Idle No More tiny house builds awareness of big problem

Construction is underway in Winnipeg this week on a tiny house that will serve as the foundation to raise awareness about a very big problem in Canada.

Small home to be shipped to Big River First Nation

The home on its way to Big River will be built at Mini Homes in Winnipeg. Construction begins this week. (Mini Homes of Manitoba)

Construction is under way in Winnipeg this week on a tiny house that will serve as the foundation to raise awareness about a very big problem in Canada.

I don't think in any country that would be considered a humane way to live.- Alex Wilson

Idle No More's Alex Wilson was a guest today on CBC Radio's Saskatoon Morning

Idle No More started an online fundraising campaign - One House, Many Nations – after one of its founders observed the dire state of living conditions on the Big River First Nation, 120 kilometres northwest of Prince Albert.  It will take about 10 days to build the 128 square foot home for a man who lives in a dugout, cobbled together with old pieces of wood and carpet. 

"I don't think in any country that would be considered a humane way to live," said Wilson.

It may be just one home for one man, but Wilson said they have a much bigger goal in mind. The group wants to bring awareness to the housing crisis faced by many First Nations.

At the same time, Wilson said this tiny house effort is by no means being pitched as a solution to the current housing crisis on reserve and among urban aboriginal populations. The hope, she said, is that other groups and communities will look at this project as an example of what can be done.

"We are seeing smaller communities now looking at sustainability, looking at long-term plans for housing."

Tiny home, green home

The house is being built by a Winnipeg company called Mini Homes.  To help Idle No More achieve its goal, the company is donating the cost of labor.

For us to see one person no longer homeless is a huge thing.- Anita Munn

"It really is just something that eats at our heart. We are both from up north; we've seen first-hand what some of the housing can be like on First Nations reserves," said Anita Munn, a co-owner with Mini Homes.
Anita Munn and Darryl Manuliak are owners of Mini Homes of Manitoba, a company which has partnered with Idle No More to construct a 'tiny home.' (Idle No More)

The house will be sustainable, and will be totally off the power grid. It will feature a compost toilet, wood heating and solar power. But most importantly, according to Munn is that "it's a beautiful, cozy little home."

 "For us to see one person no longer homeless is a huge thing."

The concern now is deciding how they are going to ship the tiny house. Mini Homes believes they have found a truck driver who is willing to donate some time to get the home to Big River. To help cover some of these costs, Ide No More has started a separate fundraising campaign.