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Co-creating with Indigenous Canadians

Updated: Feb 4, 2023


Ian Howatt / City of Edmonton


Who are you?

Collaborator. Strategist. Advocate. Change agent. Catalytic leader. Dad!!

Where does your fire come from?

Resiliency and stubbornness!! I am a principles-based person with a strong moral code. I simply want to do what’s best for people, for society. I want to leave this world in a better place for my son, and I’m driven by the need to change my city to make it better for all that call it home.

What three issues are you most passionate about?

Social injustice, indigenous rights, and values-driven leadership.

What is the name of your project that you are working on?

City of Edmonton Indigenous Framework

What is the problem you’re trying to solve?

Edmonton has the fastest growing urban indigenous population in Canada. It is also the youngest. This demographic is over-represented in many socio-economic challenges: poverty, homelessness, suicide, underemployment. We recognize we as a city have to do more. The question we are sitting with is, how can the municipality better support Indigenous persons living in Edmonton?

What is your intervention?

We are developing a long-term plan through deliberate co-creation. We have engaged twice more than 40 different Indigenous organizations and nonprofits to determine the issues and solutions. We are now co-creating with City staff to develop appropriate responses and key actions. We’ll then iterate these actions with the community until we get it right for all parties involved.

What impact have you had to date?

The community has embraced this approach, and we are in early development with City staff. Full results are yet to be evidenced, but I am confident that we will have a long-term plan welcomed by those it is intended to serve, and one that will bring about real, meaningful change to those we must support more fulsomely.

What do you need to get the project to the next level?

We will need ongoing partnerships, opportunities to learn from others working in this space, and sound leadership to make it all come to fruition.

If you’d like to connect with Ian or would like to offer your support with his project, email us at and we’ll put you in touch!

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