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Mamwi Gidaanjitoomin

Mamwi Gidaanjitoomin: Together We Change It

The goal of this Indigenous-led initiative is to address homelessness in the general population while privileging Indigenous Knowledges.  This project will provide low-barrier winter respite to those experiencing homelessness in urban settings while increasing awareness of traditional Indigenous structures.


The four aspects of the project outlined below provide unique opportunities for Indigenous peoples, cultural continuity, people experiencing homelessness, and the general public.


There are 4 aspects of this project:

  1. Perpetuation of Indigenous Knowledges – The first component of the Mamwi Gidaanjitoomin project is the construction of a traditional structure in collaboration between Indigenous youth and Indigenous Elders and Knowledge Keepers. This process, which will include both hands-on construction of the structure as well as cultural teachings, will provide space for urban Indigenous youth to learn from their Elders about their traditional structures. In facilitating this intergenerational knowledge translation, this project will provide a unique opportunity for the perpetuation of Indigenous Knowledges. 

  2. Shelter – Once the traditional building structure has been erected, it will be available for ANY people to use as shelter during the day and overnight as respite.

  3. Service provision – In consultation with community members experiencing homelessness, service providers will perform outreach activities at the structure. These services could include but are not limited to harm reduction, housing, healing and mental health. To ensure appropriateness of outreach activities, discussions will be held with people experiencing homelessness where they will be able to provide input about the service provision process.

  4. Shelter deconstruction and garden creation – The final part in the life cycle of the traditional shelter will take place in the spring once the earth has thawed. The structure will be taken down and the site will be transformed into a garden. The type of garden created will be determined with the input of the surrounding community so that it meets the unique needs of its neighbourhood.

Note: This project is currently on hold due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

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