Urban Indigenous People: Stories of Healing in the City

By: John G. Hansen, PhD., & Rose Antsanen


The book is written to cover various aspects of the colonization and dehumanization of Indigenous peoples in Canada; and to provide information on the urban Indigenous experience. It explores the ways in which urban Indigenous peoples heal from colonialism and addictions in the city. To this end, the book provides recommendations for developing policy and program frameworks for developing improvements to a colonial society, which is nurtured by Indigenous people’s death, oppression, impoverishment and social exclusion.Hansen and Antsanen offer four assertions for improving urban Indigenous experiences in contemporary society. Their first assertion is that social inclusion and the embracing of traditional culture is important to improving urban Indigenous experiences and is therefore significant for improvements to Indigenous reality in Canada. Second, urban Indigenous people hold strong aspirations toward improving their lives and that access to education, income, and culturally appropriate programming; such as the Friendship Centre and the Saskatoon Tribal Council (STC): Urban Extrajudicial Measures Program increases their likelihood of healing. Third, the significant disparities that exist in education, employment, incarceration, and violent victimization rates between Indigenous peoples and the general population must be addressed. The book provides considerable discussion on colonial discourse as a major factor in the dehumanization and oppression of Indigenous peoples. Finally, the statements of the participants at the Saskatoon Friendship Centre and the Saskatoon Tribal Council (STC): Urban Extrajudicial Measures Program demonstrate that cultural programming that promotes healing is vital to overcoming colonial sickness and enhancing the lives of urban Indigenous people.

The experience of urban Indigenous life will not fade away. Indigenous populations are increasing within urban spaces every year. Sometimes Indigenous peoples feel there is nothing more for them in rural areas or on reserves. Recognizing that the city is a place filled with possibility, urban Indigenous peoples will continue to come, and their urban populations will continue to grow. The book rejects any false claim that Indigenous people should simply assimilate and end their struggle against colonialism.

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  • ISBN:  978-1-926476-05-6
    Price: $30.00
    Binding: Paperback
    Date: 2015
    Rights: World
    Pages: 125
    Size: 6” x 9”

  • Table of Contents

    Table of Contents


    1. They Don’t Really Care About Us

    2. They Told The Two-Spirited Not To Come Around Here

    3. No One Wants To Be Socially Excluded

    4. Decolonization—For Pete’s Sake

    5. Run For Your Lives—Indigenous Survival

    6. The Indigenous Civil Commons—We Better Do What We Can

    7. Be Careful What You Do—Smooth Methodology

    8. You Label Me—I’ll Just Heal At The Friendship Centre

    9. Don’t Go Around Breaking Young Peoples Dreams

    10. The End Will Set Me Free

    About the Authors

  • John G. Hansen, PhD., & Rose Antsanen

    John G. Hansen, PhD was born and raised in northern Manitoba; he is a member of the Opaskwayak Cree Nation. John is an Assistant Professor in the Sociology Department at the University of Saskatchewan, and his research and teaching specialization is in the area of Justice, Crime and Society, focusing on Indigenous knowledge and non-Western models of justice.

    Rose Antsanen, MEd was born and raised in northern Manitoba; she is fluent in the Dene language and is a member of the Lac Brochet Dene Nation. Rose holds a Master of Education degree from the University of Saskatchewan; A Bachelor of Indigenous Studies; and A Bachelor of Indigenous Social Work from the University of Regina.

  • This critically and frankly written book provides lucid explanations on how Canadian society has established the structural barriers that oppress Indigenous peoples. The authors delve into a wide range of issues including social and economic disparities, discrimination, racism, sexism, social exclusion, and colonial privilege. They provide clear discussions on how these issues impact Indigenous people, with focuses that include the two-spirited communities, Indigenous girls and women, and youth. Noteworthy are the discussions on the e orts of Indigenous peoples to confront these issues and how Indigenous cultural practices serve to support healing from the oppression. Urban Indigenous People: Stories of Healing in the City is certainly an important contribution to the field.

    Michael Hart, PhD

    Associate Professor
    Canada Research Chair in Indigenous Knowledge and Social Work
    University of Manitoba
    Citizen, Fish River Cree Nation

    John George Hansen and Rose Antsanen’s Urban Indigenous People: Stories of Healing in the City ranks among the most important studies of the Urban Indian experience in Canada. Well-written and insightful, this text is a healing, decolonizing journey that charts the experience of cultural assimilation and profound social exclusion familiar to Indigenous people living in Canadian cities. Emphasizing the importance of traditional culture and restorative justice to rebalance Indigenous people’s social, cultural and economic lives, Hansen and Antsanen are instrumental and important authors and scholars engaged in the ongoing project of Indigenous urbanization and healing. Scholars, students, and the general public interested in the contemporary Indigenous experience and Canadian culture will want to read this book.

    Sue Matheson, PhD

    Associate Professor Humanities
    University College of the North

    I highly recommend this book for faculty, students, policy makers and others who are interested in understanding the healing journey of urban Indigenous people and the a affects of colonialism.

    JoLee Sasakamoose, PhD

    Assistant Professor
    Educational Psychology
    University of Regina