Cultural identity and notions of safe space among young indigenous women in an urban context: the case of Thunder Bay
Master of Science
SubjectIndigeneity and historical legacy
Indigenous Peoples and urbanization
Young Indigenous women, urban challenges & safe spaces
MetadataShow full item record
Indigenous people of Canada have been relocating from their home communities, and moving into larger urban city centers at unprecedented rates (Norris, Clatworthy, & Peters 2013). The population shift of Indigenous-based mobility from their respective home communities, and into larger metropolitan areas has been well discussed throughout the literature. Specifically, this social pattern has been transpiring in Thunder Bay, which has brought awareness to the new challenges and barriers that many Indigenous peoples experience when migrating to Canada’s larger urban cities (Peters 2009). The young Indigenous female population in Thunder Bay are at a larger disadvantage (NIMMIWG, 2017), in terms of safe spaces, which consequently highlights that there is a gender differential that ought to be researched further. Urban Indigenous women are at a disadvantage within society in terms of accessing culturally appropriate safe spaces (Ontario Native Women’s Association n.d.; Latimer, Sylliboy, MacLeod, Rudderham, Francis, Hutt-MacLeod, Harman, & Finley 2018:1). This master’s thesis is a case study of Indigenous women aged 18-29 in Thunder Bay and surrounding areas. This paper seeks to address the relationship between safety and individualized notions of how identity is developed amongst the Indigenous youth population. Therefore, I pose the question, how do notions of Indigeneity or cultural identity impact visions of what is necessary to create a safe space in an urban context? Furthermore, how do young Indigenous women conceptualize notions of safe space in Thunder Bay, in terms of their hopes, dreams and wishes of achieving their version of Mino-Bimaadiziwin – the good life?