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 Emeritus at the University of Winnipeg who has written extensively on poverty and related issues, including public housing and low-income rental housing, community development and education, adult education, and Indigenous street gangs. He is a founding member of the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives–Manitoba and played a key role in the establishment of Merchants Corner, a University of Winnipeg off-campus site in Winnipeg’s low-income and racialized North End.

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