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The Importance of Cultural and Collective Meaning in Homelessness Solutions

In Canada, there is a disproportionate number of Indigenous people in the homeless population. A study done in 2014 by the Canadian Observatory on Homelessness found that "Indigenous people are over-represented among Canada’s homeless population. In some cities, they comprise as much as 60% of the homeless population, despite making up only 5% of the total population." This is an issue that must be addressed with sensitivity and an understanding of the role that cultural and collective meaning plays in mental wellness and healing. Only by including Indigenous voices in the decision-making process will we be able to find lasting solutions to the issue of homelessness.


Cultural Respect and Ceremony in Mental Wealthness and Healing

It is important to recognize that for many Indigenous people, culture is key to mental wealthness and healing. Cultural ceremonies help to connect individuals with their ancestors and their community. These ceremonies often involve traditional singing, drumming, and dancing. They give people a sense of belonging and help to instill pride in their culture.


Cultural respect also involves having a deep understanding and awareness of the impact that colonization has had on Indigenous peoples. It is important to acknowledge the intergenerational trauma that has been caused by Residential Schools, the Sixties Scoop, and other government policies that have severed the connection between Indigenous peoples and their culture. Only by understanding this history can we begin to address the issues that have led to such a high rate of homelessness among Indigenous people.


The Government Needs to Listen

It is clear that the current approaches to solving homelessness are not working for Indigenous peoples. The government needs to listen to those who are directly affected by this issue and include them in the decision-making process. Only by working together will we be able to find solutions that are culturally appropriate and respectful.


Homelessness is a complex issue with no easy answers. However, it is clear that we need to do more to address the disproportionate number of Indigenous people who are affected by this issue. We must create solutions that are respectful of cultural beliefs and traditions. Only by including Indigenous voices in the decision-making process will we be able to find lasting solutions to the problem of homelessness.