Every First Nation family has the opportunity to have a home on their own land in a strong community.
M’Chigeeng First Nation
M'Chigeeng First Nation is located along the shores of the North Channel of Lake Huron on Manitoulin Island, west of Little Current, Ontario. The First Nation is a member of the Anishnawbek Nation of the Union of Ontario Indians and United Chiefs and Councils of Manitoulin (UCCM). The First Nation has reserve lands of 3,095 hectares and is home to 2,300 members, 900 of whom reside on reserve in approximately 418 homes.
The community’s vision is to be “a vibrant, progressive, proud, Ojibwe-speaking First Nation. Our people will be healthy, self-reliant, respectful of our obligations to Mother Earth and culturally grounded, showing mutual respect and support for all people”. With this vision M’Chigeeng has developed into a thriving community services centre for many other First Nations in the region. These services include Mnidoo Mnising Employment & Training, Kina Gbezhgomi Child & Family Services, Mnaamodzowin Health Services, Noojmowin Teg Health Centre, UCCM Tribal Police and Kenjgewin Teg Educational Institute.
Leadership, administration and the community are in the process of implementing a transitional plan known as M’Chigeeng Maadziwin. The development of a number of initiatives is occurring in six key sectors: Training & Learning, Tourism & Hospitality, Environmental & Green Economy, Health Care, Infrastructure and Governance. Their most recent success in renewable energy development is the construction phase of the Mother Earth Renewable Energy Wind Project (M.E.R.E.). M.E.R.E. General Partner Inc. is owned 100% by the First Nation and will manage and operate a turbine windmill project under a 20 year agreement with Ontario Power Authority. This investment of $10 million represents an economic boom to the area and will create 100 new jobs during the construction phase alone. The community has taken progressive steps towards building a green economy by installing solar panels on the roofs of the community complex, Lakeview school and band administration offices.
M’Chigeeng First Nation is committed to offering its members additional home ownership financing resources for new home construction. Approximately 60% of the homes were constructed before 1991, so these homes support a growing demand for renovation loans backed by the Fund.
“The First Nations Market Housing Fund is a welcome departure from the old way we have been financing housing needs of our membership. It places more of the decision making on the Chief and Council in determining the eligibility of housing applicants and along with other supports, the integrity of the whole market housing fund will be secured. The market housing fund is actually on the way to creating a housing market in M’Chigeeng and band members can begin to negotiate housing arrangements with each other over time. Paying for your own house and owning it brings about a sense of pride in having done so. This is a good thing.”
— Chief Joe Hare (July 2011)