K. Jake Chakasim

Adjunct Professor

Jake, a Cree scholar from the Mushkegowuk Territory (Northern Ontario) continues to establish an interdisciplinary approach to community design via Architecture, Engineering and Indigenous Planning Principles. He is currently a Doctoral Candidate with UBC’s School of Community and Regional Planning, SCARP where he is formulating a practice-based research approach to community planning with a focus on Resilient Strategies conducive to First Nations urban and rural development.

Jake has worked for the Ontario Federation of Indigenous Friendship Centers as a Housing Policy Analyst, mandated to serve the provincial (urban) needs of Indigenous people. He also served as an Architecture-Engineering Technician for the Ontario First Nations Technical Corporation mandated by the Chiefs of Ontario (federal focused). From these positions he gained the perspective that reconciliation with Indigenous people can only be achieved if all levels of government are involved in coordinated, evidence-based actions to transform urban/ rural Indigenous services with appropriate infrastructure supports.

His research focuses on design as a critical aspect of planning 'with' indigenous communities, informed by indigenous knowledge - in - action and the 'lived experience'. Considered a phronetic approach to design-based research and education, Jake ascribes to a type of 'practical wisdom' thus ensuring the ways Indigenous people express themselves are not to be seen (or considered) as anecdotal evidence but worthy of critical design + planning discussion. He brings forward a cultural narrative about the way indigenous practitioners come to bare the historical injustices imposed upon indigenous communities and the sociological forces that continue to shape and often ill- define the working relationships with indigenous communities.

Jake is an active member of the RAIC Indigenous Task Force and is currently involved with the development of a National Architecture Policy for Canada that centralizes the valued inclusion of Canada’s Indigenous peoples presence, livelihood and wellbeing across the built environment.. He has spoken at conferences and community events nationally and internationally on Indigenous design. In 2008, Jake was a contributing artist to Canada’s participation with the Venice Biennale via the exhibition, 41° to 66° Architecture in Canada: Region, Culture and Tectonics. And more recently, part of a team of Indigenous architects and designers responsible for UNCEDED, Canada's contribution to the 2018 Venice Biennele of Architecture.

Affiliation: 
University of Waterloo

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