This paper analyses the discourses on housing by Innu men and women of three
age groups (18-35 years, 35-60 years and elders) from four Innu communities : Mashteuiatsh
(Pointe-Bleue), Uashat (Sept-Îles), Mani-Utenam (Maliotenam) et Nutashkuan. Six themes are
studied: the role of the Innus; the Department of Indigenous Affairs and the Band Councils
in relation to the construction of the houses; the shortage of houses;
their shortage and overcrowding; the quality of construction of the houses; the models of
houses; the advantages and disadvantages of living in a house; the house as symbol of
acculturation, even of assimilation. Preceding this part a shorter section presents the main
lines of a history of the house on the Innu reserves starting in the mid 19th century. The
introduction presents the body of data selected from 60 interviews conducted between
2010-2012 and the methodology used in the content analysis of the discourses. The results of
these analyses show a cultural ambivalence regarding the house compared with the tent:
living in a house today is like a second best solution to life in a tent as in former
The article proposes a geopoetical analysis of the contemporary concept «sense of place» within the Innu Nation, as seen through the eyes of Naomi Fontaine in her novel Kuessipan / À toi and in her short story Puamun, le rêve. The spaces as seen and voiced by this young author are fourfold : one relates to the territory, Nitassinan and Nutshimit (tradition); another considers the city (escape); another travels the reserve, the Innu Assi (everyday life); and a final one presents the ideal world (imaginary). Those perceived territories interact between each other and integrate in a complex way the present and past of Innu culture.
This article examines two types of housing used by Inuit in the Eastern Canadian Arctic: the house in the modern communities, a home that has emerged after World War II, and the cabin or shack built by Inuit in the tundra, a type of house that became very common when Inuit moved into permanent settlements. Using ethnographic materials from Nunavik and Nunavut, the authors show that Inuit only partially appropriate the modern-day habitat in which they live. On the other hand, even though the house in a community is now widely accepted, Inuit still associate the tundra with a healthier and regenerating space. It is there that they build their shacks, which they occupy more and which illustrate a nomadic habitus. The idea of a strictly individual property, however, worries the elders for whom nuna, the earth, cannot be appropriated by human beings. Thus, even if there is an appropriation that can be traced linguistically, the contemporary house and the shack still evoke in some respects the tent and the igloo. The nomadic habitus is however at a turning point.
This article explores the quest for residential autonomy for Inuit women of Nunavik through a relational perspective. Based on testimonies of women on the housing shortage, it shows the links between overcrowded houses and family violence. It pinpoints the limits of the social housing program in situations where women try to escape from unhealthy relationships. Far from reflecting a desire for emancipation and breaking off, this quest for autonomy should be rather understood as an attempt to obtain a safe environment for them and their family and the attempt to rebuild new healthy relationships. The interest in developing such a relational perspective on the housing issue invites us to understand how contemporary social housing programs provide, following Ingold’s distinction, buildings rather than dwellings.
This article is based on stories collected during an oral history project conducted with members of the Innu community of Nutashkuan (North Shore region, Québec), which explored the creation of their reserve by the Department of Indian Affairs in the 1950s. Constituting the heart of the narrative, these stories address not only the construction of the first houses, but also the imposition of the first chief for the community and the introduction of an economic dependence through the distribution of rations and narrowing of productive activities. Taken together, they allow us to appreciate the creation of a reserve as a physical, social, political and economic space. Although locally grounded, this article hopes to shed light on the broader implications of the intrusion of the Indian Act on Aboriginal communities in Québec, propelled by the Innus’ own perspective on historical events.
This article tackles the links between the developmental history of Uashat, Maliotenam, Pessamit and Nutashkuan, and the morphology of their reserve territory or Innu Assi. With the use of historical, cartographic and literary sources, the study identifies and superposes elements and actors that have influenced this development. Combined with the evolutionary characterization of urban forms (or morphogenesis), this approach reveals chronological coincidences within three periods: 1) the creation of the first reserves, before the Second World War; 2) the intensification of sedentarization and urban growth, in the post-war period; and 3) the contemporary era of decentralization, state disengagement, as well as political and administrative devolution to communities. The results highlight a double rupture within the contemporary Innu Assi through a process of forced sedentarization and the establishment of a living environment thought and built by a people other than the one who inhabits it.
Since the beginning of the settlement of Inuit communities in Québec in the heart of the 20th century, many diverse stakeholders have intervened in planning and housing. Over time, the coexistence of government and Inuit reference frameworks have generated spatial and organizational particularities. This article, divided into three key periods, presents the dialogue between these two frames of reference, which show the shifting relationship between the state and Inuit. The division of responsibilities in terms of planning for these three distinct periods leads to a reflection on the integration of Inuit culture in more recent territorial developments. Urban planning, morphogenesis and civic practices explored in the municipality of Kuujjuaq are used to grasp this dialogue between the institution and local practices. The evolution of the gap between reference frameworks in the form of compromise due to the bias of current local undertakings is recognized.
This article studies the participation of the regional stakeholders in the
development and implementation of the Agreement respecting the implementation of the
James Bay and Northern Québec Agreement on housing in Nunavik. This agreement is
central, from a political point of view, to understand the housing situation in Nunavik
since it determines the role of each stakeholder and establishes the level of funding
provided for the construction of social housing. The agreement, first signed in 2000, was
renewed in 2005 and 2010. If it had the initial goal to meet the Nunavik housing needs, the
implementation, in 2011, of a dispute resolution mechanism and the absence of an agreement
for its renewal in 2015 are signs that this agreement did not meet the desired goals of all
the stakeholders. With a historical analysis of the agreement, the authors wish to highlight
the powers of the different regional stakeholders and the differences that divide
While scholars have mainly focused their studies on the migration of First Nations to the main Western Canadian cities in the 1970s and the 1980s, very few studies have focused on the phenomenon of the urbanization of the Métis in cities like Edmonton and Calgary. Furthermore, very few studies have analyzed the issue of aboriginal housing in urban areas in a historical perspective. Based on interviews conducted as part of an oral history project on the Canative Housing Corporation, on reminiscences of Herb Belcourt (one of the founders), on primary sources found in the archives of Canative, on reports submitted to the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) as well as articles published in the Edmonton Journal and the Aboriginal newspaper The Native People, the author of this article proposes to fill a historical void by concentrating on the history of one of the largest Aboriginal housing societies of the time named Canative. This company was founded in Edmonton in 1971 by three Métis men: Herb Belcourt, Orval Belcourt, and Georges Brosseau. More specifically, the author analyzes how these three visionaries have helped reshape the urban landscape and the politics of the city of Edmonton, ensuring safe and stable housing for Aboriginal people (First Nations and Métis), newly arrived in Edmonton.
This paper deals with the design of culturally appropriate decision support tools in urban planning and architecture, as they were developed with the Innu community of Uashat mak Mani-utenam in Nitassinan. It illustrates the role and relevance of research-creation, based on the inclusion of Indigenous knowledge and experiences, in the development of pragmatic tools. These tools take the form of guides: the first for the renovation and adaptation of houses and the second for the development and rehabilitation of urbanized environments. They aim at supporting Indigenous communities and their planning professionals in three areas: planning issues, linking built forms and community aspirations, and building collective visions for the sustainable transformation of living environments. These intentions involve participatory methods and consultative processes which demonstrate that such decision-making tools can help build community and empower users.
This article presents the results of a collaborative urban design process to imagine tangible and sustainable visions for two Inuit villages of Nunavik. Considering data on the cultural and environmental adaptation of living environments, the proposals are based on in situ observations, shared Indigenous knowledge, concepts of northern planning, and the advice of experts and local informants. How might we plan an adequate supply of housing and collective spaces to consolidate built environments and simultaneously adapt to local practices and extreme weather conditions? What forms can these environments take while respecting environmental, social and organizational constraints? The proposed projects foster knowledge regarding northern planning challenges: on the urban components and landscapes that underpin the identity of the villages; on the role, occupation and adaptability of shared places; on the perception of density, and on the acceptability of alternative ways to organize residential areas.