Native American Homelessness and Minneapolis’ Infamous Tent City: Dispelling Myths and Stereotypes to Uncover Solutions


  • Jeanine R. Jackson Metropolitan State University
  • Crystal Saric Fashant Metropolitan State University



In the summer of 2018, an affordable housing crisis in Minneapolis, Minnesota led to the erection of a homeless encampment infamously labeled, “Tent City.” Publicized by media as a camp for homeless Native Americans, pervasive myths and stereotypes filled the airwaves while public agencies and nonprofit organizations raced to find solutions to this community crisis before the cold winter months settled in. Written from the perspective of an Indigenous woman working in the social services sector of Minneapolis, along with her faculty advisor in a public and nonprofit graduate program, this article: 1) identifies issues of homelessness in Native American communities, 2) dispels myths and stereotypes about Native Americans that impede meaningful progress, 3) explores barriers to safe and secure housing for Native Americans and other marginalized communities, 4) identifies states and countries leading the way to solve homelessness, and 5) suggests best practices and solutions to the ongoing homelessness crisis.

Author Biographies

  • Jeanine R. Jackson, Metropolitan State University

    Jeanine R. Jackson is a recent graduate of Metropolitan State University’s Master of Public and Nonprofit Administration (MPNA) program. She is an enrolled member of Lac Du Flambeau Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians. She works in the nonprofit sector on poverty alleviation and ending homelessness in Minneapolis, and hopes to obtain her doctorate in the future, related to solving Indigenous and tribal issues.

  • Crystal Saric Fashant, Metropolitan State University

    Crystal Saric Fashant is an Associate Professor in the Department of Public and Nonprofit Leadership, and co–director of the Master of Public and Nonprofit Administration (MPNA) program at Metropolitan State University in St. Paul, Minnesota. Her research interests include nonprofit organizations, environmental sustainability, and social justice issues. Crystal earned a doctorate in Business Administration in the College of Management, Metropolitan State University.






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