The McGill Institute for Health and Social Policy and the McGill Department of Geography are happy to welcome Dr. Julia Christensen, Assistant Professor in the Department of Environmental, Social and Spatial Change at Roskilde University.
Dr. Christensen will present her talk titled: Storying Indigenous health and home: untangling narratives of homelessness and home-journeying towards the advancement of Indigenous self-determination in Indigenous health
As a geographer in the field of Aboriginal Health, my works aims to support health approaches, practices and policies that, by advancing Indigenous self-determination, strengths and knowledge, support the health and wellbeing of Indigenous peoples. While research storytelling and community collaboration frame the methodological orientation of my work, the empirical orientation encompasses northern and Indigenous housing and homelessness, health and social inequalities, social determinants of Indigenous health, cultural safety, Indigenous health and social policy, and northern and Indigenous narratives of health and social welfare institutionalization.
In this talk, I introduce and outline my current research program, which includes four separate, though interconnected, research areas. The first research area attends to the overrepresentation of Indigenous people among the visibly homeless in the Canadian North by examining geographies of Indigenous home, homelessness and health. Through an empirical exchange between biographical narratives, support provider perspectives, policy documents, and government and NGO statistical data, Indigenous homelessness serves as a lens through which to examine the persistence of colonialism as a social determinant of Indigenous health. The second research area contributes to the new but quickly growing field of Arctic urbanization research in its focus on the role of health and social welfare institutionalization in the rural-urban geographies of Indigenous homeless people across both the Canadian North and Greenland. Meanwhile, the third research area examines the potential for Indigenous home-journeying practices to inform culturally-safe health and housing policy that promotes the agency and strengths of Indigenous homeless people and their families. Finally, a fourth emerging area of research interest is inspired by the proliferation of land-based health initiatives to explore the development of Indigenous health programs and policies that emphasize community- and culturally-based programming for intergenerational trauma, addictions and mental health. Through sustained participation in research-policy channels, this research program promotes active cultural and community engagement in the development of health and social welfare services for northern and Indigenous communities.