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Urban Nomads : Inuit living in Montreal

The overrepresentation of Inuit and Indigenous people experiencing homelessness in certain urban centers in Quebec and Canada is the result of multiple collective realities and personal trajectories. Indeed, the growing presence of "urban Indigenous" is a form of nomadism whose spatial dimensions imply new territories, dynamics or identities. While issues of poverty, mental health, discrimination and insecurity seem to be well documented in the context of homelessness or migration, those related to space and planning are less so. According to some authors, the city can represent, for the Aboriginal people who live in it, a space of claim, even of identity affirmation (Cornellier 2013).

« Unlike the common colonialist definition of homelessness, Indigenous homelessness is not defined as lacking a structure of habitation; rather, it is more fully described and understood through a composite lens of Indigenous worldview. These include : individuals, families and communities isolated from their relationships to land, water, place, family, kin, each other, animals, cultures, languages and identities. Importantly, Indigenous people experiencing these kinds of homelessness cannot culturally, spiritually, emotionally or physically reconnect with their Indigeneity or lost relationships. » (Seltz and Roussopoulos, 2020)

During the winter 2022 session, 3 groups of 2 students in Urban Design program at Université Laval had to reflect on the issues of Indigenous homelessness in different urban contexts, adopting a receptive and reflective attitude, while proposing sensitive and lucid courses of action challenging culturally adapted planning. Three themes were explored : mobility and networks, frequented areas and uses, and housing and support spaces.

1. Mobility and home: A travel guide for urban Indigenous community

(Alalam, V. & Corrivault-Gascon, A.)

2. From threshold to path : Feeling safe in public places

(Harvey, N. & Pomerleau, F.)

3. Towards an inclusive home: Transitional and reintegration housing

(Guimont, C. & Lévesque, R.)

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