Project Description

Project Title:

xwc̓ic̓əsəm Garden: An Urban Indigenous Space Supporting the Development of National Urban Parks and Ecological Corridors.


In this project, we will examine how xwc̓ic̓əsəm has addressed issues related to Indigenous health and wellness, food sovereignty, youth identity, counter-racism, the legacy of colonialism, Indigenous peoples’ relationships, and land-based education and stewardship. In addition, we will gather evidence-based best practices and lessons learned and evaluate xwc̓ic̓əsəm contributions to the co-development of land-based initiatives and programs, community relationships, access to Indigenous spaces, and building reciprocal and respectful relationships with Indigenous peoples.

Research Team: 

Eduardo Jovel, Tabitha Martens, Alannah Young, Wilson Mendes, Simon Ross, Tanya Wahbe, Cameron Swinton, Jocelyn Wood, Josie Kaip, and Coral Choi.


We aim to address the knowledge mobilization gap and recommend how National Urban Parks and Ecological Corridors (NUPECs) can drive large-scale social change. Large-scale social change requires working toward the same goal and redirecting power relations. It involves the transformation of institutional cultures, institutions, processes, and functions. The interactions of many organizations within a complex system, including diverse communities, government, and corporate sectors, require that collective actions remain aligned and parties hold each other accountable.


  • Document history, narratives, decolonizing impact, and role of xwc̓ic̓əsəm Garden in mitigating colonial harm.
  • Map and analyze the actors and capitals of xwc̓ic̓əsəm Garden.
  • Examine and showcase the role of xwc̓ic̓əsəm Garden in promoting social transformation, cultural resurgence, community engagement, and land relationality for the development of urban Indigenous spaces.
  • Identify, document, share lessons learned and recommendations, and analyze pathways to support the NUPEC program.


1) Best practices, lessons learned and recommendations to co-develop knowledge and relationships in Urban Indigenous Spaces, develop programming to support social change, Indigenous people’s relationships, resurgence, cultural resilience, land-based education, food security, enhanced youth identity, and counter racism and colonization.

2) Resources and tools, including one podcast, three video vignettes, and one virtual multi-media exhibit focused on Indigenous land use and stewardship in urban environments, land-based education, orality, and language. These resources will highlight the root problems, desired changes, and potential actions to advance social transformation.

3) Two peer-reviewed publications identifying critical drivers of change, uncertainties, success, and factors that could significantly impact and improve decisions, policies, and strategies for the successful development of Urban Indigenous Spaces and Urban Protected Areas.

4) Briefings to expand the dialogue about Indigenous wellness among researchers, practitioners, policymakers, and urban Indigenous communities, including how Urban Protected Areas can support Indigenous wellness.


This project is supported by Parks Canada.

January 2023 to March 2024