(Nekaneet First Nation – Treaty 4 Territory) It was a sunny warm spring day when Joanne Mosquito from Nekaneet First Nation lost her home to a fire.

“We were just in the house and we stepped out to do some running around. Thankfully, no one was in the house when it burned down,” she said.

She and her young family watched as her house burned.

“This is the home where we raised our girls, we had many memories in that home.”

Since that day, she has worked to rebuild her home.

On December 19th, an emotional Mosquito, along with 13 other citizens of the Nekaneet First Nation, were presented the keys to their new homes during a gathering hosted by Nekaneet First Nation Chief & Council. Along with the keys, Joanne was also awarded a reprieve on her lease for one year, so she can bounce back from losing her home and all of her belongings in the spring fire.

“These homes were not made with INAC money, they were made on our own with our own source revenue for our people living on-reserve,” stated Chief Jordi Fourhorns.

“We are proud to be able to do this for our First Nation. At times like this, when we have the means to do it, we need to act. We simply cannot wait,” he added.

The 14 fully furnished units first began as an idea over four years ago. Chief Fourhorns and Council decided to move forward with finding ways to provide housing for their citizens. The call was put out to contracting companies across central and western Canada, and ultimately, Nekaneet First Nation decided to partner with Expert First Nation, a modular home building contractor out of Calgary that specializes in building quality modular homes with First Nations.

“We were not able to do this alone. When I first started on this project, I knew nothing about housing and leaned heavily on our building partner Expert First Nation. The guys with Expert became more than just a partner to our community, they became our friends and family,” said Selena Taypotat, project manager.

She also went on to explain that it was through partnership that this was accomplished. Taypotat explained, “Together with BMO, we were able to do this for our people and those most in need.”

The selection process was one that the citizens of Nekaneet took close to heart and came together to work on. “The process was not easy, we had many applicants, but we formed a committee of our community leaders, elders, and prominent citizens to help us decide who will get a home. We will continue to work toward helping our people, and I have to say, our people have been incredibly patient, and I am genuinely thankful for their trust and patience,” explained Taypotat.

 

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