Ottawa is located on unceded Algonquin, Anishnabek territory. Put simply, these lands were stolen from the traditional keepers for the purposes of settlers. Dispossession of land is just one form of ongoing colonization that has led to First Nations, Inuit, and Métis people disproportionately experiencing homelessness. Research shows that Indigenous Peoples account for 20-50% of the total homeless population in cities like Ottawa.
We are grateful for the work of Indigenous scholar Jesse Thistle in defining homelessness as experienced by First Nations, Inuit, and Métis people. The 12 dimensions of Indigenous homelessness make clear the connection between historical and ongoing colonization and the over-representation of Indigenous people in homelessness.
To truly have an impact on homelessness in our community, we must lead with this knowledge. Embracing Indigenous leadership and collaboration is crucial to ensuring the prevention, reduction, and ultimate end of homelessness. We support the call for a fully-funded Indigenous Housing Strategy with an Indigenous-led governance structure.
This acknowledgment is a reminder of the responsibility we have to Indigenous Peoples and a commitment to reconciliation.