The information and resources listed below are intended to support a beginning understanding of Indigenous homelessness in Canada. Let these resources expose the histories, legacies, realities, and the truths of this nation. Seeking truth is an integral part of the long and complex journey of Reconciliation. Some of these resources also shed light and share innovative and important work being done across Canada. There is an abundance of this work available by Indigenous writers, communities, and organizations – explore away, this is just the beginning and be inspired to find explore more knowledge beyond these resources.
See below for links to information, Indigenous program approaches, community plans, and Indigenous specific homelessness response program examples. Remember, you can also always search on the Homeless Hub and the Homelessness Learning Hub for further information.
Keep checking back here as we will be regularly updating materials and adding further resources.
- United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) – adopted in 2007, the Declaration is the most comprehensive international instrument on the rights of indigenous peoples. It establishes a universal framework of minimum standards for the survival, dignity and well-being of the indigenous peoples of the world. In Canada, Bill C-15 requires the federal government to prepare an action plan to achieve the objectives of UNDRIP by June 21, 2023.
- Canadian Constitution – Section 35 – in 1982 the federal government enshrined Aboriginal rights in Section 35 of the Canadian Constitution and in Section 25 of the Charter of Rights in Freedoms, the government further ensured that Charter rights cannot “abrogate or derogate” from Aboriginal rights.
- Introduction to the Indian Act (UBC First Nations & Indigenous Studies) – First passed in 1876 and despite revisions over the years, it largely retains its original form. The Indian Act was created to assimilate Indigenous peoples into non-Indigenous society and contained policies intended to terminate the cultural, social, economic, and political distinctiveness of Indigenous peoples.
- 21 Things You May Have Not Known About the Indian Act (Indigenous Corporate Training Blog, 2015)
- Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women and Girls (MMIWG) Calls to Justice (2019) – The National Inquiry’s Final Report reveals that persistent and deliberate human and Indigenous rights violations and abuses are the root cause behind Canada’s staggering rates of violence against Indigenous women, girls and 2SLGBTQQIA people. The two volume report calls for transformative legal and social changes to resolve the crisis that has devastated Indigenous communities across the country.
- Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) Calls to Action (2015) – Full Report with 94 Calls to Action. The TRC was created in 2008 through a legal settlement. The TRC’s mandate was to inform all Canadians about what happened in residential schools. The TRC documented the truth of Survivors, their families, communities and anyone personally affected by the residential school experience. The TRC concluded its mandate in 2015 and transferred its records to the safekeeping of National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation (NCTR). See also, Honouring the Truth, Reconciling for the Future: Summary of the Final Report of the TRC (2015)
- Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples (RCAP) – a Canadian royal commission established in 1991 with the aim of investigating the relationship between Indigenous peoples in Canada, the Government of Canada, and Canadian society as a whole. The RCAP submitted its five volume report in 1996.
- Indigenous Definition of Homelessness (COH, 2017). See also this 1.5 minute summary video from the author, Jesse Thistle.
- 10 Things to Know About Indigenous Homelessness (Nick Falvo, Blog, 2023) – offering awareness raising and suggested approaches for the homelessness sector, this blog includes a link to a expanded open access book chapter at this topic.
- Endaamnaan: Homes for All Nations – A First Nations Homelessness Literature Review (COH, 2022) – a 50 page report completed for the Assembly of First Nations that includes an understanding of First Nations homelessness (definitions, experiences, factors) as well as potential solutions and preventative strategies and gaps.
- Homeless on Homelands: Upholding Housing as a Human Right of Indigenous Women, Girls, Two-Spirit, and Gender Diverse People (Keepers of the Circle, 2022) – submission to the Federal Housing Advocate
- Native Women’s Association of Canada Report on Indigenous Housing: Policy and Engagement (CMHC Research Insight, 2022) – a seven page summary of the 2020 Indigenous Housing: Policy and Engagement: Final Report to Indigenous Services Canada (110 pages)
- Stories of Indigenous Homelessness Video Series (a series of 11 video ranging from 5 min to 15 min each, from the Stories of Indigenous Homelessness Working Group and Lu’ma Native Housing Society, in partnership with the Province and BC Housing. This unique video series explores Indigenous homelessness in British Columbia and is rooted in Indigenous worldviews and experiences. The videos aim to inspire hope, nurture empathy, and spark action on Indigenous-led solutions to Indigenous homelessness – read more here).
- From the Ashes: My Story of Being Indigenous, Homeless, and Finding My Way (Jesse Thistle, 2019) – a memoir by Métis-Cree academic and writer Jesse Thistle.
- No Home in the Homeland: Indigenous Peoples and Homelessness in the Canadian North (Julia Christensen, 2017) – documents the rise of Indigenous homelessness and interweaves analysis of the region’s unique history with the personal stories of homeless people in two cities – Yellowknife and Inuvik.
- Pekiwewin (Coming Home): Advancing Good Relations with Indigenous People Experiencing Homelessness (CMSH, 2020) – 2 page journal article with eight key points including four protocols to be followed by health and social service providers: 1) situating one’s self, 2) keeoukaywin (visiting), 3) hospitality, and 4) treat people as you would treat your own relative.
- Giwetashkad Indigenous Homelessness Strategic Plan (Atlohsa, 2020) – a three year plan to to reduce Indigenous homelessness in London, ON
- Meeting in the Middle: Engagement Strategy and Action Plan (Toronto, 2018) – Co-developed by the City of Toronto Shelter, Support and Housing Administration (SSHA) Division and the Toronto Aboriginal Support Services Council (TASSC). See also the October 2021 webinar on this report and follow-up actions since its creation – Recording and PDF
- 10 Tips for Engagement with Indigenous Partners (Toronto, 2019)
- Protocols and Practices for Meaningful Engagement with Indigenous Partners and Communities (Toronto, 2019)
- Revisioning Coordinated Access: Fostering Indigenous Best Practices Towards a Wholistic Systems Approach to Homelessness (SPRC Hamilton & COH, 2020) – see also webinar Recording and PowerPoint PDF
- Localized Approaches To Ending Homelessness: Indigenizing Housing First (Institute of Urban Studies University of Winnipeg, 2019)
- At Home in Winnipeg: Localizing Housing First as a Culturally Responsive Approach to Understanding and Address Urban Indigenous Homelessness (Urban Aboriginal Knowledge Network, Prairie Research Centre, 2018)
- Indigenous Case Management Model: Adapting Housing First for Youth for Indigenous Youth (HF4Y) (2020) – a 10 minute video on Endaayaang Youth Housing First Making the Shift demonstration project in Hamilton
- A Summary of Indigenous Housing and Case Management Engagement Sessions: Elders and Knowledge Keepers Circles (E-Fry of Calgary, 2019) – Written for the Indigenous
Health, Housing and Homelessness Collaboration IHHHC (on behalf of the Aboriginal Standing Committee on Housing and Homelessness and the Collaborative for Health to Home. Includes a review relevant case management standards reflecting best practices specific to Indigenous Peoples. Where gaps were identified, a further three sessions were facilitated to obtain guidance on the components of effective practices to support further direction on the development of new approaches and revisions to those current case management best practices.
- Findings From a Process Evaluation of an Indigenous Holistic Housing Support and Mental Health Case Management Program in Downtown Toronto (International Journal of Indigenous Health, 2021) – The Mino Kaanjigoowin (MK) program at Na-Me-Res (Native Men’s Residence) in Toronto, Ontario, Canada supports Indigenous men who are experiencing homelessness or are precariously housed and who have complex health and social needs. The evaluation findings demonstrate how the MK program provides specialized and culturally safe services as a best- practice model to meet the complex health and social needs of urban Indigenous people.
- Indigenous Harm Reduction: Reducing the Harms of Colonialism Policy Brief (Interagency Coalition on AIDS and Development, 2019)
- Our Home on Native Land – There are over 630 different First Nations in Canada. If you want to learn more about Indigenous territories, treaties and languages across Canada and ideas on how to acknowledge Indigenous territories, check out this website run by a Canadian nonprofit organization started in 2015. Note that the map and education they provide is a continuous work in progress, that evolves with user input and does not represent or intend to represent official or legal boundaries of any Indigenous nations.
- Indigenous Canada Course – free on-line self-paced training available through the University of Alberta.
- Indigenous Corporate Training – free e-books and additional fee-for-service on-line and in-person training opportunities
- Data Governance and Data Sovereignty:
- Indigenous Knowledges and Data Governance Protocol (Indigenous Innovation Initiative, 2021)
- First Nations Principles of OCAP (First Nations Information Governance Centre) – The First Nations principles of OCAP® (standing for ownership, control, access and possession), establish how First Nations’ data and information will be collected, protected, used, or shared and is a tool to support strong information governance on the path to First Nations data sovereignty.
- Indian Residential Schools Society
- National Centre of Truth and Reconciliation
- Native Women’s Association of Canada – Knowledge Centre
- Indigenous Writes: A Guide to First Nations, Metis, and Inuit Issues in Canada (Chelsea Vowel, 2017) – in this book of 31 essays, Chelsea explores the Indigenous experience from the time of contact to the present through five categories: Terminology of Relationships; Culture and Identity; Myth-Busting; State Violence and Land, Learning, Law and Treaties.
- National Film Board of Canada: Indigenous Peoples in Canada (First Nations and Metis)
- National Film Board on Canada: Indigenous Peoples in Canada (Inuit)
- Tamarack’s Resources for Truth and Reconciliation (2021)
- Nothing About Us Without Us: Seven Principles for Leadership & Inclusion of People with Lived Experience of Homelessness