What is the Indigenous Planning Summer Institute (IPSI)?

The Indigenous Planning Summer Institute is a week-long educational camp for Indigenous students are interested in careers in Indigenous planning and learning on Indigenous lands with other Indigenous persons.

Why Should You Attend the Indigenous Planning Summer Institute?

Indigenous peoples are leaders and innovators in the creation of unique programs that support goals of environmental sustainability, holistic healthcare, equitable business practices, and the pursuit of justice; however, Indigenous students in undergraduate and graduate programs often do not have opportunities to learn and share about the possible applications of their skills and visions to contribute to Indigenous planning and design processes.

From June 4th-9th, 2019, the 6th annual Indigenous Planning Summer Institute (IPSI) will host a group of Indigenous students and instructors to work collaboratively on building an understanding of how to implement Indigenous principles and practices of planning and design. IPSI is organized by the Sustainable Development Institute at the College of Menominee Nation, the Indigenous Design and Planning Institute of the University of New Mexico, the Northeast Climate Adaptation Science Center, and Michigan State University. IPSI will be located at the Menominee Nation in Keshena, Wisconsin and involve visits to neighboring Tribes. IPSI seeks to introduce concepts of Indigenous planning and design through the Menominee and surrounding Tribes’ experiences, including Menominee Sustainable Forestry traditions. The learning approach is experience- and dialogue-based in that it entails learning directly from the land, traditions, and work of Indigenous peoples. Instructors and students will also introduce cases of, and questions about, the planning and design work of Indigenous peoples in other parts of North America. Given longstanding environmental work of Tribes in the Great Lakes, IPSI will have a focus on Indigenous sustainability, responses to climate change, and environmental justice. IPSI also seeks to create a network of alumni (about 20 students per year) who can stay in contact regarding their future work in Indigenous design and planning, supporting each other into the future.

In previous years, IPSI and its predecessor, Forest Ecology Summer Institute, was open to Tribal college student interns from programs in the Menominee Nation and a small group of students invited from outside Menominee programs. For IPSI 2019, we are seeking to build more awareness of the program and connect with students from across North America. We have possible scholarships for students who are interested in attending. We also will set a cost of attendance for students who are able to secure funds to support themselves.

Previous Institutes Have Included:

  • Visits to the Menominee Forest and Sawmill, Oneida Turtle School and Aquaponics project, Menominee language program, and Stockbridge-Munsee wetland restoration projects, among other activities.
  • Individual and group reflection activities throughout the week are used to help people to consider their own experiences and stories. The Institute ends with opportunities for participants to share what they have learned about Indigenous planning.
  • ​Discussion activities with elders, Tribal professionals and knowledge keepers.​