First Nations housing success stories exist, report says
Conference Board of Canada says training people key to making housing solutions work
A new report from the Conference Board of Canada highlights a housing success story on a First Nations reserve on the edge of Sudbury.
The Atikameksheng Anishnawbek First Nation — formerly known as Whitefish Lake First Nation — has partnered with celebrity contractor Mike Holmes to build sustainable housing in which 42 units are being built.
There is also a focus on training people with respect to proper building techniques.
That's something the director of the conference board's Centre for the North sees as key.
"We need to be cognizant of the fact that we can't just offer these tools without offering some training or capacity development for chief and council to be able to take advantage of the opportunities," Anja Jeffrey said.
The report from the Conference Board report also highlights successful housing initiatives in Nunavut, the Yukon and Saskatchewan.
Chief to go on hunger strike
Meanwhile, the chief of Attawapiskat — a First Nation community beleaguered by housing issues — said she's going on a hunger strike, starting on Tuesday.
Theresa Spence said the federal government is violating the treaty and says officials are not responding appropriately to ongoing issues in her community.
She said she will continue with the hunger strike until Prime Minister Harper agrees to a treaty meeting with First Nations in Canada.
While she didn’t single out housing issues as a reason for going on the hunger strike, Spence said the relationship between First Nations people and the federal government needs to change.
"I'm willing to die for my people and the First Nations people," she said in a interview with CBC Sudbury Points North host Barry Mercer.
"The pain is too much and it has to stop."
Spence's community was in the national spotlight last year following a housing crisis in which many people were living in sub-standard housing or tents.
The federal government did send in modular homes, but also put the First Nation under third-party management — a move the federal court called unreasonable.