Welcome to the latest edition of our newsletter, designed to keep you informed about the recent developments, initiatives, and success stories within the First Nations Market Housing Fund (FNMHF).

We are excited to share updates on how we are working together to improve housing opportunities for First Nations communities across the nation. Let’s dive into the highlights of this quarter:

Dear Valued Members and Stakeholders, as we reach the end of another quarter, I am pleased to share some exciting updates and initiatives at the Fund that highlight our ongoing commitment to supporting First Nations communities. The second quarter was a very busy one for management and staff. In April, we attended the NATOA (National Aboriginal Trust Officers Association) conference in Montreal and I was invited to participate in a panel to talk about the Fund and more specifically, how we manage the FNMHF as a not-for-profit trust. In my presentation, I talked about our statement of investment policy, investment strategy, and our ESG policy. [READ MORE HERE]

Strategic Planning Session

In mid-April, staff and Trustees gathered at the FNMHF head office in Akwesasne to participate in a 2-day strategic planning session, facilitated by Cree8tive Advisory.

The session reflected on many key items using a tailored SMART methodology aligned with the Fund’s values, including:

  • the dynamic nature of the Fund’s reform efforts and how it affects the strategic goals outlined in the business plan;
  • identifying the Fund’s position in the market;
  • a review of the Fund’s current mandate and mission;
  • thoughts on a potential membership model;
  • discussions on rendering the Fund 100% First Nations-led and autonomous, free from government influence.

The session brought together diverse perspectives from both staff and leadership to develop a more comprehensive plan towards the Fund’s self-sufficiency to better serve First Nations across the country. We are grateful for the engagement demonstrated by the team, and for the guidance provided by the Trustees. We look forward to our next gathering in Akwesasne in 2025!

Cornwall & Area Job Fair

The Fund participated in the Cornwall & Area Job Fair in April. The event was open to anyone seeking employment in Cornwall, Stormont, Dundas, Glengarry, and Akwesasne, and gave community members a chance to learn more about our organization and the positions that are currently available.

This was the 10th year that the job fair has been held, with over 60 employers promoting over 500 jobs to an audience of over 1,000 job seekers.

NATOA’s Trust & Investment Conference

Our team had an incredible experience at the 11th Annual Trust and Investment Conference in Montreal on April 3-4. On Day 1, our CEO, Travis Seymour, participated in a panel discussion titled “Better Partnerships, Stronger Communities: How to Build Effective Trustee and Investment Manager Relationships.” The conference provided valuable insights into the evolving landscape of Indigenous investment management, emphasizing pivotal themes such as Indigenous sovereignty, responsible investment, and long-term sustainability.

Our Gathering Conference

Staff and leadership from the Fund attended Our Gathering, kexwkexwntsút chet, tə sq̓əq̓ip ct in Vancouver from April 22-24, hosted by the Naut’sa mawt Tribal Council. Along with the representation of key B.C. First Nations, the conference welcomed over 900 delegates.

Travis Seymour had the opportunity to meet with the CEO of the B.C. Housing Infrastructure organization, solidifying a collaboration that will better position the Fund for autonomization. Some snapshots of this great conference can be viewed here.

NACCA’s Indigenous Prosperity Forum

From insightful discussions to captivating performances, the 2024 Indigenous Prosperity Forum was an event to remember.

Highlights included an opening address by the Honourable Patty Hajdu, Minister of Indigenous Services of Canada, and an engaging panel on economic development through SMEs and IFIs.

We were also privileged to hear from Farm Credit Canada on exploring the role of financial institutions and Indigenous-led organizations in supporting agricultural entrepreneurship, and were treated to an unforgettable performance by Rebecca Strong from Prince Albert, SK, winner of Canada’s Got Talent!

Waasnode Housing Conference

Our team was thrilled to attend the Waasnode Housing Conference in Sault Ste. Marie! Kelly Bitternose, Director of Programs and Services, and Scott Flamand, Credit Enhancement Specialist, delivered impactful presentations, fostering connections and promoting financial literacy. The event also offered a great opportunity to meet members from the communities we partner with, further strengthening our bonds and commitment to Indigenous housing initiatives.

This summer, the Fund will be attending the following conferences:

  • AFN AGA 2024, July 9-11, at the Palais des congrès in Montreal
  • Forward Summit, September 24-25, at the Casino Rama in Rama Nation in Orillia

Keep an eye on our events page to see where we will be headed next!

Welcoming New Staff

Welcoming four new staff members to our growing team!

Anthony Eneas, our new Homeownership Navigator, is a member of the Okanagan Nation and has over 29 years of experience in the financial industry. Previously, he was Senior Account Manager at Peace Hills Trust and Regional Manager at TD Bank, gaining deep financial insights and customer understanding. Anthony holds a Business Administration Diploma from the Native Education Centre and has served on various boards, including the Penticton Indian Band Development Corporation.

Ieronhenehtha (Nehtha) Lazore has been a part of our team since the summer of 2023, when she joined us as an intern. Over the past year, she has demonstrated exceptional dedication and talent in her role. We are thrilled to announce that Nehtha has accepted a full-time permanent position as a Junior Communications Officer. She recently completed her communications studies at the University of Ottawa and is eager to bring her fresh perspective and enthusiasm to our marketing and communications strategies.

Oriyomi (Yomi) Bakare joined us in May 2023 in a contract role and has quickly become an invaluable asset to our team. His expertise and commitment have greatly contributed to our financial operations. We are pleased to announce that Yomi has accepted a full-time permanent position as Controller. With his extensive experience and proven track record, Yomi will continue to play a crucial role in managing our financial health and supporting our mission.

Finally, after a months-long search, Ahmad Sultan started at the Fund in early June as Junior IT Analyst. Ahmad comes with a solid background in IT support and cloud operations, making him a valuable addition to our team. We look forward to his contributions and are confident that he will play a key role in supporting our IT initiatives.

Welcome aboard!

Spotlight on Brent Hardisty

In recognition of National Indigenous History Month in Canada, we want to emphasize the importance that culture plays in the Fund’s vision of First Nations prosperity through homeownership. This is why we have commissioned our first piece of art, produced by the incredibly talented Brent Hardisty, to reflect this.

Born and raised on Sagamok First Nation in Northern Ontario, Brent draws inspiration from his Anishnaabe roots and the iconic woodland style pioneered by Norval Morrisseau. His works are featured on his Instagram page. Entitled “Wiigwaam – Home,” the piece beautifully captures the essence of Indigenous culture and spirituality by featuring a man dreaming and manifesting his future, envisioning the perfect home for his family. This piece can be viewed on our social media channels and on our website.

We hope this newsletter keeps you informed, inspired, and engaged with the ongoing work of the Fund. Your support and commitment are instrumental in creating sustainable housing solutions for First Nations communities.

Should you have any questions, feedback, or exciting partnership opportunities you’d like to explore, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us. We’re here to listen and collaborate, and you can contact our team at info@fnmhf.ca.

Stay in the loop and never miss a beat by connecting with us on social media. Follow us on social media (links below) for real-time updates, behind-the-scenes glimpses, and thought-provoking content that sparks meaningful conversations within our community.

If you’re enjoying the insights and stories we share in this newsletter, why not share the wealth? Invite your friends and colleagues to join our community by subscribing to the newsletter. Together, we can create an even richer exchange of ideas and experiences.

Copyright (C) 2024 First Nations Market Housing Fund. All rights reserved.