Daniel Akihiro Iwama

I am a PhD candidate in Urban Planning at the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs. I research and write about land and planning. My scholarly background attends closely to the entanglements of Indigenous communities with non-Indigenous systems of planning and development. My academic interests relate broadly to cities and colonialism, with related concerns for diaspora, inequality, and planning history.

In my current research I am investigating land reform in Okinawa, through a case study of military base return. Taking seriously Okinawan calls for self-determination and demilitarization, this work interrogates plans and conceptualizations of "return" proliferated by the US-Japan Security Alliance, in light of uninterrupted environmental degradation and remilitarization.

In the past, I received degrees in Philosophy and Indigenous Community Planning from the University of British Columbia. I am an SSRC fieldwork fellow (with funding from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation), and carry Doctoral Fellowships from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada and the UCLA Terasaki Center for Japanese Studies.

Outside of academia, I work in the worlds of planning and social policy. I worked in funding and community development prior to returning to academia, and am currently employed as a Policy Analyst at the City of Vancouver.

Okinawa. Red River

My paternal grandmother, Uehara Takako (上原uībaru), was Uchinānchu (Okinawan of Okinawa Island), belonging to the Tei munchu of Naha’s Kume Village. She married a kibei nisei, Iwama Kazuo (岩間 Iwama), of Calgary and Yamanashi Prefecture. At the age of 17, my father immigrated from Okinawa to Vancouver, where I was raised. I am a life-long member of the Bankūbā Okinawa-Ken Yuaikai (Okinawa Citizens Association of Vancouver).

My maternal grandmother, Colleen Brass, was born in Lestock, Saskatchewan, to William Caldwell Brass, of Swan River, Manitoba, who was paid $240 Mètis scrip by the North-West Half Breed Commission as a child. Colleen married a Ukrainian-Mennonite settler, Ralph Paul, in Treaty 6 territory, Prince Albert, Saskatchewan, where my mother was raised. I am a citizen of the Mètis Nation of BC.

I was raised in Vancouver, on the unceded lands of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm , Sḵwx̱wú7mesh and səlilwətaɬ First Nations. I live in East Vancouver, and in my free time I love to fish, and to fix and ride old bicycles

Contact me at diwama@ucla.edu