Our research commitments

How do you see your city? 3 tipis with figures and water images predominantly in black, blue, red and white on a large grassy area with elevated bridge, skyscrapers and building crane in the background on a sunny day with no clouds. People are walking around the tipis. (c) Lisa Ditschun

Gratitudes and Acknowledgements

We offer gratitude to the land on which Trent University is situated and the Indigenous ancestors who resided here for millennia. We recognize Treaty 20 Michi Saagiig territory, the traditional territory of the Michi Saagiig and Chippewa Nations, collectively known as the Williams Treaties First Nation, which include: Alderville, Beausoleil, Curve Lake, Georgina Island, Hiawatha, Rama and Scugog Island First Nations, and we acknowledge our roles as a settler-guests and treaty people. We offer respect to the First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples who now call Nogojiwanong (Peterborough, Ontario) home and acknowledge our responsibility across Turtle Island to the generations yet to come.

this is our research commitment to the seven generations teachings.

Why Seven Generations?

Seven Generations Teachings form an integral part of the Haudenosaunee Great Law of Peace (Gayanashagowa). Originally including five Nations, now six, Gayanashagowa is an oral constitution which created the earliest known and now the longest functioning form of participatory democracy. 

The Law is held orally, as well as in wampum, and came from Creator to Dekanawidah, the Great Peacemaker, in a vision. The Great Peacemaker shared this message amongst the Five Nations with help from Hiawatha to create peace amongst the originally Five Nations, now Six Nations of the Grand River. The Great Tree of Peace, the White Pine, is a symbol of this ongoing peace.

Seven Generations Teachings have been adopted by current climate change movements and many non-Indigenous actors in this space. Acknowledging ourselves as guests on Turtle Island, this research will respect Gayanashagowa as foundational in understanding how the Seven Generations Teachings can help us create better cities. 

Challenging assumptions to achieve
Seven Generations change

Focusing on change at the systems-level disrupts existing system dynamics by challenging assumptions about how change happens, and then finding and creating solutions for complex problems.

Challenging assumptions is essential for us to move beyond existing urban ‘solutions’ that merely disguise inequitable systems and policy, cover up resource and infrastructure usage that damages our earth, and don’t change oppressive architecture that shapes our cities. Currently, this research is focused in North America, with potential global applications.

How do you see and experience your city?

Areas of Research Focus

This research is being co-designed and co-created with urban Indigenous communities and individuals. Academic and community cultural advisors actively direct and participate in research approach, research development and advise on protocols and other matters to ensure research remains culturally relevant and authentic.  

Reclaiming connection to nature and place is the key to health and wellness for people and the earth.

Attitudes and beliefs that create a social framework which has the ability to function positively if we choose to change current systems.

Language and the original meaning, source and intent of words is an aspect of connection to place and culture.

All the values and behaviours which characterize a social group at a given moment in its history.