IMPORTANT NOTE: Due to major changes outside of the influence of both parties, the original scope and timeline was affected, and it was mutually agreed to terminate the project.
Indigenous peoples face a number of barriers when it comes to housing. These are both historic and systemic, ranging from generational poverty and a lack of skilled labour to prohibitive land tenure regulations. This affects the creation of housing on reserves and limits the self-determination of First Nation communities and people.
The Identifying and Overcoming Barriers to Housing on Reserves project will research and strategize options to resolve historic and systematic barriers. The project team will work with community members to develop housing designs and construction concepts that respond to shared community values. The results will inform new policies and programs for Dakota Ojibway Tribal Council Member Bands and other First Nation communities. They will also build organizational capacity and promote self-determination.
3 Key Goals
Develop policies and programs addressing historic and systemic barriers to safe, healthy, accessible, energy-efficient, resource-efficient, culturally-appropriate and affordable on-reserve housing.
Develop conceptual designs for housing using innovative, locally-sourced light straw–clay construction that can be built with local labour.
Showcase best practices for undertaking community-based participatory action research to meet the housing needs of First Nation communities.
Project scope and expected outcomes
Understanding the specific housing challenges faced by Indigenous peoples
One of CMHC’s top priorities is understanding and addressing the housing challenges faced by Indigenous people. The Dakota Ojibway Tribal Council (DOTC) has uncovered the need for 1,500 units in the 6 DOTC communities.
In addition, the DOTC has identified the following historic and systemic barriers to building on-reserve housing:
- Community perceptions regarding land use rights on reserves.
- Communication difficulties between Member Nations and agencies (local, provincial and federal), and outside experts.
- Different worldviews and cultural protocols between First Nation and western belief systems.
- Historically prohibitive land tenure regulations.
- Lack of funds (internal and external) for infrastructure, housing and development to support self-sufficiency and economic sustainability.
- Shortage of professional, industrial, administrative and skilled trades expertise.
- Implications of generational poverty, including barriers to volunteerism and optimism.
Addressing these barriers and the ongoing housing crisis in DOTC communities requires an innovative methodology and novel solutions.
Pursuing 2 related research streams
With support from the National Housing Strategy Research and Planning Fund, the project will be executed through 2 research streams. These are:
- a socio-economic stream on historic and system barriers
- a technical stream on design and technology
In the socio-economic stream, the team will begin by establishing a housing development advisory board. This will include representatives from relevant agencies and will conduct Nation-to-Nation consultations on barriers to housing. The next phases will analyze both the barriers to housing and the opportunities to overcome them. The final phase will summarize the information and draft policies, agreements, protocols and other documents to address each barrier.
The design and technology stream is grounded in participatory decision-making processes. The first phase will help determine appropriate locations for new housing. The second phase will determine housing needs and preferences. The other phases will focus on assessing and selecting context-appropriate building materials, technologies and techniques. Finally, this stream will develop a conceptual design of a prototype home for community feedback and will document the design process.
Addressing barriers to building housing on reserves
The Identifying and Overcoming Barriers to Housing on Reserves project has several target audiences. These include:
- elected and appointed officials from DOTC Member Bands
- potential homeowners
- housing finance and design professionals
- Community members
While the project focuses on the DOTC Member Bands, the results can be transferable toreserves across Canada.
A project report will outline the historic and systemic barriers to housing in DOTC Member Bands and other First Nation communities. It will also make policy and protocol recommendations on how to address them. An illustrated design guide will be created on recommended construction details and building systems. A collection of case studies on the participatory research process undertaken during the project will also be produced.
Program: National Housing Strategy Research and Planning Fund
Activity Stream: Indigenous and Northern Research Priorities
Title of the Research: Go Big and Build Homes: Identifying and Overcoming the Barriers to Housing on Reserves
Lead Researcher: Dakota Ojibway Tribal Council
Project Collaborators / Partners:
- Daniel J. Brant & Associates
- Design Coalition Architects
- Design Coalition Institute
- Dakota Tipi First Nation