Building Relatives & Advancing Opportunities

Building Relatives and Advancing Opportunities

Indigenous Housing Supports |  Land-Based Healing

Indigenous Housing Supports

Strengthening Home Fires

In January 2023, Miskanawah launched Strengthening Home Fires (SHF), a new Scattered Site Supportive Housing program that will support Indigenous youth to identify, access, secure, and maintain housing.

SHF is founded on the understanding that colonization, trauma and systemic discrimination are major causes of homelessness for Indigenous peoples, and that strengths-based, trauma-informed and culturally-grounded approaches to working with Indigenous youth are critical to their success and wellbeing. The program name “Strengthening Home Fires” communicates the overarching goal of creating a safe and stable place to call home.

In addition, SHF will provide support to non-Indigenous homeless serving agencies to strengthen their capacity to service Indigenous youth through cultural connections and activities, such as: engaging in partnerships and outreach support, invitation to participants from other agencies/programs to take part in cultural and ceremonial activities; workshops and group-based cultural programming; healing opportunities and ceremonies; cultural awareness, competency, and humility training.

Who is Eligible?
Indigenous (First Nations, Inuit, Metis, Status, or Non-Status) youth aged 14-24 who are homeless and in need of supports, and non-Indigenous youth who are open to supports that are grounded in Indigenous cultural teachings. SHF will connect youth facing variable complexities and barriers (low to high) to housing, and will work with participants for as long as they need, or until they are ready to transition to an adult/family-serving program.

All referrals to SHF will be made at the Youth Placement Committee beginning January, 2023.

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Land-Based Healing

Miskanawah honors and acknowledges the land as a life source and foundation of sacred knowledge that is integral to maintaining holistic health and wellness. The knowledge embedded within the natural world brings together the teachings of Wahkotiwin: living in relationship, and recognizes the importance of language, our oral stories, relationality, accountability, and a greater connection to Creator and self. Land-based ceremonies and activities offer significant benefits to Indigenous people by providing culturally relevant education, promoting opportunities for inter-generational knowledge transfer, and creating safe spaces for personal and collective healing.

In the words of our Elders:

“It's really important right now. We're losing our songs. We're losing our language because we don't know oral systems ... it's so important to have a camp—something where we can bring young people to start teaching them about oral systems.” –Blackfoot Elder, Dr. Reg Crowshoe.

“The Camp gives families the freedom to learn—to be on the land and to learn from the land. The land is where we come from. We don’t own the land. The land owns us.” –Métis Elder, Edmee Comstock
Securing a permanent site for our ceremonies and land-based programming is an important priority, as Miskanawah works to ensure the availability and continuation of these essential healing opportunities for children, youth, families, and the greater community. Stewarding land on a private site ensures the security of our ceremonial items and practices and overall sustainability for our organization. Creating a permanent home fire on the land supports the continuation of Indigenous traditions, ceremonies, and practices, and an educational invitation to our allies and those seeking to further their reconciliation efforts.

Click HERE to support Miskanawah to create permanency for our Land Home Fire.

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