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José de Jesús Leal, ASLA Reacts to White House's First-of-a-Kind Indigenous Knowledge Guidance for Federal Agencies

Image of Jose De Jesus Leal provided by Jose De Jesus Leal

Demonstrating the broad vision of ASLA’s Racial Equity Plan of Action, ASLA is committed to the acknowledgement and advancement of forgotten communities, the leadership of its members, and opportunities to support transformative frameworks, such as the White House Indigenous Knowledge Guidance for Federal Agencies.

About The White House Indigenous Knowledge Guidance for Federal Agencies
In December 2022, “the White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) and the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) jointly released new government-wide guidance and an accompanying implementation memorandum for Federal Agencies on recognizing and including Indigenous Knowledge in Federal research, policy, and decision making. This announcement coincides with the Biden-Harris Administration’s 2022 Tribal Nations Summit and responds to a 2021 OSTP-CEQ memorandum that called for development of the guidance with Tribal consultation and Indigenous community engagement, as well as agency, expert, and public input.” (Source: CEQ/NEWS & UPDATES/PRESS RELEASES).

Remarks from José de Jesús Leal, ASLA

“The faithful implementation of this new Guidance is a key step towards closing a broken circle. It is essential that we embrace our obligations and go beyond merely understanding and assimilating Indigenous Knowledge. Our collective efforts should foster cultural wisdom that can be upheld, not by us, but by the First Peoples themselves. By actively working towards restoration of ancestral territories, facilitating access to and protection of cultural places and spaces, and amplifying the voices of Indigenous communities, we not only ensure that valuable knowledge will be passed on, but also that these lands will be safeguarded for generations to come." 

About José de Jesús Leal, ASLA
José de Jesús Leal, ASLA is Principal and Native Nation Building Studio Director at MIG. José is a Landscape Architect, truth teller, and someone who considers laughter good medicine. His professional and personal journey has always been spiritual in nature—guided by the understanding that he is sometimes the student. As Director of MIG’s Native Nation Building Studio, his work focuses on the power of inclusive community-based design and planning that is culturally sensitive. For José, supporting Indigenous community cohesiveness and self-determination are critical to the long-term stability and resilience of Native Nations. With over 24 years of professional experience, José continues to view landscape architecture as a centuries old practice that is not only shaped by culture but also reflects it.

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