Essays on Indigenous Social Work Methodologies
University of Affiliation
Imperialism is a policy of forcefully extending a nation or community authority by territorial gain or establishing economic and political dominance over other countries or communities. i.e., imperialism is the infliction of the economic and political power of various cultural aspects such as moral and social norms, language, religion, traditions to a non-dominant community. Imperialism is cultural because the imposing community’s culture is different but closely related to the imposing community’s political and economic system (Bakkera 2017). The aspect of forcefully extending authority to another non-dominant community focuses on converting the non-dominant community’s culture. Cultural imperialism is key to indigenous social work researchers in that it provides the researchers with an insight into the beginning to the end of imperialism. An indigenous research approach to social work focuses on the holistic nature, foundational value, and importance of acknowledging imperialism’s impact on non-dominant communities.
Historical injustices refer to the past morally wrong deeds or harm that individuals, institutions committed, and groups, e.g., regime elites and rulers against other groups or individuals who may be dead at this point but their descendants are still alive. The progenies can be individuals or groups that deserve appreciation for their sorrow (Krieger, 2020). The concept of historical injustices voices the society’s distortion of the everyday living of other people. In trying to explain the role of historical injustices, it is best to understand the injustices and the extent to which they impacted other people’s lives. Indigenous social workers are of great importance since they have the correct information regarding the historical injustices to help address how to counter the injustices. Historical injustices are relevant to the indigenous social workers and the researcher in that they use the past information regarding the injustices to find a solution to such injustices.
Indigenous refers to people living or have lived in a non-state society for the past several centuries. These indigenous people had a solid link to surrounding natural resources and territories, a different political, social, and economic system from the current generation, a separate culture, belief and language, they from the non-dominant group of the society, historical continuity with the pre-colonial and the pre- settler society (Short, 2017). Indigenous people are much more relevant to both researchers and indigenous social workers because they provide the primary information from the early existence of some phenomenon that can explain current human life and current occurrences.
Traditional knowledge has adopted several meanings, and therefore, traditional knowledge is; the actual knowledge that is traceable to a particular group of people called conventional. The collective characteristics of a traditional acquaintance define a specific group of people. Traditional knowledge refers to that acquaintance’s intergenerational nature, the spoken nature of that knowledge, and the verbal narration of that knowledge (Johnson et al., 2015). Traditional knowledge is vital to the indigenous social workers and researchers because the indigenous knowledge is the first-hand information that the researcher needs to help them understand why a particular occurrence is happening and predict if such activities will reoccur again in the future.
Fragmentation is the separation of the developed connection between a group of people with a mutually shared interest; the reference ranges from language, income, religion, occupation, race, and culture. i.e., in a sociological perspective, fragmentation is summarised as the separation of societal bonds that connected and put up the society together; the societal bonds are well-thought-out to be; social norms, believes, and myths (Silva, 2016). Researchers consider cultural fragmentation very important as this aspect tends to explain the difference between the traditional way of life and the current way of life. Fragmentation explains the roles of ties that kept the society together and strong and what brought to the separation of such bonds.
A Social Work Perspective on Indigenous Knowledge, Anticolonial Thoughts and Thoughtful Teaching: Thoughts on Decolonization and Resistance
The main reason for my choice of this topic is to explain and advise for a swift move of social work curriculum from the standardizing system to a more inclusive system of traditional knowledge and the anticolonial and a thoughtful framework in a prescriptive social work context. The educational system’s shift is essential since imperialists, colonialists, ideologists are entrenched in numerous social sciences disciplines in which social work form’s part (Steinman, 2016). Traditional knowledge in social work education can immensely benefit learners because of its theoretical framework in nature instead of modern social work curricula that will continue erasing and denying the experience of traditional knowledge and its diverse perspective on community.
A holistic social work education, training, and research are realistically achievable by integrating the indigenous, anticolonial and thoughtful social work education into the current social work pedagogy. Holistic social work education is feasible because social work’s core values are synchronized with the theoretical framework (Harvey and Russell-Mundine, 2018). Without this integration, social work education, practices, and research may, and research may not achieve its set goals by society. The inclusion of traditional knowledge in the current curricula is based on the idea that the indigenous knowledge will bring a different perspective of viewing things in social work that can inform us on better ways of how we can relate to nature and one another (Sabzalian, 2019).
Indigenous, anticolonial, and contemplative theoretical frameworks are the best approaches that can be used to explain how social work research and practices are compatible with the current social work education. Anticolonial, indigenous, and contemplative frameworks complement one another, making it easier to understand and predict.
This framework offers an in-depth understanding of how extreme the colonialists and imperialist affected and continue to affect knowledge production, identity, and representation that place substantial weight on resistance through individual and collective agencies.
The contemplative framework offers a complete approach to knowing and learning, including voice and mental, spiritual, and passionate ways of knowing and understanding. This framework explains the human capacity to understand through silence, looking inwards, pondering, witnessing, and behold.
The indigenous framework is dynamic and instigated from the embodied experiences of the colonized, and the primary purpose is focused on resisting imperialism and colonialism spiritually, physically, and mentally.
Fair value for all individuals. The inclusion of indigenous knowledge in social work ensures social justice to all human beings and earth and its inhabitants. For social work to remain inclusive and responsive to their practice, education, and research, the inclusion of indigenous knowledge is overbearing to avoid. Moreover, a dominant understanding depicts an indigenous as an arch, static which can respond humanly to modern human challenges.
Inclusion of indigenous knowledge into social work practices and research is critical in an attempt by social workers to achieve the core objective of social work at large. Therefore, social work and study should intensely depend on indigenous knowledge as their primary source of data.
Social Determinant and the Health of Indigenous People in Australia
Over the years, the Australian government has been faced with an incredible challenge of improving the australis indigenous people’s health status; the existing gap between the non-indigenous and indigenous groups is vast, as admitted by the government. According to the proponents of the social determinant theory, inequality in population health is determined by several social factors that are intertwined. The most vital determinant factor of indigenous health inequality in Australia is the lack of equal access to primary health care and lower health infrastructure standards among the indigenous communities than non-indigenous communities(Griffiths et al., 2016).
Below are some of the issues to why the researcher focused on indigenous people’s health; there is inequality towards the indigenous people to be healthy like non-indigenous Australians. Indigenous Australians ‘ socioeconomic disadvantage puts them at a high risk of exposure to behavioral and environmental health risk, as does the higher proportion who live in places of high-risk factors and good health (Steinman, 2016). There have been limited to no gesturers of reducing this inequality gap between the indigenous and the non-indigenous people. Discrimination has been linked with the inequality in the provision of health services faced by indigenous Australians (Ghebreyesus, 2018).
The above issues are very critical to the existence of all human beings. Therefore, if the government fails to provide such an essential service to its people, then the gap between the rich and poor begin to widen. Health service, in general, is critical to the indigenous Australians as they also want to enjoy a healthy and bring forth children to a healthy life like the non-indigenous group of Australia.
The researcher’s explanation for the basis of this research is to try and find out the reasons behind the government mistreatment of the indigenous people at the expense of the non-indigenous group. The other reason is that the researcher wanted to prove the underlying reasons behind the government neglect of the indigenous people, i.e., (Griffiths et al., 2016), the link between health status and socioeconomic status, and the connection between perception of control and chronic stress.
After a significant consideration of what the indigenous people were going through in their own country with a government they elected but fail to address and deal with their problems, it becomes pretty sickening. The indigenous group, and for a solution to be found, in-depth research has to be done to portray a clear picture of the situation. This assumption resulted in adopting “social determinants and indigenous people’s health in Australia” as the researcher’s topic for a research project.
Indigenous people are not a disadvantaged group in society; the problems of poverty and inequality that they are experiencing are a contemporary reflection of what they have been through historically. Subsequently, the mistreatment they share health-wise results from systematic discrimination (Waterworth et al., 2015). The health problem the indigenous people go through results from the reflection of colonization’s impact, i.e., the indigenous people speak about how they can get their rights back. In contrast, the government says of poverty among the indigenous group.
This research is fundamental to the indigenous group as it focuses on the well-being of the traditional group, which is usually the minority group of the community. This research was based mainly on the partnership approach; this approach is primarily consistent with the social workers and the researchers (Hefler et al., 2019). It involves getting traditional knowledge from the indigenous group who has first-hand information.
The partnership approach is the most recommended approach to research worldwide. The indigenous social workers and researchers see the study’s holistic nature as they bond well with the indigenous people. The partnership approach provides the researchers with hamble time during research because research is conducted close to the community.
Rwanda Genocide (1994).
Cultural tension is not something new to the world. Rwanda primarily has three tribes, the Hutus, the majority, Tutsi, and the Twa, forming the minority group of the country. Rwanda has faced tension and disagreement between the Hutu and the Tutsi, and these tensions and discord have grown exponentially since the colonial period (Mamdani, 2020). It is fuelled by the animosity between the Hutus and the Tutsi. However, by physical appearance, the Tutsi are often taller and thinner than the Hutus. Their appearance is associated with Ethiopia’s origin, which explains why the Tutsi were thrown into the river with their killers claiming that they were being sent back to Ethiopia.
When the identity card production started by the arrival of the Belgian colonist, the identity card was given to people by the colonialist according to respective ethnicity (Anderson, 2017). The colonist always views the Tutsi to be more superior to the Hutus. With this assumption of the Tutsi’s superiority, they enjoyed more than the Hutus great jobs and education for the better part of 20 years since Rwanda’s colonization. The Hutus’ displeasure relating to the assumption of superiority by the Tutsi grew day by day in 1959, which later resulted in the deaths of more than 20000 Tutsis and many more fleeing to neighboring countries like Tanzania, Uganda, and Burundi (Meierhenrich, 2020).
When Rwanda got independence in 1962, then the Belgians left relinquishing power to Rwanda’s people; the Hutus reclaimed their position as the most superior ethnic community amongst the Tutsi and the Twa. However, over the years, the Tutsi were depicted as the leakage for every crisis that arose in the aftermath.
It was in 1994 when the Rwandan Genocide happened, and it occurred between the 7th of April and the 15th of July during the Rwandan Civil War. The immediate course of the war that resulted in the Genocide was on the 6th of April 1994 when a plane carrying Burundi’s president (Cyprien Ntaryamira) and Rwanda’s president (Habyarimana) was shot down over the capital city of Kigali, Rwanda killing everyone on board (Meierhenrich, 2020). Shortly after the plane crash Rwandan Armed forces, the Presidential Guard, and members of the Hutu local militia group started killing members of the Tutsis and some members of the Hutu with impunity.
The killing spread quickly from the town of Kigali to other parts of Rwanda, with government-sponsored radio stations ordering ordinary citizens to start killing their neighbors. The killers were rewarded with drugs, money, drinks, and food (Rothbart, 2016). During the civil war, the minority group (Tutsi) and a handful of the Hutu ethnic group members were overwhelmed killed by a group of armed militias who managed to slaughter approximately over 800000 and approximately between 500000 to 600000 members of the Tutsi community.
The most defenseless in the society, i.e., children, people with disabilities, and women, were violated during this Rwandan civil war; these violations were a result of the destruction of all norms and taboos that protected and preserved human life(Van Haperen, 2017). The killers used various household tools such as knives and machetes, people who went to church to seek sanctuary were burned alive in those churches ((Rothbart, 2016). Some people were thrown into the toilets alive by the killers; the killers stripped and raped the women in Infront of their families and forcefully marched them to their deaths.
The Rwandan Genocide spread across the world, and almost everybody knows what happened in Rwanda. However, the question remains what happened that no other country came to the rescue of the ordinary Rwandan citizens? The Genocide left massive psychological and mental problems as various families lost their loved ones to the war (Anderson, 2017); some fled to neighboring countries like Burundi, Tanzania, and some even flew to then Zaire, or some were killed.
The Genocide phenomenon that occurred in Rwanda is significant to me as a student, as I intend to inquire about the recovery process of the Rwandan citizens after the end of the Genocide. I plan to know how the government managed to bring back peace amongst Rwanda’s people after a devastating event that left the country divided from the communal level to the country’s top leadership.
Sociologically a community is held up with communal bonds, i.e., social norms, taboos, etc., to protect and preserve human life (Reydams, 2016). Nonetheless, what happened that led to the Genocide clearly indicates that these societal norms lacked purpose to the communities (Hutu and Tutsi), leading to the fragmentation of the standards. Therefore, there should be a conclusive explanation of what caused the fragmentation of the norms and a clear plan on how to amend the models to prevent future wars.
Research on Rwandan Genocide.
Rwandan Genocide is a massive topic to research. Therefore, in my case, I would sort to do specific research on; “The Significance of Indigenous Knowledge in Social Work Response to Collective Recovery.” This topic is based on my explanation of why this social issue is significant to me; the main idea behind my chosen topic is finding out how Rwanda’s people are managing their deference after that heartening occurrence that left many citizens dead. Subsequently, the subject would also aim to revitalize how the community can resolve social-economic deference and rebuild social relations. I would choose to use a partnership approach as my indigenous methodology in collecting data. The partnership approach methodology is the most suitable to use in this kind of research. It allows the participation of the minority in the community to participate in the study because they got the traditional knowledge about the Genocide (Sjölander-Lindqvist et al., 2015).
The partnership approach is relevant to social work and practices because it calls for social workers to refrain from identifying social work as an expert uniqueness and view social work as calling based on Rwandan philosophy morals that are based on the philosophy of holistic theory.
The social work curriculum that is used in Rwanda is based on borrowed knowledge from developed countries such as the USA, Europe, etc. these borrowed books are not in any way relevant to the African context, especially the Rwandan context. The context ensures that the trained social workers get well incorporated into the communities having the Rwandan context on how to handle the Rwandan sociocultural aspects. It is recommended that the Rwandan authorities should come up with a curriculum that is locally defined and moderated that teaches learners in the context of their societies.
As discussed above, severe fragmentation of social bonds occurred at the national and communal levels, village level, and family level. The fragmentation of these societal bonds is seriously emotional, given the country depends on these bonds during saddening times. Rwandans need psychological support, community facilitators, social affairs counselors, coordinators (Silva, 2016), etc. These people should be treasured members of society, and the government should take necessary steps to ensure that these persons are well trained to help reconstruct the broken bonds.
In conclusion, there is a great need to grow and support the traditional knowledge that contributes to social work practices. In a unique context such as civil war, there is a need to expand the local practices’ capabilities that endorse collective recovery after a devastating time (Silva, 2016), such as after the Genocide. Sharing ideas has been made possible for social workers by developing international knowledge exchange. The social workers can exchange ideas based on approaches to developing knowledge and practices related to various social issues. However, many African countries are still trying to come to terms with the production of necessary and relevant materials/ knowledge that is contextualized based on their traditional practices (Canda, 2019). To all countries, especially in Africa who are experiencing historical violence, to deal with the historical violence, there is a need for a better understanding of the traditional knowledge and culture that support recovery.
Root Couse of Indigenous Homelessness in Sioux Lookout, Ontario
About Sider, Debra
Sider Debra is a Canadian author who has written about many sociological aspects, including Root Couse of Indigenous Homelessness in Sioux Lookout, Ontario.
Indigenous people who live in Canada make up 4% of the total population. However, out of Canada’s total population who are homeless, 10% of the homeless people are indigenous people (Firestone et al., 2015). On the streets of Sioux, lookout homelessness is visible everywhere as people come together to socialize and share some alcohol (Slegers and Brennan, 2019); on the streets, the homeless are always referred to as problems, drunken Indians, and lazy people.
In 2000, the Front Street Improvement Committee came up with a strategy to address social and environmental issues, including homelessness (Bocking et al., 2017). The proposed solutions included removing the homeless from Sioux Lookout streets by either taking them back to their respective communities or permanently removing the liquor store.
However, these proposals will not take away the reality of the need to educate the community on the causes of homelessness, mainly on the Couse of indigenous homelessness (Main et al., 2019). Among the homeless in the Sioux lookout, their overrepresentation by the indigenous group can indicate indigenous people’s general nature across Canada.
Sioux Lookout operates a shelter “out of the cold,” from the out “of the cold” shelter statistics show that some people can stay at the top for more than four nights. However, there was a lack of funds at some point, and the cover had to be close for a period of seven nights a week; some people ended up sleeping on the streets and with friends (Russell et al., 2019).
Homelessness. It can be divided into;
Situational homelessness refers to those who end up in the streets because of an acute life crisis, eviction, divorce, release from jail, family violence, and some examples of someone who may end up on the streets without shelter. Individuals under situational homelessness have nowhere to go, but at some point, they will take residence in other communities (Fast et al., 2019).
Episodic homelessness refers to those who visit a place for family services, appointments, and medical services. However, these individuals may choose to extend their stay at the visit location someday and then go back home.
Chronic homelessness, these are people who have nowhere to go, no exact place to live. They live in abandoned cars, abandoned buildings, in the bushes, tents, and makeshift shelters (Mackie, 2015).
The purpose of this research paper was to produce an understanding of the primary root cause of indigenous homelessness to come up with suitable effective strategies and programs to address the increasing number of homeless indigenous Canadians. Subsequently, the researcher wanted to address racism he believes to be the fuelling factor that resulted in homelessness by the aboriginals. The language used in this paper is very cautious, reflecting its social and historical context (Rodrigue, 2016). The use of careful language is significant, especially when the policymakers, politicians, and program developers implement any social policy and programs projected to professionally and adequately encounter rising numbers of homelessness among the indigenous people.
After consideration of the high level of homelessness, the researcher came up with the possible risk factors that can explain the reasons behind homelessness among the aboriginal; there is a lack of affordable housing for the less fortunate, high level of poverty and low-income rate, high rise in the number of people with mental health issues, substance abuse, addiction, and domestic violence, discrimination and prejudice among the indigenous group, the negative outcome of the residential school system that affect the children then they end up on the streets (Waldbrook, 2015). These factors have shown in great length that they can affect the daily life of any person in Canada, however among the indigenous people, these factors affect them at a great distance because they are the minority in the society, and at the same time, they are labeled by the government for being poor.
Through the traditional knowledge and reviews of the indigenous people’s literature, the researcher wanted to position the indigenous homelessness within a context of historical and social processes that lead to the homelessness of the aboriginals. The researcher outlined that the key to moving forward in this kind of crisis is convictions of grassroots initiatives which have proven to be more effective models for development.
Historical research understands the culture, political, and colonial-era of a particular context of interest. Historical research is mainly concerned with gathering evidence of the past, evaluating that proof within the temporal scope of time under study, and access how that evidence contributes to our understanding of that time (Nichols et al., 2017). The researcher conducted several interviews with the elders who understood the indigenous history during the colonial period, legacies left by the residential school, and the federal government’s policies (Segaer and Bauer, 2015). The interview with the elders revealed how the combination of economic, political, and social conditions played a vital role in the homelessness situation in Sioux Lookout.
This methodology is relevant to indigenous social work and research because the researchers and social workers hear and understand from the elders who possess the indigenous knowledge on how injustice unfolded and cost them their lives to date.
After a lengthy procedure of conducting the research, the researcher came up with possible findings that are resulting in indigenous people ending up on the streets and the including childhood sexual violence, people with violence and abuse background, people with mental health issues, addiction from abuse of various drugs, shortage of affordable housing, people released from jail with no home—despair and hopelessness among the aboriginal, language suppression, and migration,( (Firestone et al., 2015), etc.
Emergency services, the researcher recommended that relevant authorities and concerned individuals and groups should construct an emergency building that can house people as an emergency shelter, drop-in center. People with more than enough or are willing to support should do so by bringing food, a soup kitchen, a transitional support program, and clothing.
Structural intake. After the emergency service center’s contraction, the management must ensure that there is a strict structural intake that applies to all who are housed at the emergency center. The administration must clearly outline all the client responsibilities to all participating in any workshop available in the future.
Clients help establish sustainable projects; the researcher proposed developing client services to help out the emergence center administration. The client services will help ensure self-esteem.
The researcher proposed establishing an accurate data canter at the emergency center and transitional support program in-house workshops, safety measures, support program, and a land-based healing program.
In conclusion, it is essential to note that the project examined two levels of hypothesis, i.e., indigenous homelessness in Sioux Lookout as a legacy of the residential system and indigenous homelessness as an impact relating to the indigenous people being displaced from their homes (Turner et al., 2017). The elder’s interview showed clearly that the survivors of the “lost soul” end up on the streets because they turn to alcohol to help them manage the pain from past abuses; most people on the road of the Sioux Lookout is as result of both social, economic, and political inequalities from the past (Barken et al., 2015). In case the policymakers are serious about bringing changes to the society like Sioux Lookout, policymakers need to understand the need to address the historical and the structural factors that lead to homelessness in the first place(Kidd et al., 2019). The writer agrees with Thatcher on “is indigenous homelessness a legacy of the residential school system,” indicating that who cautioned against entirely blaming the residential schools for depressed social-economic conditions, including indigenous homelessness.
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