Making a difference, one house at a time

SASKATCHEWAN — Idle No More has taken a more pro-active stance in Saskatchewan where they are crowd funding to build “sustainable, year-round family housing for First Nations families.”

The Idle No More movement began bringing the needs of Aboriginal communities to the forefront three years ago and has made significant impact in educating non-native Canada of the hardships of Aboriginal life in Canada and Ottawa’s insufficient response to those needs.

Co-founder of the movement, Sylvia McAdams, could not wait for Canada’s federal government to recognize the lack of safe housing on many reserves off the beaten track and has begun the “One House, Many Nations” Indiegogo campaign. It is the movement’s goal to raise $15,000 to build a log home with a woodstove, garden, solar panels and composting toilet as a pilot project earmarked for Saskatchewan’s Big River reserve where safe housing is desperately needed.

Once the funds are raised and the building of that first home is complete, it is the campaign’s plan to fundraise and build another, and then more as funds become available.

“It is shameful that we’ve had to reach out (with this campaign) while we are living in one of the wealthiest countries in the world,” says McAdams.

The campaign will also gather donations for the repair and refitting of other homes as well.

“We are hoping to build or repair one house at a time,” according to the Indiegogo site. “In time, we hope to grow so that we can reach all Nations.”

The Montreal Gazette reported recently that as many as 85,000 housing units would be needed to satisfy the burgeoning need as populations grow on First Nations communities.

The movement is taking the approach that to move a mountain takes one shovel at a time, and although the overall need is great, making a difference for one family at a time is better than waiting for the federal government to do something, especially in light of even more funding cuts from the Harper federals.

Little more than lip service has been shown by the Harper Conservatives with its announced First Nations Market Housing Fund, which announced a $300-million plan to help alleviate the problem. To date only 99 units have been built Canada wide. This a far cry from its announced 25,000 units by 2018.

Earlier this year the CBC reported federal Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada ministry held back $1-billion in spending on social services for First Nations over the past five years.

Around $5,500 has been raised since the campaign began Oct. 7th towards the first home to be built, all from private sector donations. If interested in the program or to make a donation, go to

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