Real Life Scenario

As you learn about Indigenous homelessness and the complex ways in which it is experienced, we encourage you to begin with this real life composite scenario. Take a moment here to pause and consider this person‚Äôs experience. 


Joseph is a 64-year-old Cree male who is a sixties scoop survivor. He was taken from his family in Saskatchewan and adopted by a white family in the United States at the age of 6.‚ÄĮ He has some memories of his birth family, but they are incomplete and have haunted him for years. He‚ÄĮhas felt‚ÄĮhe never fit in with his adoptive family, always feeling apart. When he was 50 years‚ÄĮold,‚ÄĮhe began a search for his birth family. This led him to his on-Reserve family in Saskatchewan. Joseph spent time in the community but did not feel accepted. Again,‚ÄĮhe felt‚ÄĮlike an outsider. Years of pain and social isolation have led to substance use issues and eventually homelessness. He‚ÄĮnow‚ÄĮlives rough in the woods just outside a medium-sized city. He hitchhikes into town for food. He has begun to feel a sense of community with the folks he knows on the street in the nearby town, which has led to a small decrease in his social isolation.‚ÄĮ 

Reflection Questions

With this scenario fresh in your mind, consider these reflection questions. You may wish to record your answers before moving on to the next section. We will return to the scenario again at the end of the chapter. 

Reflection Questions

  • What is the impact of generational trauma?
  • What is unique about the experience of homelessness for Indigenous folks?
  • What might person-centred care look like for Joseph?
  • What feelings do you experience when you read this scenario?



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Understanding Homelessness in Canada Copyright © 2022 by Kristy Buccieri, James Davy, Cyndi Gilmer, and Nicole Whitmore is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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