Heiltsuk Nation

Haítcístut is a Heiltsuk word that means ‘to turn things around and make things right again’. Founded on the Heiltsuk Potlatch concept, Heiltsuk and the Federal and Provincial Governments have entered into the Haítcístut Reconciliation Process, to negotiate a new Government to Government relationship. This process focuses on the social wellbeing within the following areas:

  • Infrastructure and housing
  • Employment, training, and economic development
  • Education
  • Health and wellness
  • Lands and environment
  • Self-governance
  • Marine and fisheries

Nestled on the central coast of B.C., Bella Bella is home for the Heiltsuk Nation. Over the past 20 years, the Heiltsuk population of over 2,400 members has grown steadily, however the population of Bella Bella has remained fairly constant due to the lack of available housing. The local economy is growing and many Heiltsuk members who are living outside the village would like to return home. The community is facing the joint problems of not enough housing and a building stock that falls into premature disrepair.

The reconciliation process was seen as an opportunity to look beyond the general scope of how ISC delivers housing. The Heiltsuk Tribal Council reached out to the Indigenous Research Support Initiative (IRSI) to facilitate a housing-related research collaboration with the University of British Columbia (UBC) and for support to find implementation partners for the design and building needs for the Nation. The UBC research team began with a design phase which engaged the Heiltsuk Nation in a participatory process. Community consultation resulted in the identification of culturally relevant housing options.

As a first step, the community chose to proceed with a ‘tiny home’ project that would provide independent living options for Elders and other individuals, couples, and even young families. With IRSI’s support, the Heiltsuk Nation developed implementation partnerships with FPInnovations and Builders without Borders.

The Nation proceeded to offer four tiny homes for sale (approximately 384 sq. ft.) through a lottery application process held between August and September 2021. The building cost of each tiny home was $125,000.00. A new home subsidy of $55,000.00 was applied to each tiny home making the sale price $70,000.00. Lottery applicants were required to have their finances in place for the direct purchase of a tiny home, including a confirmation letter from their bank, should their application be drawn.

Heiltsuk Nation successfully launched their homeownership program with Fund-backing for all four loans for the tiny homes. Future phases of this project will address home designs for larger families using the established community engagement process.

Congratulations to the new homeowners!

Cree Nation of Chisasibi

Formerly the Island community of Fort George, the Cree Nation of Chisasibi (CNC) is the largest of the Cree coastal communities situated on the eastern coast of James Bay. The community and about 2,000 residents were relocated to the mainland between the years of...

Lac Seul First Nation

The Lac Seul First Nation is located in the northwest part of Ontario and is made up of three distinct and separate settlements – Frenchman’s Head, Kejick Bay and Whitefish Bay – with a total land base of 66,248 acres. The current on-reserve population is...

Membertou

Since a very young age, Ryan Ginnish, a Membertou member dreamed of building his own home. He knew exactly what he wanted for him and his family – a house different from the rest. Some of the choices Ryan and his wife Jacquie made not only are practical; they look...

Miawpukek First Nation

Miawpukek First Nation has the distinction of being the very first First Nation to apply to work with the Fund after we opened our doors in 2008, as well as being the first community to be approved for both a loan program and capacity development. Mi’sel Joe, Chief...

Mohawks of the Bay of Quinte

The Mohawks of the Bay of Quinte (MBQ) is in southern Ontario approximately 250 kilometres east of Toronto and 250 kilometres southwest of Ottawa. The Mohawks of the Bay of Quinte is the official band name, and the name of the reserve is Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory...

Nuxalk Nation

Like many remote communities, Nuxalk Nation, located in Bella Coola, B.C., was having difficulties developing and accessing skilled labour. The Nation identified the need for trades training that would develop new apprentices and construction trades training skills...

Seabird Island Band

“I want to have an impact on people and dream of setting a standard of what we can do as Indigenous People.” – Shawnrae Gabriel Shawnrae and Brandy grew up with similar childhood experiences. Both were from families with a single parent and both moved multiple...

Siksika First Nation

“Just follow your dreams, if you want something you go get it and it takes a lot of support from other people. Don’t give up. You have to keep going no matter what. There is also something that you are going to run into. You just have to push through, and you will...

Tobacco Plains Indian Band

Tobacco Plains Indian Band referenced throughout this article by their traditional name Yaq̓it ʔa·knuqⱡi ‘it. The journey of Yaq̓it ʔa·knuqⱡi ‘it in moving from Capacity Development ‘only ‘ to Credit Enhancement has been one that has demonstrated a clear community...