Reclaiming Home: Addressing Homelessness, Housing & Reconciliation

Nda Bimose Wiizhaayaan Endayin

November 14 -15, 2019 • Laurentian University • Sudbury, ON

About the Conference

The purpose of the two-day national conference is to (a) identify the most effective strategies for addressing barriers of homelessness related to education, housing, and employment for Indigenous and non-Indigenous people, and (b) explore the links between addressing reconciliation and homelessness. 

Reconciliation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people, within the context of homelessness, is important because Indigenous people comprise the largest subgroup of people living with homelessness in many Canadian towns and cities. The lack of decent housing for urban Indigenous people and people living on First Nations points to the need to examine the relevance of reconciliation to resolving housing and homelessness for Indigenous people.

 To date, these issues have not been systematically examined together in previous research or conferences. As such, this conference will bring together academic faculty, people with lived experience of homelessness, students, community groups, and service providers in discussing the pressing need to identify solutions to improve the housing conditions of Indigenous peoples in Canada.

Art Petahtegoose, an elder from Atikameksheng Anishnawbek First Nation will provide opening and closing ceremonies for the conference. 

Your artwork could be featured on a published book cover!

Call for submissions of original artwork from Indigenous post-secondary students to be judged for the cover of “Reclaiming Home | Nda Bimose Wiizhaayaan Endayin”, a book of conference proceedings. Your art should reflect the book’s themes – addressing homelessness, housing, and reconciliation with Indigenous people. Submit your entry below by May 1, 2020 at 11:59 PM. Presented by the Centre for Research in Social Justice and Policy, in partnership with Indigenous Student Affairs.

1st prize: $300, artwork featured on the cover

2nd prize: $150, artwork featured within the book

3rd prize: $50, artwork featured within the book

Submit your artwork!

Your art should reflect the book’s themes – addressing homelessness, housing, and reconciliation with Indigenous people.

Submit your entry below by May 1, 2020 at 11:59 PM. Submissions must be no larger than 8.5" by 11"


The conference will be held at Laurentian University in Sudbury, ON. Sessions will be held in the University of Sudbury’s Canisius Hall on November 14 and Laurentian University’s Indigenous Sharing and Learning Centre (ISLC) on November 15. 


Included with the registration fee is two catered breakfasts, two catered lunches, a catered dinner, as well as access to all of the conference events - presentations and keynote speakers! 

Registration Fee: $100.00

Note: registration fees are waived for students and participants with lived experience of homelessness or poverty as a way of reducing any financial barriers of being included in the discussion. Following the link to RSVPify, enter discount code "STUDENT" or "LIVEDEXPERIENCE" at checkout to waive all registration fees. 

Program at a Glance

Presenters will speak on a variety of topics related to addressing homelessness, housing, and reconciliation with Indigenous peoples in Canada. See below a sample of abstracts that will presented at the conference. Abstracts will be continuously published here as they become available, so be sure to check back soon! 

Presentation Abstract


In recent years in Finland homelessness is increasingly seen as part of marginalization and the work to combat homelessness as anti-exclusion work. The focus of my presentation will be on women whose sustained or recurrent homelessness is associated with mental health problems and problematic alcohol and drug abuse or criminality. Their homeless is not only houselessness, but also vulnerability and marginalization. Gender has been far too much ignored both within research on homelessness and housing services for homeless people and as a result, understanding of homeless women's lives and their experiences of housing services is too limited in Finland.

There is a need to clarify and make visible not only the concept of women specificity but also the content of it in practical work. Currently ongoing is the NEA project (Securing Housing for Women) on women’s homelessness, with nine Finnish organizations involved. The various sub-projects of NEA illustrate the multidimensional nature of female homelessness and the diverse skills and criteria necessary for housing social work which should include working with homelessness as part of anti-exclusion work.

The number of homeless prisoners released has not fallen significantly in recent years, although efforts such as integrating housing issues into a planned release and rehabilitation work in prisons have been made. The homelessness of female prisoners is still a partially unresolved issue, them being perhaps the most marginalized group among homeless women. The Finnish Foundation for Supporting Ex-offenders, Krits, has launched a project ‘See the Woman in Prison’ to make the status of female prisoners visible. The project has integrated social care and psychotherapeutically oriented services with an input of the experts by experience. project responds to the women’s homelessness by combining housing social work with trauma work and broad social support.

I will compare my research on the life experiences of homeless women and their experiences of women-specific services from late 1980s to early 2010s with the two currently ongoing projects.

Presentation Abstract

McIvor, as plaintiff in the McIvor v. Canada case has successfully challenged the ongoing discrimination in the Indian Act which has forced the Federal Government to amend the Indian Act (the “McIvor” amendments). The “McIvor” Amendments added approximately 45,000 newly recognized Indians to the Indian Registry. McIvor has, as counsel, appeared in the Supreme Court of Canada on numerous occasions. She also takes her advocacy to the United Nations and Inter America Commission on Human Rights at an international level. Sharon is working on the Bill S-3 Indian Act amendment. This amendment purports to remove all gender discrimination in the Indian Act. The United Nation Human Rights Committee released its decision on the McIvor petition in January 2019. The Committee declared that Canada continued to discriminate against McIvor and her Son Jacob and ordered Canada to enact the outstanding sections of Bill S-3. On August 15, 2019 Canada enacted the final two sections on S-3. The removal of the discrimination from the Indian Act resulted in approximately 450 thousand Indian women and their descendants becoming eligible for Indian Status.

Dr. McIvor will speak about her ongoing work, which has forced the Federal Government to change laws, policies and practices. She will discuss the various avenues available to address inequities.

Presentation Abstract

On a macro-level, homelessness for indigenous people is historical in nature. Prior to European contact, the homeland of Indigenous people was all of the Americas. With the arrival of Europeans, Indigenous people were displaced and basically lost all their homeland; they were placed on 'reserves' by the government. This historic loss of homelands has had a devastating impact on the people which is still evident today. On a micro-level for families and individuals, Indigenous people also suffer from homelessness. Lack of housing on reserves is a major issue rooted in government legislation which prevents individual ownership. Those who are concerned with Indigenous homelessness can advocate and create awareness with the understanding of the homelessness experience of Indigenous people.

Presentation Abstract

Drawing on my experiences as an activist/researcher with the anti-poverty organizing of the Sudbury Coalition Against Poverty (S-CAP) I make visible the everyday work, research and knowledge production that was going on in organizing and in moments of conflict with ruling regimes. S-CAP was a major activist force organizing against poverty in Sudbury for more than twelve years. This presentation will cover what can be learned from these years of S-CAP organizing including from direct action support work with people living in poverty, housing and shelter struggles, defence of Special Diet and Community Start Up funding, and the struggle to get adequate funding and policies for the Community Homelessness Prevention Initiative (CHIPI). This provided a mapping of the social relations of struggle anti-poverty organizing was involved in. Central to this was work in solidarity with Indigenous struggles and against racism and colonialism.

Presentation Abstract

This presentation will examine neoliberalism as it pertains to the philosophical underpinnings of governmental policies that advocate for, promote, foster and advance the current inadequacy of social housing support within the Canadian context. Put simply, the rampant poverty and homelessness that has become epidemic within this wealthy country is the result of heartless governmental policies that place money before humanity. Finally, this presentation will examine what is meant by ‘reconciliation’, and solicit the audience as to whether ‘reconciliation’ is possible under the present neoliberal state.

Session Speakers

Speaker Profile

Dr. Carol Kauppi is the Director of the Centre for Research in Social Justice and Policy. She is also a professor in the School of Social Work at Laurentian University and she served as the MSW Program Coordinator for several years. Her teaching at the graduate level focused on research methods and she draws upon qualitative, quantitative and mixed methods approaches in research projects. Carol has been working in the area of homelessness and housing for 20 years.  From 2010 to 2016, she was the Director of a multi-year research project, Poverty, Homelessness and Migration, a Community-University Research Alliance funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada. Her research interests have focused on homelessness and housing in a vast area of northeastern Ontario including rural and remote communities in the James Bay lowlands, as well as urban communities in this region. Her research projects on homelessness have centred on issues for Indigenous, Francophone and Anglophone people of northeastern Ontario.  In 2017, she received the Partnership Award (an Impact Award) from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council. This award recognizes outstanding achievements involving a partnership approach to research. Carol was also the 2011 recipient of the Laurentian University Research Excellence Award.

Recognizing the magnitude of a crisis: rising homelessness among Indigenous people

Many Indigenous scholars, researchers and activists have expressed concerns about the underestimation of homelessness among Indigenous people. Others have stated that the documented rates of Indigenous homelessness constitute a crisis in Canada given the magnitude of overrepresentation in statistics on homelessness. This presentation describes the rates of homelessness of Indigenous and non-Indigenous people in three regions of northeastern Ontario: the City of Greater Sudbury, the Manitoulin-Sudbury District and the Cochrane District. In all three regions, the rates of Indigenous homelessness are substantially greater than their proportions in the general population. 
A challenge for researchers is that the dominant methods used to enumerate homelessness—Point-in-Time or PiT counts—underestimate the number of people living with homelessness. Substantial numbers of homeless people are under-represented or largely absent in current data about homelessness. Moreover, many people living with homelessness are invisible in the sense that their status as homeless people is not recognized as a form of homelessness. It is important to understand the various forms of homelessness, to recognize the methods required to include various subgroups of this population in enumeration studies and to utilize sound methods to guide research and policy-making. This presentation describes “Period Prevalence Counts” (PPC) used to study homelessness in rural and northern Ontario. The PPC method has been described in a manual prepared for the Government of Ontario (Kauppi, 2017) and was used in 15 communities in the spring of 2018. In Sudbury and Timmins, the PiT method was used, followed by PPC to allow for comparison of results. Analysis shows that the PiT method identified only 10 to 30 percent of the number of people in the PPC studies. This presentation contrasts the results for Indigenous and non-Indigenous participants and sheds light on the magnitude of Indigenous homelessness when using the PiT and PPC methods.  These results can inform discussions about the appropriate methods of enumerating homelessness and the implications for moving forward with reconciliation.


Speaker Profile

Dr. Henri Pallard is an Associate Director with Poverty, Homeless¬ness and Migration, Director of the International Centre for Inter¬disciplinary Research in Law, and Professor, Department of Law and Justice, Laurentian University, Sudbury (Ontario), Canada. For the last twenty years, he has worked extensively with an international team of researchers on the challenges facing the implementation of human rights, the rule of law and democracy in North Africa. Of particular concern is their relation with culture and how culture affects a society’s understanding of human freedom, constitutional government and free and fair elections. He is now using his expertise in cultural diversity and human rights with various projects on homelessness, such as relations between homeless people and police, and homelessness in First Nations. He is the recipient of the 2008 Laurentian University Research Award, and the 2010 Prix d’honneur Saint-Jean (Distinguished Alumni Award), University of Alberta.

Working towards Reconciliation between Franco-Ontarians and Indigenous people

Working towards reconciliation requires an awareness of the individual histories of the persons or groups whom we are seeking or reconcile as well as the history of their interactions and how they have defined themselves or their own group and how they have defined the other. Within each group are subgroups with their own histories and particularities and how they play out within their own larger group and the other. It is within such a context that we must examine how Francophones in Ontario and Indigenous people may work positively and constructively towards reconciliation.
Reconciliation between Franco-Ontarians and Indigenous people faces its own particular set of challenges. It requires an understanding of the particular pathways that these groups have travelled. An exploration of the Francophone experience is not meant to lessen understanding of the serious impacts of colonization for Indigenous people at the hands of the dominant culture. The attitude of Francophones to Indigenous people and the people who were born from their relationships is an important element that must be taken into account in their reconciliation. The French speaking culture must come to terms with its role in the creation of the Métis Nation, its conduct towards the Métis people in the following centuries, and its exclusion of the Métis people from French society.
Two issues to be addressed in working towards reconciliation are the Métis-Francophone relationship and education as a tool of cultural assimilation by the dominant Anglophone culture. Like Indigenous cultures, the Franco-Ontarian culture has also been the object of attempted cultural annihilation at the hands of the dominant/ruling Anglophone society through the education system. These experiences bear structural similarities and can be a focal point of a Francophone/Indigenous dialogue. Both cultures are suffering from attempted cultural assimilation by the Anglophone mainstream; they share a common challenge. Francophones should be natural allies to Indigenous people in their struggle to preserve their languages. TRC recommendations pertaining to Aboriginal languages including language rights, an Aboriginal Languages Act and an Aboriginal Languages Commissioner are demands that Franco-Ontarians should strongly support as they demanded the very same things from the Federal and Ontario governments. The ongoing challenges that Franco-Ontarians face despite their legal achievements may benefit Indigenous communities as “lessons learnt” as they move forward in seeking to have Indigenous linguistic rights recognised in law. This presentation will discuss the implications for addressing Indigenous homelessness. 

Speaker Profile

Phyllis Montgomery is a researcher and professor in the School of Nursing at Laurentian University. Her interests involve the well-being of persons living in challenging health and social circumstances.

Co-Presenter: Sharolyn Mossey, MScN

Sharolyn Mossey, RN, MScN is an Assistant Professor in the School of Nursing at Laurentian University. She is committed to partnering for the promotion of knowledge generation and mobilization. Using diverse approaches, her areas of interest include chronic health challenges and health equity.

Co-Presenter: William Morin

Will Morin is a multi-disciplined Indigenous Studies educator, accomplished award winning Anishinaabe artist and traditional storytelling, and a Cross Cultural consultant.  He is of Ojibway / Scottish / French Canadian ancestry, and a member of the Michipicoten First Nation.  Will lives and works in Northern Ontario with his wife Robin and their 4 children. He served as a Medical Assistant in the Canadian Forces during the first Gulf War before he obtained a B.F.A. from NSCAD in Halifax and a B.A. in Native Studies B. Ed (Aboriginal Teachers Certification Program) from Nipissing University and a Masters (M.A.) in Humanities from Laurentian University. Presently Will teaches Indigenous Studies at the University of Sudbury / Laurentian University.

Strategies for Addressing Barriers to Services for Indigenous And Non-Indigenous People Living with Chronic, Life-Limiting Illnesses and Variable Forms of Homelessness in North Eastern Ontario

According to recent provincial data, the estimated proportion of urban and rural Ontario residents that have experienced homeless is two percent or 227,000 persons aged 15 or over. It is difficult to quantify the number of homeless persons in North Eastern Ontario given that many of them are categorized as experiencing hidden homelessness.

Nevertheless, within some northern communities, Kauppi and colleagues (2017) report that fewer than 40 percent of homeless adults had access to health and social services despite their high burden of disparities. Among the disparities include services for chronic physical and life-limiting illness.

The aim of this qualitative presentation will be to share the insights about promoting service accessibility for adults who live with homelessness and chronic, life-limiting illnesses in North Eastern Ontario. Semi-structured interview data, collected from Indigenous and non- indigenous persons and service providers, will undergo narrative analysis.

Results are to elicit conversations about the importance of humanity in illness, a human right for the upholding of dignity and management of suffering through symptom management, and tailoring supportive services for those who are homeless.

Speaker Profile

Tanya Shute worked in front-line service delivery in shelters and drop-in centres for most of her social work career and was Chair of the York Region Alliance to End Homelessness for many years. Currently Tanya is an assistant professor with Laurentian University’s School of Social Work, is a registered social worker with an MSW and a PhD in Education.

Hidden in Plain Sight 2.0: Hidden Homelessness in the 905, a 10-Year Picture

Hidden in Plain Sight 2.0 (HIPS 2.0) is the second phase of photovoice-based project documenting the living circumstances of residents of York Region who identify as homeless. The first round took place in 2007-2009, and the current phase between 2017-2018, allowing for a 10-year perspective on living circumstances over a significant period. York Region (“the 905”) is a large area comprised of primarily suburban/rural mix with several small towns and It is also significantly under-served in terms of human and social services infrastructure. As such, the experience of suburban/small town/rural homeless in York Region is primarily hidden and largely unaddressed. This is a photovoice-based project. Adults and youth who self-identified as experiencing homelessness took pictures documenting their living circumstances in this suburban/rural landscape. Some provided journals detailing the content of their photographs, and some were interviewed in a group interview format. Emerging findings point to a significant increase in services for women and youth in the 905, yet many of the persistent challenges to housing tenure in the 905 remain stubbornly in place.

The well-known and largely unaddressed lack of housing affordability and rental housing in this area is forcing most people to live rough when shelter services are not available or their eligibility time has run out. Emergency services have increased, which provide some benefit such as greater safety and access to health care for example, however not much has changed in terms of housing security or residents’ hope for their future over 10 years, thus there has been no real change in the living circumstances of most people living homeless in York Region.

The policy and service delivery landscape changes will be discussed in light of participants’ experiences of hidden homelessness, and the increased visibility of homelessness in a lived and policy sense ten years after the initial project will be discussed.

Speaker Profile

Michael Hankard, PhD (Abenaki) is an Associate Professor of Indigenous Studies at the University of Sudbury in Ontario. For the past 17 years, he has lived on the Serpent River First Nation in northeastern Ontario.

He is the 1st Aboriginal graduate of Laurentian University’s Human Studies PhD program and created the University of Sudbury’s Indigenous Environmental Studies program. Mike has worked with First Nations Elders and communities in the U.S. and Canada for the past 25 years.

His background includes Indigenous traditional knowledge, the environment, poverty & homelessness, and health and wellness. His books include The Clean Place: Honouring Indigenous Spiritual Roots of Turtle Island (M. Hankard, ed., 2019), We Still Live Here: First Nations, Alberta Oil Sands and Surviving Globalism (co-editor with John Charlton, 2016) and Access, Clocks, Blocks and Stocks: Resisting Health Canada’s Management of Traditional Medicine (M. Hankard, 2015).

Colonizing, Housing and Hidden Homelessness in Northern Indigenous Communities

My presentation explores colonization through Canadian government assimilation policies constituted through its housing policies among Indigenous communities within northern Ontario. Normative idealizations of the domestic sphere, implemented through the development of housing in Indigenous communities of the north, reflect fundamental elements of the idealized Western vision of home and domestic space. The discovery doctrine and notion of terra nullis guide settler control and appropriation of land; supporting the assertion that they are legally justified in assuming full ownership of ‘discovered’ lands.

The creation and enforcement of artificial boundaries between and within traditional First Nations lands was justified through the enactment of laws and policies. To justify their actions, Europeans judged First Nations as inferior. Traditional Indigenous ways of living on the land were regarded as unsatisfactory.

The government required Indigenous people to change traditional nomadic lifestyles and adopt a sedentary way of life. Following treaty-making, houses and communities were designed and constructed to reinforce individualism and Western notions of the social world. Homes were established separate from schools, churches, other structures and public spaces.

The design of the typical single family, two- or three-bedroom home has undermined traditional Indigenous cultures in Canada that were based on inter-generational, multi-family dwellings in which land-based food production was integrated into community structures (e.g. for drying and smoking).

In the western James Bay of northern Ontario, ‘modern’ housing design has led to extreme over-crowding and a lack of appropriate structures for processing food from hunting and fishing. My presentation summarizes findings based on people’s experiences of housing on the James Bay indicating problematic aspects of housing design that fail to account for Indigenous conceptions of family/community and patterns in relation to land-based activities. These findings are discussed in relation to emerging definitions of hidden homelessness and TRC recommendations that raise questions about the social determinants of health model.

Speaker Profile

Kevin is an Associate Professor and Chair of Indigenous Studies at the University of Sudbury, Laurentian University where he special­izes in Canadian politics and Aboriginal peoples, Urban Aboriginal Studies, Aboriginal governance, and Indigenous Critical Theory. He is presently a Regional Co-Director for the SSHRC ‘Urban Abori­ginal Knowledge Network’ national research and a co-investigator with Poverty and Homelessness. As well, he was a Research Associate for the 2011 Toronto Aboriginal Research Project (TARP) and the 2007 Ontario Urban Aboriginal Task Force (UATF).

Co-Presenter: Angela Nahwegahbow

Angela Nahwegahbow is a member of the Whitefish River First Nation. While growing up she lived in a Native Housing unit in Espanola. As a tenant Angela gained an appreciation for the work that the NPSDC does by providing safe and affordable housing to First Nations people. While attending Laurentian University Angela was a volunteer Board Director of Native People of Sudbury Development Corporation from 2000 to 2005, serving in the positions of both Vice-President and Treasurer over that period of time. During that time she was also employed with the N'Swakamok Native Friendship Center in the CAP-C and U.M.A.Y.C programs. Angela has also worked with the Elizabeth Fry Society.

After attending Nippissing University to obtain her Bachelors of Education, Angela accepted employment at Peetabeck Academy on Fort Albany, a fly in community on the James Bay coast. There she worked and lived for 5 years teaching grade 2 and enjoying life in the Far North. Angela now serves as President for the Native People of Sudbury Development Corporation Board of Directors and works as a Social Worker at Shkagamik-Kwe Health Centre.

Devolution, Termination and Reconciliation: Indigenous Housing and Homelessness in Urban Centers    

With a view to understanding Indigenous housing and homelessness in urban centers within the broader context of reconciliation in Canada, this presentation explores trends in Indigenous urbanization, urban Indigenous rights, and governmental practices of devolution, termination and now partial re-engagement.   This current climate of ideas, policies, and practices are then applied to the Native People of Sudbury Development Corporation as it looks to adapt to the termination of federal operating agreements and the changing landscape of treaty relations in the city.

Speaker Profile

Suzanne Lemieux is the Manager of Research, Evaluation and Knowledge Exchange at Public Health Sudbury & Districts and Adjunct Professor at the School of Social Work. Suzanne completed her PHD in Human Studies at Laurentian University in 2013. Several years ago Suzanne heard a woman living with a mental illness who lived in substandard housing tell her story:  “My whole life, I was told I was failure and I wouldn’t amount to anything, and so this dive is all I deserve”. Because of stories like this one, Suzanne has focused her research activities on Participatory Action and solution-based Research that would ultimately amount to positive change for those whose health is significantly impacted by social determinants. In recent years she has managed and conducted research in collaboration with university and community partners in the areas of teen pregnancy, poverty, homelessness, housing need, Indigenous engagement and health equity.

Co-Presenter: Leah Migwans

Leah Migwans, RN BScN has been working in M’Chigeeng First Nation in Community Health for 22 years. She is a graduate of Lake Superior State University, where she earned her degree and also has a diploma from Sault College. M’Chigeeng Health Services’ vision is to “empower people to live healthy lifestyles through traditional and evidence based practices”. She enjoys living on Mnidoo Mnising (Manitoulin Island) with her family and friends.

Talking Together to Improve Health: M’Chigeeng First Nation and Public Health Sudbury & Districts

The purpose of this research was to identify mutually beneficial, respectful and effective principles and practices of engagement between First Nation communities and local public health agencies in northeastern Ontario. This was a four phased study comprised of a literature review, a survey of Ontario public health units, interviews with key stakeholders, and gathering and sharing learning with First Nation communities.  

Three First Nation communities participated in the gathering and sharing learning phase of this project. Through focus groups and interviews, community members and staff shared their experiences and perspectives on principles and practices that can promote effective engagement between First Nation communities and public health units. M’Chigeeng First Nation was one of the communities that participated in this phase. Participants wished to strengthen relationships and work with Public Health for the benefit of their community members and provided many ideas on how to move forward together in a mutually beneficial and respectful way. This presentation will highlight the principles and practices that were shared and reflect on how M’Chigeeng First Nation and Public Health Sudbury & Districts plan on moving forward together.

Speaker Profile

Dr. Rahat Naeem is the Vice President of Data Analysis and a GIS Analyst at Clickmox Solutions Inc. She is also a Sessional Instructor at Laurentian University, where she teaches undergraduate students in physical geography, GIS, and cartography. Rahat earned her PhD from Kinston University in the UK, where she studied homelessness and migration in Northern Ontario using GIS techniques. 

Using Fuzzy Cognitive Model to Analyze Data on Homelessness, Poverty and Migration

This paper discusses the use of Fuzzy Cognitive Mapping (FCM) method to perform sensitivity analysis on the homelessness, poverty and migration data gathered during the broader Poverty Homelessness and Migration (PHM) study. It is shown that FCM is a useful tool when performing multivariate analyses where there are interdependencies between different variables. The sensitivity analysis was needed to formulate the homelessness index. This index was created for five communities: Sudbury, Timmins, Hearst, Moosonee and Cochrane. It was found that there were substantial differences between the indices for these localities pointing towards spatial variations in dependence on homelessness on different variables. This suggests that a single province-wide policy to tackle this problem may not yield acceptable results and a better approach would be to devise policies on local levels after looking at the specific problems there.

Speaker Profile

Nawel Hamidi is a lawyer and doctoral candidate at the University of Essex in UK. She currently teaches at St. Paul University (Ottawa). Her research focuses on the legal and sociological impacts of colonization in colonial and postcolonial states and on obstacles to legal pluralism.

Real or Simulated Legal Pluralism? Innu Legal Traditions at the Margins of the Law

In her presentation, Nawel Hamidi will discuss the results of the last 5 years of ongoing research touching the interactions between Innu First Peoples' and the State's legal orders in Canada on issues affecting access to the land and resources. She will describe the nature of these interactions and limits to legal pluralism detected through the analysis of the jurisprudence, sectoral agreements, and land claim processes. She will discuss how foreseeing any real manifestation of legal pluralism between the Indigenous and the state legal orders is inseparable from the colonial and systematic invalidation of indigenous conceptions of law by the State itself today and constitutes an obstacle to truth and reconciliation. She will conclude by addressing how colonial legal mechanisms participate in the construct of marginalization and vulnerability of the indigenous holders of knowledge and analogically contribute to the erasure of Indigenous sovereignty.

Speaker Profile

Annie Boucher is a nurse-educator with a broad background in nursing practice in various settings. As a PhD candidate in rural and northern health, she completed a narrative inquiry study that addressed the complex research puzzle concerning the meaning of home, hidden homelessness, health, life challenges, and strengths of older Indigenous women, living in hidden homelessness, in a mid-northern urban setting. The sample was over-represented by First Nations and Métis women which led Annie to deepen her interest in and knowledge of colonialism, Indigenous knowledge and ceremonies. Such knowledge influenced the development of the guiding Indigenous Framework, strength and person-centered approach, and research as ceremonial practices. Annie has a keen interest in learning more about Indigenous culture, building collaborative relationships with Indigenous communities, and developing relationships with Indigenous peoples in working towards healing. 

Dreams Captured: Meanings of home and homelessness among five older Indigenous women living in a mid-northern urban setting

Little is known about the experience of older Indigenous women (ages 50+) living in hidden homelessness, in cities across Canada’s middle north. Guided by an Indigenous narrative research framework; this work documents the personal stories of home, homelessness, health, life challenges, and strengths among nine older women facing the challenges of hidden homelessness in the middle north. 
Five of the women are of First Nations and Métis descent and four Caucasian women self-identified as being English or French speaking. The findings pertaining to Indigenous women are distinct from the participants of non-Indigenous descent. This presentation focuses on meanings of home and being homeless among the five Indigenous women. The meanings conveyed through interviews are deeply embedded within past and present colonial practices creating their ongoing displacement and disconnectedness from family, communities, and the land.  Such displacement created a vicious cycle of cumulative and devastating loss of cultural and spiritual identity, displacement, and ongoing homelessness. 
These women are distrusting of government programs, national apologies, and reconciliation efforts. Despite their extreme poverty, they refused to participate in financial recognition for colonial genocide. Instead, they are keenly aware of their fury and make an effort to numb their memories in order to cope with challenging circumstances. They do not understand ‘reconciliation’ since they never had a relationship with their abusers to begin with. Efforts to establish the ‘truth’ concerning the realities of colonization and Indigenous homelessness must be honored by mandatory educational programs directed towards the general public. Distinct definitions of Indigenous homelessness must be based on Indigenous people’s descriptions and meanings of home and being homeless. Such definitions are needed to guide future research, policy development, and practices. Doing so may begin to build the trust required for developing understanding, trust, and respect for efforts to reconcile the harms of colonialism. 

Location and Rates

Travelodge by Wyndham 

Holiday Inn Sudbury

Travelway Inn Sudbury

1401 Paris St, Sudbury, ON P3E 3B6 (7 min drive)

1696 Regent St, Sudbury, ON P3E 3Z8 (9 min drive)

1200 Paris St, Sudbury, ON P3E 5V4 (6 min drive)

Rate: $108/night  (with code CGRECLAIM)

Rate: $139/night, mention ‘Reclaiming Home’ at booking

Rate: $121/night, mention ‘Reclaiming Home’ at booking

(705) 522-1100 

(705) 522-3000

1 800-461-4883