John Harris, associate professor of regional and city planning at the University of Oklahoma will speak about his work with Tribal Nations in Oklahoma and provide an introduction to Tribal/Indigenous planning more broadly.
Harris is a non-indigenous scholar of community development, drawn to the potential of planning as a tool of justice and decolonization. The activities and processes of regional and city planning, including land management and regulation, community visioning, resource protection and economic development; all have long been important for American Indian tribes in North America as a way of protecting and enhancing the local quality of life (Jojola 2000).
However, Tribal planning on Tribal lands (often referred to as "Indian Country") is done in a different political, legal and social context, with a different set of constraints and opportunities than planning scenarios found in the dominant culture. Thus, Tribal planning has emerged as both a subset of the larger planning enterprise and as a tool to reassert sovereignty. In his presentation, Harris will discuss these broader concepts using examples from a climate change vulnerability study he worked on with five Nations in Oklahoma.