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Title: Trauma and homelessness among Indigenous people in northern Ontario: a narrative study
Authors: Douglas, Bridget
Keywords: trauma;homelessness;decolonization;Indigenous people;northern Ontario
Issue Date: 6-Apr-2018
Abstract: Homelessness has been rising over the last 20 years. The literature outlines the need for further study of the experiences of trauma among Indigenous people who experience homelessness. Social work research and front-line practice underscore the significance of trauma as a contributing factor leading to homelessness. This thesis examines the narratives of an Indigenous man (Fred) and an Indigenous woman (Kim) who have experienced similar life events, despite their origins in geographically dispersed communities—a remote northern Cree First Nation and an urban centre in western Canada. The main themes emerging from an examination of their narratives reveal common sets of experiences linked to Indigenous heritage. Results of narrative analyses of their life stories show that both Kim and Fred experienced early childhood trauma leading to parallel experiences of symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Kim and Fred both identified disconnection from their culture, oppression, early childhood trauma, seeking safety, substance misuse, marginalization and homelessness in their lives. These experiences were compounded by seemingly cumulative effects, leading to a cycle of repeating adverse experiences. The results of this study indicate that social workers should focus on education in rural communities to offer more strategies to prevent early childhood and ongoing trauma in adulthood. The results also revealed a need for social workers to develop specialized training in substance misuse treatment that targets the reduction of and recovery from trauma symptoms. The study also uncovered the need for more strategies for decolonization practices and solutions to overcrowding in housing in First Nations communities.
Appears in Collections:Social Work - Master's Major Papers

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