More First Nations in Ontario Sign on With the Fund

MONCTON, N.B., July 13, 2011 — John Beaucage, Chair of the First Nations Market Housing Fund (the Fund) announced today that Atikameksheng Anishnawbek, Hiawatha First Nation, Whitefish River First Nation and M'Chigeeng First Nation have chosen to work with the Fund and have been approved for backing through the Fund’s Credit Enhancement Program. With the backing of the Fund, these four First Nations will be able to attract private financing, with favourable terms and conditions, for the housing loans of their citizens on reserve.

“This is wonderful news for the citizens of these four Ontario First Nations,” said Mr. Beaucage. “These communities are committed to creating opportunities for their citizens and to strengthening their communities with the support of the Fund. Our goal is to ensure that each of these First Nations is equipped with the tools needed to implement and sustain market housing programs that really work on their lands.”

“The First Nations Market Housing Fund is another example of the Government of Canada’s commitment to address the housing needs of First Nations communities as this initiative expands market-based housing on reserve by providing easier access to homeownership, rental and renovation loans in First Nations communities,” said the Honourable John Duncan, Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development.

All four First Nations will use the Fund to help their citizens buy or build homes on their reserves. They will also offer citizens the chance to renovate their homes with access to loan financing on their communal lands. Mr. Beaucage noted that the vision of the Fund is that every First Nation family has the opportunity to have a home on their own land in a strong community.

Chief Steven Miller of Atikameksheng Anishnawbek said “The First Nations Market Housing Fund provides our people with an opportunity to invest in our future and creates ownership and pride within our community.”

“First Nations Market Housing Fund is the next opportunity in addressing our housing back log,” said Chief Sandra Moore of Hiawatha First Nation. “This is another option for community membership who want to buy, build, or renovate. It’s more than just a program; it will strengthen our housing and indeed our community.”

“We are excited to see our citizens and Community keep moving forward towards healthier and harmonious families,” Said Chief Shining Turtle of Whitefish River First Nation.

"The First Nations Market Housing Fund is a welcome departure from the old way we have been financing housing needs of our membership. Paying for your own house and owning it brings about a sense of pride in having done so and this is a good thing", stated Chief Joe Hare of M'Chigeeng First Nation.

The Fund is an innovative initiative established by the Government of Canada, through Canada Mortgage Housing Corporation (CMHC), to give First Nation members greater access to housing loans on reserve and on settlement lands, where appropriate. The $300 million fund became operational in May 2008.

The Fund is pleased to be working with other First Nations already approved for Credit Enhancement in Newfoundland, Nova Scotia, Saskatchewan, Ontario and British Columbia.

To date almost fifty communities have chosen to work with the Fund, a not-for-profit trust company working with First Nations across Canada to facilitate access to housing financing and build stronger communities through capacity development funding.

The Fund has attracted several financial institutions to provide loans to these First Nations with the Fund’s backing, including BMO Bank of Montreal, Peace Hills Trust, Desjardins, Vancouver City Savings Credit Union, Envision Financial and Affinity Credit Union.

For more information, please visit the Fund’s website at

Media Contacts:

Deborah Taylor
First Nations Market Housing Fund

Michelle Yao
Director of Communications
Office of the Honourable John Duncan

Atikameksheng Anishnawbek
Chief Steve Miller
705-692-3651 ext. 201

Hiawatha First Nation
Chief Sandra Moore

Whitefish River First Nation
Chief Shining Turtle, Franklin Paibomsai

M'Chigeeng First Nation
Chief Joe Hare


Atikameksheng Anishnawbek

Atikameksheng Anishnawbek, formerly known as Whitefish Lake First Nation, is located 20 kilometers west of the City of Greater Sudbury. On behalf of the members, Chief Shawenekezhik signed the Robinson-Huron Treaty in 1850. The community was a historic meeting place for hunters and trappers, who travelled to the Hudson Bay Post located here to trade for much needed supplies. The original post building sits on a lot adjacent to the community. A historical plaque is dedicated to the role it played in contributing to the lives of past residents and settlers to the area.

Atikameksheng Anishnawbek has a registered membership of 1018, with 350 members living on-reserve. The current land base is 43,747 acres, much of it being deciduous and coniferous forests, surrounded by eight lakes, with eighteen lakes within the reserve boundaries. It is bordered on the southwest by Lake Panache, a well known recreational area in the Sudbury region. The First Nation leases 97 cottage lots with limited road access, electricity and telephone services on Lake Panache. In 2008 the community ratified and approved its own Land Code under the First Nation Land Management Act (FNLMA). They are currently working through the 34 step process to fully implement this Code.

Atikameksheng Anishnawbek has an impressive housing development track record in the past 20 years, achieving over 60 per cent private homeownership amongst its members. The First Nation also manages 44 rental units including an Independent Living Centre project of eight units.

In December 2010, the community was announced as the pilot project location to build sustainable housing in partnership with the Assembly of First Nations and the Holmes Group, from the popular Canadian television show Holmes on Homes. The project will become a model for sharing experiences with other First Nations to provide training in green energy building technologies. With the support of the Fund, increasing access to housing loans to renovate and build new homes, in conjunction with the use of green energy technologies will improve the quality and cost effectiveness of future housing developments.

Hiawatha First Nation

Hiawatha First Nation is located in Otonabee-South Monaghan Township approximately 30 kilometres south of Peterborough, Ontario and is situated on the north shore of Rice Lake, east of the Otonabee River. The community covers a land area of approximately 1,952 acres.

Hiawatha First Nation is a thriving community which focuses on tourism as the mainstay of their economic development. Its people take great pride in conserving the natural beauty of the area and extending bona fide hospitality to its annual visitors. The community currently operates a successful gas-bar, The Old Railroad Stop Restaurant, the Hiawatha Tent and Trailer Park, and Serpent Mounds Park.

Hiawatha First Nation is the caretaker of Serpent Mounds and National Historic Site. The “Serpent Mounds”, a burial site of the ancient Point Peninsula tribes, can be found on a high point of land next to Rice Lake, located east of the community site. A series of nine burial mounds, dating back 2,000 years in history, mark the final resting place of these early inhabitants.

The community intends to use the First Nations Market Housing Fund as an alternative to their housing revolving loan fund, to meet the demand to purchase, renovate or build new homes, thus increasing the availability to home financing to its membership.

Whitefish River First Nation (WFRN)

Whitefish River First Nation (WRFN), a proud progressive and rapidly growing community of 1,200 Members of Ojibway ancestry with approximately 440 people living in the village of Birch Island. The community is located by the scenic shores of Georgian Bay and the North Shore Channel, gatekeepers to Manitoulin Island, Ontario.

Whitefish River First Nation is affiliated with the United Chiefs and Council of Mnidoo Mnising and a member of the family of First Nations that form the region encompassed by The Great Spirit Circle Trail — are known as Anishinabek — the Ojibwe, Odawa and Pottawatomi people.

For the Anishinabek who inhabit Whitefish River First Nation, Dreamer's Rock area — a tall, quartzite rock located in Whitefish River First Nation — provided an ideal site for solitary fasting. Native youth from the surrounding area were sent to the summit where they fasted and, through dreams, received powers from a "guardian spirit". The spirit would also advise them of their calling. The dreamer would interpret his dreams with help from the elders and the medicine man.

Whitefish River First Nation lands are approximately 5600 hectares. Local wildlife is abundant and includes moose, rabbit, beaver, muskrat, mink, bobcat and lynx and an abundance of fish including northern pike, lake trout, whitefish, pickerel and bass inhabit our many lakes, rivers and streams. Large stands of birch, poplar, jack pine and cedar can be found throughout the territory.

Today it has 177 homes in the community with a mix of individual homeownership and rental units. The Whitefish River First Nation intends to use the First Nations Market Housing Fund to allow for its citizens to access housing loans on reserve, to purchase, renovate an existing home or to build new homes. 

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.