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In 2008, the Northeast Superior Regional Chiefs Forum (NSRCF), a collective of First Nations in the region, came together with the regional mayors group to have a discussion around the conservation economy leading to meaningful and community-directed change in the region. The aim was to adopt a policy of by, for, and with development within the region. We, as the people who live in the region, are the experts who know what we need and have the resources and energy to do what is necessary to make our region the best it can be.
Wahkohtowin was formed because the NSRCF realised that funding makes our efforts possible, so we needed a platform to make that happen.
Wahkohtowin is a Cree word meaning kinship or connectedness. As relational beings this addresses our connection to land, air, water, animals, and spirit. Our mission is to enable Indigenous communities to meaningfully participate within the forestry and economic sectors, ensuring that our Shareholder First Nations remain engaged, interested and affected, but most of all optimistic that they will take their place as land stewards.
With this mission and the guidance of an Elders Council, Wahkohtowin set out to address the housing crisis within our communities and sister communities. Rising up from that mission, we developed Tree to Home, an initiative that enables housing to be community-directed – Housing By, For and With Communities.
The Tree-To-Home project was accepted as one of 24 projects in the Indigenous Homes Innovation Initiative (IHII), a five-year $40M federal program funded by Indigenous Services Canada and delivered in partnership with the Council for the Advancement of Native Development Officers (CANDO).
With this success of our application we are now moving forward to bring affordable, safe, and well-built housing to our communities and beyond.
All my relations,
Chelsie Parayko – Tree to Home Co-lead