SIX NATIONS — Six Nations stands as the largest indigenous reserve in Canada with over 20,000 registered members which grows every year. However the land base remains at 71 square miles.
While housing crises climb within smaller reserves with high birth rates and low housing availability, some have concluded that smaller and compacted houses called tiny houses could be the solution. And as the housing market and financial crises are something many struggle in today, the cost of a tiny house is a far cry from a housing loan with the most affordable tiny houses being just under or just above $20,000.
With their compact construct and affordability, tiny houses have become a plausible choice for many, even Six Nations own Yotakahron Christa Jonathan, who hopes to continue her education rent free.
“I talked to my family about building a tiny house and I said ‘it would be so cool to build one of those,’ especially since I’m a single person and I don’t really need a huge house or anything,” said Jonathan.
After evaluating the lump sum of rent she would be paying for the next five years while she finishes her education as a medical student which will reach a high $200,000, Jonathan opted for a more non-conventional and less pricey solution. She made the decision back in December and construction began in February and the project has since brought her closer to her male family members.
Her design stands at 240 inches by 100 inches and the frame was constructed with steel under the hands of her relatives.
“My uncles, my step-dad and his friends all helped,” she said. “It’s been a blessing to have a lot of people wanting to help and they’ve been working on it on their time off.”
In general, tiny homes are more environmentally friendly and the constricted space forces owners to reduce their possessions and more often than not, use less power. Jonathan even decided to have solar panels in the electrical plan of her soon-to-be home.
“i designed the whole thing,” she said. “There are computer programs that can help you but I wasn’t patient enough for those. I just grabbed a paper and a pencil and drew six different drafts, or blue prints of what I wanted it to look like. Even now we’re tweaking bits and pieces of it.”
Jonathan noted that every foot and inch of the house has been thought out, as the smaller space called for wiser use. She also included that she will soon be changing her lifestyle to match her home.
“You don’t really realize how much stuff you have,” she said. “So along with planning and building this I have to go through all of my stuff. Like I don’t need 10 sweaters, so I’ll cut down to three.”
Jonathan has documented the journey of investing in and building her tiny home on instagram under the handle @nikanonhsaa — which translates to “a small house” in the Mohawk language.