FORWARD: Issue #4: Redefining Sustainable Design in Indian Country


Resources for making connections between art and sustainable design, as well as working with Native and other communities


Healing Hostile Architecture: Design as Care

Led by Design As Protest, a collective of BIPOC designers and advocates

The initiative supports the development of community-driven design policies and new, regenerative design models to replace hostile environments and provide care for unhoused populations.

A graphic logo of two corner rulers forming a square


Native Arts as an Economic Engine

First Peoples Fund

A study by First Peoples Fund that explores the creative economy in Native communities and needs of Native artists

a report cover page depicting crossing colorful lines includes the title Establishing a Creative Economy: Art as an Economic Engine in Native Communities, July 2013


Public Matters

A Los Angeles-based social enterprise

Public Matters addresses the trust gap between institutions & agencies and historically marginalized neighborhoods & communities. We are a cross-disciplinary, multigenerational and culturally diverse group: artists, educators, designers, facilitators, public engagement specialists, and media production professionals committed to equity, engaged in collaborative creative acts for public good.

a logo shaped like a city skyline reads Public Matters LLC


Arts, Culture, and Community Development


Through this website, PolicyLink is sharing how non-arts organizations are integrating arts and culture to help achieve their community development goals. Our research and documentation project on ArtPlace America’s Community Development Investments initiative is a jumping-off point for us to share the insights and lessons of community development organizations tackling local equity issues through arts-based strategies.

three young BIPOC children play with red balloons among greenery outside


“Culture, Community, and Environmental Justice in Contemporary Indigenous Design”

Rachel Dorothy Tanur Memorial Lecture by Sam Olbekson at Harvard University Graduate School of Design, March 30, 2022

This session [encourages] an open and interactive discussion of the central issues in tribal design and efforts to lead a fundamental shift toward culturally appropriate design solutions and self-determination. This discussion [highlights] diverse Native American projects that have challenged the status quo of typical tribal design and planning projects with innovative and culturally respectful design solutions.

aerial view of a multi family housing development in front of the Minneapolis city skyline and a blue sky

Mino-bimaadiziwin multi-family housing development, Minneapolis, Minnesota


Harvard Indigenous Design Collective

Student-run group, Harvard Graduate School of Design

The Harvard Indigenous Design Collective (HIDC) has gathered to support the education and work of our Indigenous architects, planners, designers, scholars, allies, and alumni of the Harvard Graduate School of Design.

intersecting triangles


Indigenous Design Collaborative

The Design School, Arizona State University

The Indigenous Design Collaborative (IDC) is a community-driven design and construction program that brings together tribal community members, industry, and a multidisciplinary team of ASU students and faculty to co-design and co-develop solutions for tribal communities in Arizona. Projects range from tribal sustainable housing to urban Indigenous place-keeping studies. The initiative prioritizes historical understanding, community-driven metrics, Indigenous design thinking, technological innovation, local vernacular intelligence, holistic systems solutions thinking, and collaboration with local practitioners.

IDC logo


Public Art Program and Collection Equity Audits

Forecast Public Art

Hire Forecast now to help identify discrepancies in public art collections as related to race, gender, immigration status, and more. Based on this research, we’ll help you prioritize public art initiatives, set program goals and action plans, assign accountability, and measure the impact of changes you make to your public art processes.

Mural by Mariela Ajras. Photo by Diego Rotmistrovsky.


International Indigenous Design Charter (IIDC)

Co-authored by Dr. Russell Kennedy and Dr. Meghan Kelly from Deakin University and developed in collaboration with the Deakin University, Institute of Koorie Education, Indigenous Architecture and Design Victoria, and the Management and Executive Board of the Design Institute of Australia in consultation with Australian and international community representatives

The IIDC is a living document for the best practice protocols when working with Indigenous knowledge and material in commercial design practice. The IIDC expands on the Australian Indigenous Design Charter—Communication Design. The IIDC takes into consideration the needs of the diverse design communities and cultures globally.

a cover page for the charter shows a whispy flower and the words International Indigenous Design Charter


A Variety of Indigenous Design and Regenerative Design Resources

Industrial Designers Society of America

A non-exhaustive list of resources to help you begin to understand why Indigenous designers and their worldviews should be honored and central to designs seeking to preserve Earth's precious resources, in order to build a more equitable and sustainable future for all.

“Regenerative Design Is Inextricable from Indigenous Design.


Elements of Indigenous Style:

A Guide for Writing By and About Indigenous Peoples

By Dr. Gregory Younging

Elements of Indigenous Style offers Indigenous writers and editors—and everyone creating works about Indigenous peoples—the first published guide to common questions and issues of style and process. Everyone working in words or other media needs to read this important new reference, and to keep it nearby while they’re working.​*

*A note from the Public Art Now guest curator and FORWARD’s editorial team on Lakota language use in this Issue: we think it's best to let each artist spell tribal terms how they would like to spell them. We support the artists in their learning and judgment in Lakota language use, which may be inconsistent with other writings presented in FORWARD Issue 4 and elsewhere.


Where Are My People? Native American, First Nations & Indigenous in Architecture

Kendall A. Nicholson, Ed.D., Assoc. AIA, NOMA, LEED GA Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture (ACSA) Director of Research and Information

A research series that investigates how architecture interacts with race and how the nation’s often ignored systems and histories perpetuate the problem of racial inequity.

Stylized text reads, Where Are My Native & Indigenous People? In Architecture


Sustainable Native Communities Design Lab

MASS Design Group

Closing the wealth gap in Indian Country.


True Value

MASS Design Group

Understanding the impact of design and construction on educational outcomes.

a teacher and group of young students sit in a classroom flooded with light


Decolonizing Public Spaces—Celebrating Indigenous Women / Nonbinary Voices

Chroma Zone virtual artist talk with Forecast Public Art

Indigenous women/nonbinary Chroma Zone mural artists Holly “Miskitoos” Henning (Marten Falls Anishinaabe First Nation, Constance Lake Oji-Cree First Nation), Marlena Myles (Spirit Lake Dakota / Mohegan / Muscogee), Thomasina Topbear (Santee Dakota and Oglala Lakota), and Missy Whiteman (Northern Arapaho and Kickapoo) connect with moderator Candida Gonzalez for the final artist talk of Chroma Zone 2021. The artists discuss the murals they created, their inspiration, and navigating the muralist world as an Indigenous artist. Forecast is a founding creative partner of the Chroma Zone Mural & Art Festival.


Research: Case Studies and Best Practices

Sustainable Native Communities

The Sustainable Native Communities Collaborative (SNCC) focuses on culturally and environmentally sustainable development with American Indian, First Nations, and Indigenous communities. Through planning, architectural design, technical assistance, and research, our services help tribal communities gain self-sufficiency, improve their impacts on the natural world, and develop healthy, green, culturally responsive communities.

a straw bale home construction in process set against a dusky evening sky


Dream Job—Woihanbleta s’e Wowayuphike Naca (Dream Art Leader)

If an organization like yours could hire an artist, what would the position look like? FORWARD's editorial team posed this question to Lynn Cuny, Deputy Director at Thunder Valley Community Development Corporation.

Inspired by her love and kinship with the people, Lynn is passionate about working toward a liberated Lakota Nation. As an artist herself, she understands the value of making things beautiful.

Share this page

Sign up for our Public Art Update to receive monthly insights on what's happening at Forecast and in the fields of public art and creative placemaking. You can also follow along behind the scenes with our consulting team in our quarterly Making Change and learn how we work on projects our team is leading nationwide.

Forecast is a nonprofit arts organization

Your investment in Forecast will allow us to continue innovating and adapting to provide caring, experienced support to artists, institutions, and communities who seek to bring creativity, hope, healing, joy, and identity to public spaces across the country.

FORWARD: Issue #4

Redefining Sustainable Design in Indian Country