In Their Own Voices

Building Urban Aboriginal Communities

By Parvin Ghorayshi, Peter Gorzen, Joan Hay, Cyril Keeper, Darlene Klyne, Michael MacKenzie, Jim Silver and Freeman Simard  

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In Their Own Voices is an examination of the urban Aboriginal experience, based on the voices of Aboriginal people. It is set in Winnipeg’s inner city, but has implications for urban Aboriginal people across Canada. While not glossing over the problems that confront urban Aboriginal people, the book focuses primarily on innovative community-based solutions being created and run by and for urban Aboriginal people. Separate chapters examine Aboriginal involvement in community development, adult education and the mainstream political process. The concluding chapter, based on in-depth interviews with 26 experienced, Aboriginal community development workers, describes a well-defined and very sophisticated form of Aboriginal community development that is holistic and is rooted in traditional Aboriginal values of community and sharing. Out of their often harsh urban experience, Aboriginal people are defining and creating their own, innovative community-building strategies. In cities with significant Aboriginal populations, these strategies are the basis of a better future, for Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people alike.


  • Introduction: Urban Aboriginal People in Canada and Winnipeg
  • In But Not Of: Aboriginal People in an Inner City Neighbourhood (with Joan Hay and Peter Gorzen)
  • “The Tools You Need to Discover Who You Are”: Aboriginal Learners in Adult Education Centres (with Darlene Klyne and Freeman Simard)
  • “A Very Hostile System in Which to Live”: Aboriginal Political Participation in Winnipeg’s Inner City (with Cyril Keeper and Michael McKenzie)
  • Sharing, Community and Decolonization: Urban Aboriginal Community Development (with Parvin Ghorayshi, Joan Hay and Darlene Klyne)


  • Jim Silver

    University of Winnipeg

    Jim Silver is a professor in the Department of Urban and Inner-City Studies at the University of Winnipeg. His research interests are in inner-city, poverty-related, and community development issues. His most recent book is Solving Poverty: Innovative Solutions from Winnipeg’s Inner City (Fernwood 2016). Jim is a member of the Manitoba Research Alliance and the leader of the Housing and Neighbourhood Revitalization stream of its SSHRC Partnership project, “Partnering for Change: Community-Based Solutions for Aboriginal and Inner-City Poverty.”

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