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Location: Chisasibi, Northern Quebec. Cree Native Community.

Project origin:

Cree communities in Northern Quebec have been going through rapid changes since the first arrival of the Eurocanadians on their land. Their customs, their houses and their eating habits have been deeply influenced by western living patterns. Today, the houses and the comnunity designs remind more of the suburban Canadian landscape. Yet, Native social, cultural and natural environment still differs from non-Native communities in Canada.

Traditionally, women used to play an important role in the domestic area. Due to colonization, Native women have lost their status and are not part of the decision making process of their homes anymore. Despite that, Native women have continued to play a special role in fostering a sense of identity in their communities. It is therefore important to involve them in housing projects in order to find designs more adapted to the needs of their families.

The case study took place in Chisasibi. a Cree village at the North of James Bay, which has been relocated in 1980 and are now living in fully equipped houses based on western designs. This thesis aimed at revealing the opinion of Native women about their domestic environment and collect their suggestions for future improvements.

Goal: Using a gender approach, understand the needs and wants of the native community of Chisasibi in regards to housing environment today through the interview of 25 native women

Means: Historical studies, semi-directive interviews and use of questionnaire.

Difficulties: N/A

Achievement: The results showed that Native families’ Lifestyles have become more and more diversified: some want to incorporate traditional behavior patterns, other on the contrary are more inclined in living the western way. Of course age and social background play an important role in their opinions. Still, the major critic concern the inappropriate designs, the lack of space and storage which tend to influence the way people use the space in the house. The thesis pointed out the importance of defining housing layouts in accordance to the Native families’ choices and sense of identity.

Team: Maïti Chagny

Duration: 1997-1998

Client: N/A

Project cost: N/A USD

LinkPDF Master Thesis

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