American Studies, University of California - Los Angeles

Konia Freitas (Kanaka Maoli), Associate Specialist, Kamakakūokalani Center for Hawaiian Studies, University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa

Laura Harjo (Mvskoke), Associate Professor, Department of Native American Studies, University of Oklahoma

Lucie Laurian, Professor and Director, University of Iowa, School of Planning and Public Affairs

Marisa Zapata, Associate Professor, Toulan School of Urban Studies and Planning, Portland State University

Michelle Thompson-Fawcett (Māori, Ngāti Whātua), Professor, School of Geography, University of Otago

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