Every First Nation family has the opportunity to have a home on their own land in a strong community.
First Nations Across Canada Sign on With the Fund
TORONTO, July 16, 2012 —– Five First Nations have joined a growing list of communities who have chosen to work with the First Nations Market Housing Fund (the Fund) announced John Beaucage, Chair of the Fund. The five First Nations announcing their participation are Siksika Nation, Alberta; T'it'q'et First Nation, British Columbia; Neskonlith Indian Band, British Columbia; Nipissing First Nation, Ontario; and Wikwemikong Unceded Indian Reserve in Ontario. All have been approved for the backing of housing loans through the Fund’s Credit Enhancement program.
The citizens of each of these communities will now have more options when it comes to housing in their community. Each of the First Nations will use the Fund to help their citizens buy or build homes on their respective reserve lands. Loan financing will also be available to citizens for the chance to renovate existing homes on their communal lands. Mr. Beaucage noted that the vision of the Fund — that every First Nation family has the opportunity to have a home on their own land in a strong community — is being realized across the country with the Fund’s help.
The Fund is an innovative initiative established by the Government of Canada through Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) to give First Nations members greater access to housing loans on reserve and on settlement lands, where appropriate. The $300 million fund has been in operation since May 2008.
“This is an exciting time as we announce the approval of five additional First Nations for our Credit Enhancement program, drawn from different geographic regions. It shows the Fund’s continued relevance and broad reach across the country,” stated Mr. Beaucage. “The Fund’s success stories are the First Nations we are working with. They are continuing to grow and evolve through partnerships.”
In British Columbia where two more communities have come on board, the Chiefs acknowledged their opportunities to make a difference. “The First Nations Market Housing Fund will provide our community with other options for building homes, in finance as well as policy development, the tools needed to implement and sustain market housing programs. The program is what the community definitely needs and we are pleased to sign on,” said Chief Kevin Whitney of T’it’q’et First Nation.
“The Neskonlith Band Council is excited about this new program and looks forward to engaging in the process this fall. Not only can Neskonlith look at constructing new homes for band members, and address housing gaps, we can use our own Eco-Homes to build units and provide capacity building within the Band,” said Chief Judy Wilson, Neskonlith Band.
Ontario is another area which has seen increased participation with the Fund, with 30 First Nations having chosen to apply thus far. “This is great news for Nipissing First Nation members. People have been asking for more flexibility for home building, renovations and maintenance. This will provide Band members more opportunities for home ownership,” said Chief Marianna Couchie, Nipissing First Nation. “Wikwemikong is pleased to be working with the Fund to provide more housing opportunities to our membership as our community grows and evolves. We are committed to supporting the housing goals of our citizens and to strengthening our government through various capacity building initiatives," stated Chief Bernadine Francis of Wikwemikong Unceded Indian Reserve.
In four years, more than 70 communities have chosen to work with the Fund. To date, more than $400 million in housing loans have been planned for financing in 31 of the communities approved to date for the Fund’s Credit Enhancement program. A further 17 communities are using the Fund’s capacity building program to help strengthen and work towards a market-based housing system.
For more information, please visit the Fund’s website at www.fnmhf.ca.
First Nations Market Housing Fund Deborah Taylor
Nipissing First Nation
Neskonlith Indian Band
T’it’q’et First Nation
Wikwemikong Unceded Indian Reserve
Siksika Nation is a proud member tribe of the Blackfoot Confederacy and has the second largest reserve land base in Canada with 186,000 acres of land located in southern Alberta. It can be reached by travelling one hour east of the city of Calgary and three kilometers south of the Trans Canada Highway #1.
Siksika has a total population of approximately 7000 with close to half residing off the Nation. Its population has grown and the demand for change is so important that there is a need to focus on keeping up with changes in housing, education, health, employment and training for its members. This comes with a lot of responsibilities such as planning and development for today and in the future.
The priority for Siksika Nation is to maximize the economy towards financial independence and prosperity and is outlined in an Economic Development Plan. The plan serves as a roadmap that targets the requirements which will promote, facilitate and sustain a healthy local business climate. The Siksika Nation Heritage Fund has been a major accomplishment as this brings hope in sustaining financial sovereignty. Siksika has the potential, prime location and capacity to fulfill this destiny for their future children.
For the third year running, Siksika Nation government has received a Good Governance award from a survey that was conducted by the independent organization, the Frontier Centre for Public Policy
T’it’q’et First Nation
Members of the T’it’q’et First Nation (TFN), formerly the Lillooet Indian Band, consider themselves to be the P’egp’ig7lha Clan which is part of the larger St’at’imc Nation. Their seven reserves consist of approximately 1,500 hectares in total and are located in and near the town of Lillooet, BC along the Fraser River Canyon approximately 170 km northwest of Kamloops.
The St'át'imc hold Title, rights and ownership to their territorial lands and resources. They consider themselves to be ucwalmicw (the people of the land). They are a nation, not an interest group and, as proclaimed by in the Declaration of the Lillooet Tribe, May 10, 1911: they claim that they are the rightful owners of their tribal territory and everything pertaining thereto. They have always lived in their country; at no time have they ever deserted it or left it to others. The source of these rights is St'át'imc law.
T’it’q’et First Nation has a registered population of 406 members, 182 of whom were residing on reserve as of April 2012. The P’egp’ig7lha Clan traditionally consists of 14 families each of which is represented on the Traditional Council of the First Nation and serves as the governing body for T’it’q’et.
The Fund will help T'it'q'et by backing loans for homeowners and housing renovations and by strengthening their policies and staff through capacity development.
Neskonlith Indian Band
The Neskonlith Indian Band belongs to the Secwepemc Nation, a nation whose traditional territory spans approximately 180,000 square kilometres in South-Central British Columbia. Occupying this territory, at one point, was 33 Bands. Today, however, only 17 of these bands remain. The Neskonlith Band is situated on 3 reserves centering around the area of Chase, B.C. The main administrative offices are on IR2 just south of Chase along the Thompson River and Trans-Canada highway.
The Band is a member of the Shuswap Nation Tribal Council. Total registered population is 621 with 270 people on-reserve. The Housing Department manages 130 units, and provides maintenance and public works to residents of IR 1, 2 and Switsmalph (IR#3) in Salmon Arm.
Chief Judy Wilson says housing has been stalled for First Nations in Canada for some time now. Neskonlith is seeking new housing opportunities to address these gaps and plans to use the Fund to facilitate housing loans for home ownership and renovation on its lands. It also plans to do some rental housing in the future. Neskonlith will use the Fund's capacity building to increase the technical skills of staff including the housing, finance and public works areas. The market-based housing funds will assist in policy development, training and management which are a cornerstone to managing housing programs. Neskonlith Band Chief and Council have been working on this initiative for a few years now to provide opportunities for residential housing gaps.
Nipissing First Nation
In 1850, Nipissing’s Chief Shabogesic, along with his Head Mean Penassy and O’jeek, signed the Robinson Huron Treaty in which it was agreed that the Nipissing people would have set aside, for their exclusive use and protection, all that land and its resources lying north of Lake Nipissing and its main waterways.
The present day Anishnabek people who live at Lake Nipissing are of Nipissing, Ojibway and Algonquin descent. At the time of European contact at the beginning of the 17th century, the people called themselves Nipissing or NBisiing, after the lake that is located at the centre of their traditional territory in northern Ontario. Today, Nipissing First Nation (NFN) is a nation whose reserves are located along the shores of Lake Nipissing with traditional territories extending to the French River system into Georgian Bay northward to the Temagami and Obabika lakes.
Today, NFN has set aside for its use the Nipissing Reserve No. 10 which is over 21,000 hectares in size and lies primarily along the shores of Lake Nipissing the length of Highway 17 from Sturgeon Falls to North Bay. The land base is situated between the City of North Bay located to the east and the Municipality of West Nipissing to the west, and is classified as an urban reserve. As of February 2012 there is a registered band membership of 2,389 persons with 918 residing on reserve.
The addition of the First Nation Market Housing Fund is another tool in Nipissing First Nation's Governance Toolkit. NFN manages its own lands under its own Land Code, has its own Electoral Code and is currently developing a Constitution and Financial Administration Law.
Nipissing First Nation has offered homeownership to its citizens using various methods since 1980. The Fund will be used to facilitate more loans for homeownership, renovation and rentals and seniors housing.
Wikwemikong Unceded Indian Reserve
Wikwemikong Unceded Indian Reserve is one of the ten largest First Nation communities in Canada. Situated on the eastern side of beautiful Manitoulin Island and spans across both Georgian Bay and Lake Huron, Wikwemikong is home to a vibrant aboriginal community with a rich history dating back to the mid 1600s. The reserve is approximately 171 kilometres from Sudbury. Access to the Wikwemikong main village is a paved road that eventually connects with Highway 6.
The Band Council consists of 12 Councillors and a Chief elected every 2 years according to the Indian Act. The Band membership is an amalgamation of three bands, Wikwemikong, South Bay, and Point Grondine, and consists of three tribal backgrounds. The people are originally Odawa, with arrivals of Pottawatomi in 1836 and Ojibway after 1850. The population statistics state that Wikwemikong has a total Band membership of 7,278. Approximately 3,030 of this number reside on-reserve, 78 band members of other bands lived on reserve with the remaining 4,248 residing either on other reserves or off-reserve completely. The population is spread across the reserve into several settlements, or satellite communities, including Kaboni, Buzwah, South Bay, Rabbit Island, Murray Hill, Cape Smith, and Wikwemikongsing.
Wikwemikong has a large housing portfolio, including both rental and homeownership. Wikwemikong plans to use the Fund to offer more housing options to its citizens including homeownership, rental and renovation loans.