The Dene, a traditionally nomadic people, have no word for homelessness, a rare condition in the Canadian North prior to the 1990s. Julia Christensen documents the rise of Indigenous homelessness and proposes solutions by interweaving analysis of the region’s unique history with personal narratives of homeless men and women in two cities – Yellowknife and Inuvik. What emerges is a larger story of displacement and intergenerational trauma, hope and renewal. Understanding what it means to be homeless in the North and how Indigenous people think about home and homemaking is the first step, Christensen argues, on the path to decolonizing existing approaches and practices.
Julia Christensen is an assistant professor of geography and planning at Roskilde University in Denmark and a research fellow at the Institute for Circumpolar Health Research in Yellowknife. She is the co-editor of Indigenous Homelessness: Perspectives from Canada, Australia, and New Zealand and the 2012 winner of the Starkey-Robinson Award for Best Dissertation in Canadian Geography.
No Home in a Homeland represents a significant, unique, and timely contribution to the literature on homelessness experienced by Indigenous people in the Canadian North.
Within the stories [included in the book] lie accounts of home seeking that paint an important picture of agency, Indigenous home, and the ways that many Indigenous lives are unrecognized and unsupported through dominant social policy approaches. A key strength of the book is that it challenges southern, urban, and non-Indigenous peoples to face what Christensen terms “the discomfort of positionality,” and to not turn away from the spiritual homelessness of Dene people… Summing Up: Recommended.