We must acknowledge the experience of Indigenous people in Canada if we are to truly end youth homelessness, particularly in light of their consistent overrepresentation in vulnerable populations. Indigenous homelessness is notably different; the structural and systemic determinants associated with colonialism, the Indian Act, treaty making, residential schools and the Sixties Scoop have resulted in considerable discriminatory impacts that are in fact intergenerational (Plan to End Aboriginal Homelessness in Calgary, p. 1).
It is further important to highlight that being homeless can be experienced from diverse perspectives: cultural, spiritual or emotional. It is more than a loss of housing. The impact of colonization, residential schooling, intergenerational trauma, ongoing discrimination and racism in Canadian society has contributed to the ongoing systematic marginalization of Indigenous people, including Indigenous youth (Calgary’s Updated Plan to End Homelessness, p. 23).
Recognizing these critical issues, A Way Home is working to complement this toolkit with a more robust Indigenous module, which includes resources specific to Indigenous youth homelessness.