Thunder Bay

First Nations woman told to stop building her own house

The province has ordered an aboriginal woman from Northwestern Ontario to stop building a home on what she considers her family's traditional land.

Ministry of Natural Resources says Savant Lake area resident does not have a permit to do the work

The Ministry of Natural Resources has ordered Darlene Necan to stop building a home on her family's traditional trapline, because she doesn't have the proper permits in place. (Two Row Times)

The province has ordered an aboriginal woman from northwestern Ontario to stop building a home on what she considers her family's traditional land.

Darlene Necan is building her own home on her family's traditional trapline, outside the boundaries of Saugeen First Nation, near Pickle Lake.

Darlene Necan gets a hand to construct her one-room cabin near Savant Lake, Ont. (Alex Felipe)

In an earlier CBC News story, she said her needs — and those of many other off-reserve members — aren't being met by the First Nation leadership.

"Being homeless all the time, that kind of got to me," Necan said. "It seemed like society pushed me back on our land, and that's why I started building on our trapline."

But last month, the Ministry of Natural Resources issued a stop-work order, and told her she could face a $10,000 fine if she doesn't get a permit.   

"I know I could have done all the stuff that they asked me [to do] by paperwork, but then I'm thinking, ‘I come from here,’” Necan said. “Why would I start paying a permit to build on my own land?”

'I gotta help myself'

Necan said she still plans to finish the house and move in, despite the order from the MNR.

A ministry spokesperson confirmed the order has been issued but declined to comment further, saying the issue is in the hands of the MNR enforcement branch.

This is not the first time Necan has undertaken building a home. She led an initiative to build a log house two years ago for an elder who was living in what Necan called a small "chicken shack."

Necan herself is currently homeless and living in a shack.

"[I'm] trying to stand on my own two feet, to build my own house, a place to call home,” she said. “So I gotta do something and I gotta help myself and ... build my own home in my own traditional land."

Necan said she is building the house with the support of the Indigenous Commission of the International League of People's Struggles, many grassroots activists and several union locals.

Saugeen First Nation is located about 20 kilometres northwest of Savant Lake, in northwestern Ontario.


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