Indigenous Homelessness

Perspectives from Canada, Australia, and New Zealand

Evelyn Peters (Editor), Julia Christensen (Editor), Paul Andrew (Contributor), Tim Aubry (Contributor), Yale Belanger (Contributor), Cynthia Bird (Contributor), Christina Birdsall-Jones (Contributor), Marleny M. Bonnycastle (Contributor), Deidre Brown (Contributor), Rebecca Cherner (Contributor), Patricia Franks (Contributor), Susan Farrell (Contributor), Joshua Freistadt (Contributor), Charmaine Green (Contributor), Kelly Greenop (Contributor), Shiloh Groot (Contributor), Darrin Hodgetts (Contributor), Selena Kern (Contributor), Pita Richard Wiremu King (Contributor), Fran Klodawsky (Contributor), Gabrielle Lindstrom (Contributor), Paul Memmott (Contributor), Daphne Nash (Contributor), Julia Parrel (Contributor), Sarah Prout (Contributor), Mohi Rua (Contributor), Rebecca Schiff (Contributor), Annette Siddle (Contributor), Maureen Simpkins (Contributor), Barbara A. Smith (Contributor), Wilfreda E. Thurston (Contributor), Alina Turner (Contributor), David Turner (Contributor), Jeanette Waegemakers Schiff (Contributor), Tiniwai Chas Te Whetu (Contributor), Rob Willetts (Contributor)


Being homeless in one’s homeland is a colonial legacy for many Indigenous people in settler societies. The construction of Commonwealth nation-states from colonial settler societies depended on the dispossession of Indigenous peoples from their lands. The legacy of that dispossession and related attempts at assimilation that disrupted Indigenous practices, languages, and cultures—including patterns of housing and land use—can be seen today in the disproportionate number of Indigenous people affected by homelessness in both rural and urban settings.

Essays in this collection explore the meaning and scope of Indigenous homelessness in the Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. They argue that effective policy and support programs aimed at relieving Indigenous homelessness must be rooted in Indigenous conceptions of home, land, and kinship, and cannot ignore the context of systemic inequality, institutionalization, landlessness, among other things, that stem from a history of colonialism.

Indigenous Homelessness: Perspectives from Canada, New Zealand and Australia provides a comprehensive exploration of the Indigenous experience of homelessness. It testifies to ongoing cultural resilience and lays the groundwork for practices and policies designed to better address the conditions that lead to homelessness among Indigenous peoples.


“When authors discuss the concept of ‘home/journeying’ or the notion of a ‘place to stand’ or the concept of ‘rootlessness’, and the significance of the manaakitange, they are not only showing that they are ‘acquainted with the literature on the subject’ but more importantly that they are acquainted with and respectful of the ways of Indigenous Peoples.”

Robert Robson, Professor, Department of Indigenous Learning, Lakehead University

Indigenous Homelessness is a timely, important work which considers in detail a diverse range of Indigenous perspectives, illustrative of the scale and scope of contemporary Indigenous homelessness in order to address the prevailing 'apathy and even passive acceptance' that currently surrounds this phenomenon.”

Anna Kemball, Transmotion

About the Authors

Evelyn Peters is an urban social geographer whose research has focused on First Nations and Métis people in cities. She taught in the Universityof Winnipeg’s Department of Urban and Inner-City Studies, where she held a Canada Research Chair in Inner-City Issues, Community Learning, and Engagement.

Julia Christensen is a social, cultural, and health geographer, and works primarily with northern Indigenous communities in Canada and Greenland.

Table of Contents

Part 1: Canada
Ch. 1. Indigenous homelessness: Canadian context
Ch. 2. “They don’t let us look after each other like we used to”: Reframing Indigenous homeless geographies as home/journeying in the Northwest Territories, Canada
Ch. 3. The importance of hidden homelessness in the housing strategies of urban First Nations
Ch. 4. No dumping: Indigenousness and the racialized police transport of the urban homeless
Ch. 5. Indigenous and non-Indigenous respondents to the Health and Housing in Transition
Ch. 6. The inclusion of Aboriginal voice in co-constructing “home”: Aboriginal homelessness in a Northern semi-urban community in Manitoba
Ch. 7. Community engaged scholarship: A path to new solutions for old problems in Aboriginal homelessness
Ch. 8. “All we need is our land”: Exploring southern Alberta urban Aboriginal homelessness
Ch. 9. Rural Aboriginal homelessness in Canada
Part 2: Australia
Ch. 10. Indigenous homelessness: Australian context
Ch. 11. Aboriginal fringe dwelling in Geraldton, Western Australia: A colonial legacy
Ch. 12. Looking through the service lens: Case studies in Indigenous homelessness in two regional Australian towns
Ch. 13. “We are good-hearted people, we like to share”: definitional dilemmas of crowding and homelessness in urban Indigenous Australia
Ch. 14. Enforcing “normality”: A case study of the role of the “three-strikes” housing policy model in Australian Aboriginal homelessness
Part 3: New Zealand
Ch. 15. Indigenous homelessness: New Zealand context
Ch. 16. Tūrangawaewae Kore: Nowhere to stand
Ch. 17. Emplaced cultural practices through which homeless men can be Māori