The purpose of this Kickstarter campaign is to raise funds to support an alternative housing model. The model provides an economically and environmentally sustainable solution to the housing crisis in Indigenous communities.
By supporting this Kickstarter campaign, you will help create an innovative alternative housing model.
One House Many Nations
The One House Many Nations campaign is a collaboration between Idle No More and the Decentralized Designed Lab. Lumber and other resources come from Indigenous lands and yet First Nation communities face a housing crisis and many lack basic resources. The One House Many Nations project is working on land protection by building an alternative sustainable model for housing and community.
History: Beginnings of the One House Many Nations awareness and action campaign
To bring attention to the housing crisis in Canada, Idle No More started the One House Many Nations awareness and action Campaign in October 2015.
Over 300 people and organizations donated money, supplies or volunteered time to the campaign. The campaign included videos, infographics, teach-ins and the construction of one house in one community.
A sustainable, off the grid and eco-friendly home was finished and was delivered to a family on the Big River First Nation in January 2016.
In a wealthy country such as Canada, it is absolutely possible to provide affordable, sustainable and alternative energy homes. In an era of reconciliation and “Nation to Nation” relationships the issue of shelter needs immediate solutions and attention. This is one of many amazing actions toward mitigating climate change and the First Nations housing crisis.
Opaskwayak Cree Nation (OCN) Housing Model
Our design proposal is not a building, it is a community housing system designed by its own community. It is a system that will not only shelter individuals but also provide shared amenities for families and communities. As a housing type we are working with communities to provide something that looks and performs differently; a new way of living based on traditional ideas applied to meet today’s unique housing and community challenges.
A two-part system
Our concept consists of two parts:
(1) a shelter, “body” module, which contains no active utilities but provides private space for sleeping, storage, and private recreation; and
(2) a service, “brain” module, which contains a kitchen, bathroom, shared dining area, and a shared common area.
Each of these units contain approximately 250 ft2 of enclosed space. In the future, 6-8 shelter modules would be configured around each service module to provide additional shared space that is partially enclosed.
Every day, various levels of government push forward infrastructure that relies on the continued use of dirty energy and extraction on Indigenous territories. It is never too late to turn this around, as Mohawk scholar Russell Diabo states, “the hope is in the people.”
By supporting this Kickstarter campaign, you will contribute to sustainable practices.
The Context For Crisis
The Housing Crisis
Across Canada there are approximately 108,000 housing units on reserve lands; 37 % of which need major repairs and 34% need minor repairs. In 2011, the Assembly of First Nations estimated that there was an 85,000-unit shortage on reserve lands.
Among Indigenous households living on reserve, one-third live below adequacy or suitability standards and have incomes insufficient to meet the cost of acceptable housing. 1 in 15 Indigenous People in urban centers are homeless.
The Opaskwayak Cree Nation has approximately 3,200 members living on reserve land who are supported by approximately 650 housing units. OCN’s waiting list for housing is now above 700 units, which if granted would more than double the housing infrastructure on the Nation.
The right to shelter is a treaty term and promise and is recognized by the United Nations as a basic human right.
Colonial Relationships to the Land
Indigenous lands were never ceded nor surrendered. Treaty terms and promises were negotiated, whereby treaties were meant to facilitate mutually beneficial relationships between Indigenous and colonial parties. At large, these terms and promises have been repeatedly violated resulting in vast disparities between First Nations and non-First Nations communities. Indigenous resistance to these continued violations, and efforts to educate about them, have been ongoing throughout the generations since the Treaties were signed.
Exploitation of land and environmental racism
Canada is now exceeding the Amazon rain forest in rates of deforestation. This form of exploitation is justified by governments and corporations under the guise of a need for competitive markets and increased shareholder profit margins. This narrative of greed propels actions that repeatedly result in systemic injustice- whereby the desire of corporations supercede the human rights of Indigenous peoples and lead to environmental destruction.
Another colonial relationship to the land is formed through settlement. This relationship carries with it selective historical amnesia for institutions that support it. (need a transition statement here- what is being forgotten, what is the amnesia leaving out) This relationship is justified through the concept of “property” which allows colonial forces to lay false claim on Indigenous lands.
Alternative relationships to the land are needed to inform how we extract from the land so that it can support the continuation of cultures attached to it.
By supporting this Kickstarter campaign, you will contribute to an alternative relationship with the land.
The history of colonial economics in North America is a story of 400 years of systematic exploitation. Terms like “profit” and “progress” often mask the reality of violence that colonial economics incur. This violence takes the form of destruction of lands and water with little regard for the people who have an historic, ancestral connection to the environment and who rely on it for continuity of culture, livelihood and language.
Our futures are not bound by our pasts. Consumer cultures that facilitate exploitive extraction of resources can be transformed to facilitate reciprocal relationships between resources and people in a territory.
If a fraction of all industrial production was aligned toward processing materials into houses for the people whose land the materials are being extracted from, imagine the potential. People could reconnect to each other and to the environment in meaningful, healthy ways. If we based production models on a healthy relationship produced between people and the land, we could disarm the violence of colonial economics.
By supporting this Kickstarter campaign, you will contribute to a realignment of power.
OCN Design Lab Community Workshops
On the 17th and 18th of February 2017, the One House Many Nations team hosted design workshops on the Opaskwayak Cree Nation (OCN) in Northern Manitoba. This two day workshop gave future residents agency to help to define how the proposed system should work and what it should include. Participants discussed and drew what their ideal house and/or village would look and feel like.
Toward an OCN House and Village System
Following the workshops the One House Many Nations team has been translating the ideas and desires expressed at the workshop into schematic designs that represent the community members whose ideas were the foundations for their design.
These design concepts will continue to be refined with the OCN community over the spring of 2017. In the Summer of 2017 the One House Many Nations team will work with community members to construct and prototype of the housing system and will transport it to Toronto in the fall of the 2017 for EDIT.
EDIT is an unprecedented 10-day international design festival that explores how design, innovation and technology can address today’s global issues and envision a world where all people prosper. In partnership with the United Nations Development Programme, Design Exchange will produce an immersive event that educates and engages some 100,000 visitors about inspiring solutions for the 17 Global Goals for Sustainable Development. EDIT will present a range of bold and dynamic programming within the main theme – Prosperity For All – and subthemes Care, Educate, Nourish and Shelter/Cities.
Following EDIT, the prototype will be shipped back to OCN and the One House Many Nations team will continue to improve and develop new systems with OCN and other communities.
It is our goal that this system will provide a model that First Nation and other communities can use to transform a housing crisis into economically and environmentally sustainable community living.
By supporting this Kickstarter campaign, you will contribute to systemic change.
Thank you for your support.