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Webinar 1: Overview of the Indigenous Homes Innovation Initiative

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[Joseph Kunkel:] Hello, welcome to the Indigenous Homes Innovation Initiative web series. I’m Joseph Kunkel, Design Director with MASS Design Group, and also a Northern Cheyenne Tribal Member from Southeastern Montana. We’re excited to share a series of webinars that will inform you all on how to propose ideas for this initiative, and I’m really excited that this initial webinar we’re inviting Natalka to the series, and I will let Natalka introduce herself.

[Natalka Cmoc:] Hi, my name is Natalka Cmoc. I’m the Senior Director at Indigenous Services Canada. I’m very excited to be here! I’ve been involved with this very innovative approach on doing programming with the Government of Canada, and we’ve launched this in April, and we’re here to answer any questions before the launch is closed on August 1st.

This is the first of the Webinars, they’ll be four altogether and are an opportunity for Indigenous Innovators who are considering to apply to learn a bit more about the initiative.

We’ve had a couple of questions, so we’re sharing with you in a more transparent way the kind of questions we’ve received so that we’re providing the same answers to everyone on the questions. Really, the initiative is about supporting new ideas that are driven not from employees like myself but are coming from Indigenous communities from across Canada, looking at various perspectives - rural, remote, urban and Northern - in various climates, to support ideas that would be coming from those communities.

[Joseph Kunkel:] Excellent, Natalka. I'm really excited about this Initiative, especially coming down here from the States, and just listening to what you all have been kind of up to in Canada, and how this has been structured. Some of my initial questions, or initial question is to talk a little bit about the overview of this initiative and maybe, to back up a second, I think maybe give an overview of what this webinar series will provide the applicant or the potential applicant. I think we’re going to try and outline over these four short ideas why it’s important to apply, how you can submit an idea, why you don’t need to potentially have a grant writer as part of your team. This is a supportive process, and maybe you could speak a little bit to the overview of this initiative and how a community might get engaged or submit an idea.

[Natalka Cmoc:] So the idea behind this is to look at ideas from the onset, and support these ideas. So an idea doesn’t have to be fully developed. It is not meant to benefit communities that have, for example, grant writers on their team to win over others, because they have put together a polished proposal. The idea here really is to support ideas that are the most interesting, that we haven’t up until now, been able to support. And we know for a fact, that we have received ideas that are fantastic, and because of the way our programs are structured we haven’t been able to support them. So, this is an opportunity to look at those ideas and be able to support them, even an idea that is very, very nascent and hasn’t had a lot of attention and hasn’t been developed fully. By providing an opportunity here, an Innovator along with their community or support could apply - and it could just be an idea, an idea on a paper napkin - but if it’s a good idea, it will be considered, and could be supported. So, the idea then would be supported by providing support to that Innovator by pairing them up with various partners - an Indigenous architect, perhaps, to be able to fully develop that idea. On the other hand, if you're an innovator and you have really good partners already lined up, that’s okay as well - your idea will also be considered. We’re looking at ideas from various, various stages, and all of them will be considered. It won’t be people like me that’ll be choosing this - I am here to support an Indigenous Steering Committee - very talented Indigenous professionals, from various perspectives in the Indigenous housing fields throughout Canada, that had been involved by supporting the design of this initiative and will be the ones selecting the innovators as well.

[Joseph Kunkel:] Yes, and as part of this web series, we’ll be interviewing and talking to some of the Steering Committee as part of the series so you will all be able to get a sense of their ideas and their aspirations for what is to come out of this Initiative. Maybe to jump into a little of the funding, in terms of how the Initiative is going to support the communities in terms of funding, and technical expertise, and technical capacity. I think that’s important to understand, and how this might be different from other initiatives that ISC has been focused on.

[Natalka Cmoc:] So the first stage will start in the fall - so when you’re applying, you’re actually applying for both stages. You have to have your application in by August 1. You could submit it online or you can courier it to us. And then the applications will be reviewed by the Indigenous Steering Committee and they will select 24 innovators to go into the first stage which we’re calling the Accelerator. The Accelerator is to fund a concept and develop that concept, and we don’t normally support the pre-design stage. And I think this is the really exciting part of this Initiative.

So innovators are selected, are given up to 18 months support with up to $350,000 value of support, and that support could be used to fund the community involvement, it's to support the various technical experts that would be supporting the innovator depending on what the project is. So each project will probably be tailored to what they need and what stage they’re at. Based on that, a package will be created for each unique idea. We’re also encouraging various partners to apply so if you’re - especially Indigenous professionals throughout Canada - so if you’re an Indigenous Architect or Engineer, please do submit your idea. You can be partnered already with one project, and you can still be asked to support another project because what we’re really trying to support here is not a competitive process but rather a collaborative process, so we’re trying to support the good ideas, and that means that you could be involved in one project, you could be leading one project and supporting another project, because at the end of the day it’s about supporting new ways of doing things.

And in the Second phase - the build phase, we’ll start next Spring 2020 - and that is to make sure we have projects go all the way to build. And we’ll select 15-24, and when I say we, again, I mean it won’t be me selecting them, it will be the Indigenous Steering Committee, that will select 15-24 to go to build, and each will have up to $2,000,000. If the project is over $2,000,000, we are also looking for social financing. Working with various organizations in Canada, and there are many in Canada that have already declared wanting to be able to support this, that would be looking to add financing, or add funding to the project. So don’t worry if you have partially funded projects - there’s no limitation, the only restriction we have is that if it’s something already developed or done, we can’t fund that, but if it’s an idea that’s still in development and you have received other funding, we can stack funding.

[Joseph Kunkel:] That sounds really exciting, in terms of how the funding is pretty flexible, from what it sounds like, and the ability to mix and match a little bit and try and understand how that can be shared and also amplified with outside capital. That ability to make the project even more impactful. What really gets me excited about the Initiative is that in many ways, it’s opening up the doors to potential pots of funding in many ways - is that how I’m hearing it?

[Natalka Cmoc:] That’s correct, and also just to reassure the potential applicants, the innovator stays in control, though. The innovator's the one who is driving their own project forward so they will have a say obviously, of who’s on their team, who can provide additional support in terms of capital. It’s not decided for them - not in the least, they are the drivers on this project, but we are compiling various experts that they will be able to select from very good organizations that have already submitted their interest to support various projects, but it will be up to the innovator to put their teams together.

[Joseph Kunkel:] That sounds really exciting, especially this idea of a bottom-up process, allowing the community or applicant to really be in control of that process - we don’t see a lot of that here in the States, so that’s very exciting. I wanted to move on a little bit to the applicant and the eligibility of the applicant. Who might that applicant be? Who can apply and maybe talk a little about those categories of those individuals, or communities, or the organizations, I’m wondering if you can define that a little bit more?

[Natalka Cmoc:] The individual applying can be a representative of an entire group, could be a representative of their community, but it will be one innovator that will be funded including a stipend, right - so if they’re taking 18 months to develop their idea, they will receive a stipend to be able to support them through that process, but the applicant absolutely has to be Indigenous, so that means, First Nation, Metis, Inuit, on-reserve, off-reserve, urban - could be from various perspectives. That applicant could also be a representative of an organization as long as again, it’s an Indigenous organization - it could be non-profit, or it could be a private-owned organization as well. And like I mentioned earlier, an application could already come with partners, or at least some partners already there with the community that they’re supporting. We have to have a sense of what they will be working with throughout this application, but besides that, there are no other restrictions.

[Joseph Kunkel:] Yeah it’s important to underline the communities, in which this specific application is pertaining to - whether it’s rural, urban, off-reserve, on-reserve etc.

[Natalka Cmoc:] That’s right - and if they don’t have the full endorsement of a community at the onset, let’s say it’s a really nascent idea, they will be expected to get that community support before they go to build. I think that those applicants that already have community support will have a clear advantage because this is really meant to be community led all the way through, so the innovator is a representative of the community. They’ll be working directly and with the community throughout.

[Joseph Kunkel:] I’m working with communities, I often say ‘we as architects, we as planners, we as designers, we’re working with communities rather than for communities.’ And I think the Innovation Initiative really pushes the bounds of what that is and how communities are working together and working with the potential providers etc., so that’s great to hear.

[Natalka Cmoc:] And I’d like to just also stress that some of the eligible activities that will be funded, is so that the community can be engaged throughout. Again, this pre-design aspect is often not funded, but it will be through this initiative.

[Joseph Kunkel:] That’s great, and a lot of the times, as we see within Indian Country or within Indigenous communities, is really that pre-development component is so important to the overall success of the project and being able to propose an idea is really important. Moving onto this - we talked a little bit about rural, urban, on-reserve, off-reserve. Is there a targeted area of focus? Maybe if you could be a bit more specific about how this funding will be used and is there a targeted population, or so on and so forth?

[Natalka Cmoc:] We have six areas of focus, again these six areas were identified by the Steering Committee, and they recommended six areas. The first one is Traditional First Nation, Inuit or Métis Nation building styles and techniques.

It’s for the applicant to interpret what they mean by that, so we’re providing conceptual target areas but it’s up for the applicant to further refine what they mean by that in their project. So for this one, it could be interpreted as a culturally inspired design or it could mean using a traditional building technique or resources that they would like to highlight in their project. Or it could be a local material, for example, whether it’s a particular timber in the area, or limestone, for example - those are two ideas that we’ve heard.

The second one is: Using the home for empowerment, capacity building and support for local businesses.

And again this could be to emphasize sourcing local material or talent. So a lot of communities have particular artisans they want to feature, so this could be a particular opportunity to feature that within their design.

The third area is: Support for vulnerable populations. And again, this is for the community to define and depends on what that means to their communities. I have heard some communities define this as their youth or particular youth at risk they want to support, but then again whether it’s on their traditional territories, or whether it’s supporting their own community in the urban centre, this is where they have the flexibility to define them. Others have wanted to target elders - making sure they have the ability to live at home as long as they can - again, that could be another way you could interpret that. But it’s for the community to showcase their ideas and something unique here.

The fourth area is: Culturally-inspired urban spaces. The department has traditionally been limited in how they can support this. So we have built in the terms and conditions with the Privy Council, to make sure we can support some of these ideas, and again it would be for the Indigenous community to define how they would like to represent housing in urban centres, and we know this is a real challenge for a lot of communities, so again this could be an idea to propose something forward.

The fifth area is: Safety, security, and accessibility. And this could be to make sure that housing could be accessible for their entire population, or a particular subset of their population. And the last category is: Energy independence and efficiency! (SLIDE) This is often a very expensive initiative, so if a community or an individual innovator has an idea they would like to prototype or test, this would be the initiative to try this. Again, we’re partnered with some universities that are interested in exploring these new ways of doing things, so a project could be a prototype to test something that would often not be considered in a lot of projects because often we’re looking for cost-effectiveness - but if a project needs to be tested or prototyped, this might be a way to do that.

I know that the Steering Committee is also looking for reliability so depending on your project you might either want to feature why this is worth prototyping, or the opposite, and say why your idea is worth testing to replicate in other areas.

[Joseph Kunkel:] That’s great, it's good to spell that out and try and understand how and why an application could be successful.

We’re coming up around 20 minutes, and I wanted to sneak in some potential questions that have been coming in from various communities, and a few sample questions that might be easier to talk about. So I’m going to ask a couple of questions to you, Natalka, and maybe you can respond and elaborate more. So a question that we’ve seen come in (Q&A SLIDE)

“My community has already received money from another program for our proposal, would we still be eligible?” NC: There are no stacking limits for this initiative, therefore your project would be eligible, and could be considered under this initiative. However, funding will not be provided for work that has already been completed. That’s the only limitation - if something is only in development, it will still be considered.

[Joseph Kunkel:] I mean, that’s great, the ability to amplify a project's impact - that might be in development, that might be an amazing idea but the ability to amplify that is exciting. Another question, “My community’s project is fairly developed and won’t need the Accelerator to be built; can we move straight into the Implementation Phase?”

[Natalka Cmoc:] Yes, the Indigenous Steering Committee will look at various ideas, and build support based on how developed the project is. We said up to 18 months, that doesn’t mean that every project will need 18 months in that phase. Some could move really close to the build, and maybe just have a month, for example. I think projects will still be encouraged to at least spend and take advantage of what the accelerator stage will offer, because you will have access to various talent across Canada that could still add value to your project. But each project will be tailored to that particular case.

[Joseph Kunkel:] So, again, uplifting and talking about the flexibility of what this Initiative is trying to push forward.

[Natalka Cmoc:] I’d just like to say that one of the things we hear from various communities, very often, is that they can’t afford some of the Indigenous architects that work for the private sector. Through this initiative, we have Indigenous architects that would be providing their time or are funded through the initiative so you would have this opportunity to work with an Indigenous architect, or an engineering firm that could add to the project - even if it’s just to consult with them. It’s an exciting opportunity.

[Joseph Kunkel:] Moving on to my next question that I have: “What happens if we have an existing partnership with an outside organization? Would we be able to bring that person or organization to the table?”

[Natalka Cmoc:] Absolutely. Again that’s a project that’s thought through and has already developed certain partners, that would be taken into consideration and the Accelerator support would be adjusted. Of course, it would be a conversation with the Innovators, with their ideas selected, they would have a conversation with the steering committee on what they would like to include as part of that phase.

[Joseph Kunkel:] So a little bit of matchmaking?

[Natalka Cmoc:] Yes!

[Joseph Kunkel:] So the last question: “Do ideas need to be unique to my community to be considered Innovative under this program?”

[Natalka Cmoc:] I think they’re going to be looking for different and something new, so the more unique or pushing the barriers, the more likely you will have a better chance. That would be my advice - I think we are going to get great ideas! I do think also though, you’ll see in the application that there’s a place to indicate if you’d be willing to work with other Innovators that might have other very similar ideas. Again, the idea with this is to really stimulate the innovation in the field here. Let’s say you have a project coming from a community in Northern Canada, and one coming from BC for example, and they’re looking at exploring a very similar idea. There could be an opportunity there to bring those two projects together so that they could build off of each other in a collaborative way. They could both be considered and encouraged to work together in a way that makes sense.

[Joseph Kunkel:] Right, that’s great. Natalka, thank you for going through this. I think this is very helpful - it’s helpful again for me to hear, and I’m sure it’s helpful for all that are listening. Are there any last comments that you’d like to share, or any other information?

[Natalka Cmoc:] On the website, there is a place where you can put in your questions, so if there are additional questions, or if this conversation has led you to further questions please don’t hesitate - we will answer all questions!

[Joseph Kunkel:] Excellent, and I also wanted to share again that this is the first of four webinars that we’re putting out there so that the viewer can put together a successful application. So we’ll interview Indigenous architects, Indigenous developers - coming up with some innovative ideas, hopefully, you can find inspiration from them. So we’re excited to share more information from upcoming webinars, so please look out and please, if you have any questions, feel free to reach out to the Indigenous Homes Innovation Initiative directly. Thank you all, and thank you, Natalka!

[Natalka Cmoc:] Thank you, Joseph!

Webinar 2: Project Purpose, Impact and Innovation

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[Joseph Kunkel:] Hello all and welcome back to our webinar series for the Indigenous Housing Innovation Initiative. I’m Joseph Kunkel, a member of the northern Cheyenne Nation in southeastern Montana. Today we're going to be talking a little bit about the purpose, impact and innovation around projects that have been built to date, and looking at ways housing development can lead to significant positive changes within your own community. I'm really excited to have today Dr. Patrick Stewart, Luugigyoo, a member of the Nisga'a Nation in northwestern British Columbia, an architect and Adjunct Professor at the McEwan School of Architecture at Laurentian University. Welcome Patrick. And we have Dr. David Fortin, a member of the Métis Nation of Ontario, and Associate Professor and Director of the McEwen School of Architecture in Sudbury, Ontario. If there is anything I missed, Patrick, would you like to introduce yourself or talk a little bit more about your background?

[Patrick Stewart:] Sure, and thank you, Joseph. Good morning, everybody. As Joseph said my Nisga'a name is Luugigyoo, which means Calm Waters of the killer whale house of Daxaan, and Nisga'a village of angooskw”. I'm an architect who has 25 years’ experience operating my own firm and I’m glad to be here.

[Joseph Kunkel:] Excellent. David, is there anything you want to add?

[David Fortin:] Not much. I would just like to say good morning to everybody, or hello. I'm a Red River Métis, who grew up in Saskatchewan, born in Calgary and my dad's family are actually Whitfords so my last name is adopted. But yeah, my home region is in the prairies of Canada and I've been out here for six years teaching at the McEwan School of Architecture and that's where we stand. I also practice as an architect, but it’s pretty minimal these days given my administrative responsibilities.

[Joseph Kunkel:] That's great. I'm really excited for our conversation today and really excited to dive into it. I think between the two of you, we’ve got a lot to share in a short amount of time. So I guess we'll jump right into it and talk a little bit about past experiences and the work that you have been doing both professionally and within academia and how we can really think about how we can progress tribal housing around this initiative. And so with your years’ of experience, if we could maybe chat a little bit about a project that you've worked on in the past, and maybe just use that as an example for how we might think about this initiative. David, I'll allow you to dive in.

[David Fortin:] Sure. So I'm not going to speak about my own work in this part, but what I thought I would start with is just talking about the studio I ran last year, which Patrick participated in a little bit. The theme of that graduate studio was architectural listening. And this idea of what it means to be a designer who is able to sit in a group of people and contain their own ideas of their own approaches to design, and withhold that until you really listen to the members of the community. For Indigenous housing, each community is so unique and they have a lot of knowledge and wisdom within themselves. And that's a really difficult thing. It's something that I think a lot about in terms of architects these days. There's a bit of a misconception, I think, that a good designer can just land in any context and respond effectively. And to some degree that may be true. But for me it's always a question of what kind of feedback are you getting for people? How long do you spend with people? How much of that cultural impact are you bringing into your designs and how willing are you to adjust your entire approach to thinking about what design is in response to what those community values are? So it's maybe a bit obvious, but I do think Douglas Cardinal is a great example for this Because he's well known for his iconic buildings, but it's actually been the community work that I think is the strongest, in some ways, when he talks about the Oujé-Bougoumou Village that he worked on in Quebec. Whenever he presents that - housing is included, but it's not included as a separate entity. We like to think, we like to categorize houses as this thing. And that's really a western idea of those property lines. You design this object that's in that space or itself. But what I like when Douglas talks about housing, it's integrated. What's the use of design and a really great house if down the street your administration building is a prefab steel, the standard shed building beside it is your ice rink, which is falling apart? For me, this idea that housing is not a series of objects but it's a collective activity. That requires a broader idea of what housing is in terms of jobs and economy and community building, all of that is integrated. And then more specifically, an example from Douglas’ that I really appreciate, David, when he shows it, is the Kamloops Indian band where he talked about the cul-de-sac. They had designed its cul-de-sac and then the grandmothers and women looked at that and they talked about how it doesn't work because all of the yards were facing radially outwards and the houses were on the inside. And so what I thought was really powerful is Douglas just inverted that. So the houses were on the outside of a circle. The backyards were all forming a common space in the middle and so therefore they can all kind of share each other’s space and watch over each other's children as they play in the backyard. I mean, that's a direct result. You can see it in the drawing of somebody who's listening to people and meeting their needs and not putting their own preconceptions in place. For me, housing really comes down to how well you're listening and how well you can change your design path.

[Joseph Kunkel:] That's brilliant. I love that kind of notion housing is complex, community developments are complex and it's all interrelated. I think you said it really well and thank you for those examples. Patrick, what are your thoughts?

[Patrick Stewart:] What David was talking about, it gives me a lot to think about. So whether it's like David talking about Douglas’ project, Oujé-Bougoumou, I think that was a very special kind of project because he had the latitude to design so much of the community. I'm finding on the flip side, working in an urban context, for example, in Vancouver we're bounded on all four sides by streets and no property lines, those kinds of things. And it is very much a challenge to try to bring all your client needs, all of the cultural needs into a project in the city. I find that there's a lack of understanding by people in the city, by city staff, by planning. One of my projects was the Dave Pranteau Aboriginal Children’s Village. We took, I think it was in excess of two years or three years to get it through City Hall, just because of the design, massing, colours, all those kinds of things. We were trying to express the west coast village and City Hall and got exasperated. I think they said, you know, that condo building across the street, it's just a grey three-story condo. They said, just make it look like that. And then ‘everything will be good.’ We didn't do that, but that was where their thinking was. So that's something we run into time and again. With so few of us Indigenous architects in the country, the impact is a challenge. Canada is a big country and we have 15 or 16 registered architects across the country. It's not like we have dozens that we can rely on. So I think that makes it difficult. We're practicing in isolation, in a sense, in whatever we do. So that's got to change. And I think what's happening at the McEwen School of Architecture is helping that for sure. The work at McEwen is really bringing students along and that's what we need.

[Joseph Kunkel:] Yeah. Building on some of the comments you made, David, and the work that you've been doing, Patrick, I'd like to kind of maybe dive a little deeper in this conversation around listening and the importance of living spaces. How would an applicant or a community - what is the importance of them voicing or elevating that conversation into their application? I want to make sure that we're thinking critically about the culture of the community and the place and the tangent to listening and that ability to kind of understand that it's about these spaces that we're creating that relate to our culture and context. And maybe if we can unpack that idea a little bit and move away from the house as a building and the ‘this as a home or a place’ and how it interconnects with the community itself.

[Patrick Stewart:] Sure. I could take a quick crack at that. One of the things that I've found is participation at the community level is very important. Where, the more broad-based we have in the project, I mean in terms of community engagement, it strengthens the project. So it just depends on the community. So going into the community, not every community is the same. We have to, as we go in to working in a community, understand and acknowledge the structure of the community, the protocols, so that we are working with the system as opposed to against it. One community I worked in had a governance system that was by family. So there were seven main family groups in the community and each family had a representative at council and when we were doing some planning in the community, they chose representatives from their family groups to form these planning committees. That was very successful. We've got a lot of participation. So, each family group would forward their ideas and the representatives to bring it together. That ended up being a very strong community plan that had support throughout. We worked on it. I think it took a couple of years. By the end, everybody was buying into this community plan and because it was community based, the representatives at the planning committee, they all ran for council. And they all got in and they became sort of the new governance structure in the village. And to me that was a very strong example of what can happen in the community having that broad support.

[Joseph Kunkel:] Excellent. Okay. David – is there anything you'd like to add?

[David Fortin:] Yeah, so one of the things that I am working on right now, Patrick is going to be part of this project as well. So, in a good way, the National Research Council approached me about northern/remote Indigenous housing in Canada. The initial ask there was in an open way, you know, how can we get five houses designed that could go in the book, that could be built across northern Canada? Well, I mean, he was uncomfortable with that proposal as well, but asking me, you know, what's the advice on that? And I said, I'm not interested in working on providing five houses to be replicated across the north. That's the same story that's been happening. So what I said is I would be happy to work on five model processes, whereby communities are meaningfully engaged and the house is specific, or the housing strategy is specific, to that community only. And then we put those in the back of the book and we show what can be done when you engage with communities in meaningful ways. So out of that, I formed an advisory board, which various colleagues sat on and I'm working now. Alfred Waugh is is doing one. And what I tried to do is kind of match Indigenous architects who regionally have lived experience. You know, they may not be from that community, but they're relatively close. So Alfred grew up in Yellowknife and so he's working with a community in the Northwest Territories, a fly-in community. Patrick and Kelly Bapts will be working for a community near their home communities. Kelly is from that community. Eladia Smoke is working in a northern Manitoba community. And then Brian Porter from Two Row is working with a northern Ontario community. I'm sort of trying to make a statement with a project that I'm not the authority voice for those communities, and so try to match people that have lived experience. I can go into a community and do extensive engagement, what I would propose in recommendations, like my proposal, which ended up tripling their initial budget. As I said, architects can't fly in for an afternoon, for an hour and then go back home and design a house and then bring it back to the community and expect that to work. So I said from day one, the first visit should be four to five days a community and the next visit, after a month or two of working on the plan, go back to community. Check, did you hear right? Go back, spend another few days. In the course of those two visits, there's feasting as much as possible. Like Patrick said, making sure there's a budget for a community liaison person who knows which elders to talk to, who are the political people that need to be involved. Someone that from community helps coordinate the visit. Where should the food come from? How do we involve the community? How do we involve children? You know, intergenerational. So it really becomes a community process of feeling engaged in it. And in the end, I mean, of course I care, I love architecture, but it doesn't matter to me what the house looks like at the end. As long as it technically responds to what it needs to do and the community feels that they were consulted adequately in that process, then it’s starting a movement. And so for me it again goes back to that complexity thing and encouraging the design process to respond to that complexity. You know? So you've got Alfred out on the ice, doing ice fishing, he's hanging out there eating food together. Yes. There's housing as part of this, but there’s also many more gains to all these people. What are their requirements when they come home from hunting, right? What isn't responding to what they do in their house? And you just simply can't diagram that on a short visit. You need to spend some time there.

[Joseph Kunkel:] Yeah, that's exciting. I mean it becomes not necessarily architecture with a capital ‘A’, it’s architecture as a process and I think that is exciting. And to kind of pull the applicant away from the idea of proposing a building or proposing a ‘thing’ like a physical thing is exciting to kind of think conceptually about. And I think that's really innovation and to push the bounds of what we're thinking around innovation and what is Indigenous innovation. I think that's the conversation that we want to get to, as part of these applications and pushing the bounds of what that might mean. Right?

[David Fortin:] Totally. Yeah. I actually think it just isn't as a quick example. And then, I had either forgotten or didn't know that you were from the northern Cheyenne, but when I was teaching in Montana, for quite a few years, I guess it was about three years, I worked with Red Feather out near Lame Deer—is that the word?

[Joseph Kunkel:] Yeah.

[David Fortin:] All right. So, that Straw Bale building really changed my opinions about a lot of this stuff because I thought it was really well organized where at the end of the day you might look at it and say, oh, it's a house, right? It's high performing, but if you piece together everything about that, right, they're using straw from Montana. I mean, it's a good place to get straw. It environmentally performs well. But then it was the process of the family and the community building that thing together. Right? So the Red Feather group, I don't know if you've participated in those builds, but you have volunteers from all over the country, and you're all camping at the site of the house. And then they included high school kids to come build. They had tech students from the community, like college tech students there, building. They had two guys on site for the whole three weeks that we're there, who were freshly out of jail, who are reintegrating back into the community. And then in the evenings, we had sweats. We, they gave cultural lectures. And so that was cultural sharing. You share food with the family. I just think ‘wow.’ The complexity of all those layers that to me helps me understand what housing can be.

[Joseph Kunkel:] Yeah. I mean when you think about it and you think about incarceration, you think about community engagement and you think about all the issues that we see on our reserves, on our reservations here in the States and very similar to Canada. The more and more I think about this Initiative, I get a better understanding there. The issues are very, very similar and the potential is very similar and I'm very optimistic how this innovation challenge, this innovation initiative can really kind of push the bounds of what we think about Indigenous housing, Indigenous communities and so on. Oh, that's exciting. Patrick.

[Patrick Stewart:] Definitely interesting to see what ideas come in the initiative.

[Joseph Kunkel:] Yes. And as we, I mean, our conversation has gone by really quickly where we're coming up on 20 minutes already and I just wanted to kind of thank you both for your time and sharing some of these stories of inspiration and work that has been done in the past. Because I think building on this, if we're able to get these ideas out there and push the bounds of what these communities can potentially do, that will be pushing how we think about our communities. Any kind of last comments, thoughts, that you put out there to the applicants that are putting together proposals for this initiative?

[David Fortin:] I would just go back to, again, I'm kind of repeating myself, but you know, after reading, the non-Indigenous world, there's people who produce good stuff. I'm thinking about housing, like Christopher Alexander's The Production of Houses. I mean, that's an old book, but has relevance to this conversation that the house is not an object. You have to think about who’s building it. Where's the material coming from and how is the community involved in all steps of that, including the design process. If any of those things are missing and the community doesn't have their hands in on that, including the profit, I would say. Housing we know is an economic generator and the house model works as an economic generator in us, a kind of consumer society, very well, but on reserves and in remote locations, it doesn't function the same. So you have to rethink about what is the house wired into and what network it serves and make sure Indigenous people are at the core of that and they're the ones benefiting from it at all levels. That's the key to this. I think.

[Joseph Kunkel:] That's great. Yeah. Thank you. Thank you. And Patrick, any last thoughts?

[Patrick Stewart:] Yeah, I think if the project ideas are truly community based that will sort of flip the conventional procurement process on its head. Typically on reserve, Indigenous Services Canada provides dollars and the community hires a contractor and they build houses out of a catalog kind of a process. And we've seen the results from coast to coast to coast, and they aren’t happy results. And I think we have an opportunity here to really engage the community and challenge the community or the communities can challenge us, to, you know, rethink the process of design and construction.

[Joseph Kunkel:] Thanks. And again, thank you both. Thanks to all the viewers for kind of taking on and doing this, this recording and just, as a key takeaway, I'm just remembering that this is one in a four-part series. There are three other webinars that we've been recording to help you all in this process of replying to this RFP. So I'm looking forward to seeing how this innovation initiative moves forward. And David, Patrick, thank you for your time. Thank you.

Webinar 3: Innovative Financing for Project Sustainability

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[Joseph Kunkel:] So hello again and welcome back to our webinar series for the Indigenous Housing Innovation Initiative. I'm Joseph Kunkel, Design Director at MASS Design Group and leading a portfolio of work called Sustainable Native Communities. I'm a northern Cheyenne tribal member and a designer working here, with our tribal communities, in the States and excited again for this Webinar and our guest this time around, Sean Willy. Sean, thank you for being with us today, and I wanted you to introduce yourself.

[Sean Willy:] Thanks Joseph. Glad to be here. I'm a member of the Métis in the Northwest Territories. I have worked in the resource industry for over 20 years now. I'm President and CEO of Des Nedhe Development. It's 100% owned Indigenous corporation, owned by English River First Nation, northern Saskatchewan. I've been here about two years and happy to be a member of the Indigenous housing innovation team.

[Joseph Kunkel:] Excellent, excellent. And why don’t you… Let's maybe start with being part of the steering committee and why you kind of chose to be part of that steering committee.

[Sean Willy:] Well, just growing up, throughout northern Canada. You just experience Indigenous communities, Métis, Inuit, First Nations communities. Looking at the housing challenge and wanting to be a part of a team that could innovate, that challenge really resonated with me because I think better housing leads to healthier, safer, stronger families. More vibrant communities. It allows for education and again, health and well-being, because our communities are facing the challenge, right? And I think it's really impacted the culture of the people. And people look at our communities as poverty and that's the culture and where I see in many who are from the community a vibrant Indigenous culture. But I think it all starts with a safe, healthy, warm place to rest. And secondary to that I see housing as an opportunity for economic developments. And I think economic development supports the path, the self-determination. Because if you don't create your own economic development opportunities and create your own source revenue, you have to depend on others and that does not lead to self-determination.

[Joseph Kunkel:] Right. Right. And that's exactly why we're talking today is to talk a little bit about economic development, sustainable financing methods and ways to really think about how, as Indigenous peoples, we can start really thinking critically about sustainable futures from a kind of funding/financing standpoint. And, this conversation with you I think is really important as we think about this initiative in particular and how we're thinking about housing, housing development and so on. So maybe just to really kind of dive right into it and talk a little bit about project financing and procurement, and if you have some thoughts on why this is a core component, or a really important component of this initiative.

[Sean Willy:] Well, I think you start with where we're coming from. I think if you look at our communities, the money that is created with Indigenous communities, you’re looking at a seepage of upwards of 90% of those dollars going outside of the communities. And I think looking at housing in a way that's sustainable, that can create an economic development benefit for the community, and help keep some of that money within the community will only help on the path to self determination. And so we started with this sustainable housing. So communities I think traditionally have got a bucket of money and gone out and provided that money to an outside vendor, most likely to try to get the biggest bang for their buck. They got the cheapest houses, because our communities are under strict budget requirements and so there's one draw on the money that's going outside. Now instead of that, how do we build our own houses? Can we create economic development corporations to build houses? Can we support other Indigenous communities who've already created those companies? I think we need to start keeping Indigenous money in Indigenous buckets. Second, what do you use in your housing? So, you know, especially in Canada, there's a plethora of communities that are in the boreal forest. You've got others in zones where you can use materials from your local, traditional territory that help in your housing? You know, even up to blocking, the woods. Some communities that are owners in lumber mills and old lumberyards. What can you bring to the table as far as labour or supplies within community stores? And I think that's really taking it down to the grass roots and getting people involved in the housing. Too many times I've seen that, ready to move houses – RTMs – come in and they're just plucked on, it doesn't employ anybody, they’re not made in the community. No sense of pride, no sense of ownership. So that's, I think, where we need to start with economic development is in that supply chain. Where is each community, if they're not focusing on local, can they support another Indigenous community? And we have to put the jealousy aside and start supporting each other in this goal to be more sustainable in our housing. When I look at the next step, and you mentioned it, that there is the financing. And I know many communities are on a path of providing ownership opportunities to community members. I think that's where it starts with individuals getting involved in their own purchase of their own house or even starting with renting their own house. I think that's a conversation we need to have and we need to understand that it's not all going to happen at once. And I think you've seen communities across the country who have gone down this path with allowing members to purchase a house. Let's use on-reserve for example. It starts to create a wave and people, and there's just a sense of ownership from most families who own those houses. Yes, it does create some initial jealousy, but that goes away over time and creates a wave of additional people wanting to have that option of buying their own house and owning it and making it their own over time and creating wealth for your family so you can pass it down. But I think when you talk about innovative financing it has to start with individuals. Again, I caution that. I've run into many communities, this is, “well not everyone's going to be able to do that,” but it doesn't matter what culture and not everyone can do it. I think we have to get over that some are going to want to buy, some are going to want to rent and some are going to want to remain in the current system.

[Joseph Kunkel:] Right.

[Sean Willy:] Secondary, there's buckets of money out there right now, through lending agencies, CMHC on mortgages. Even with communities. I think communities should be well served at how they could support long-term mortgages of band members. Because I do think that the positives outweigh the negatives on those types of models.

[Joseph Kunkel:] Yeah, I think that's exciting. And you touched a little bit on innovative financing as it relates to sustainable development or supporting sustainable development for kind of long-term investment, right? This idea of making sure that we're building and we're thinking about building, that we're supporting our culture, our communities for the long term. Is there a project that comes to mind or is there a practice or advice that you might suggest to participants or potential people pulling together an application for this initiative?

[Sean Willy:] I would look to partner with other communities. I think too often we operate in silos and again, there is a bit of jealousy or competitiveness amongst our communities. But I would like to see applications that are multi-community, across nations. Right? So in the First Nation world, First Nations and Métis partner together, or if Cree and Dene or Saulteaux partner together with Anishinaabe. I think that would add value for my thing because I think that is again nations working together. I think what else would add value, how are you going to use a local supply chain, right? And multiply the money. So, if you're getting financing from different buckets to build a house, how do you make sure you, I use the word multiplier, so to add value. So are there carpenters, plumbers within the community that you can provide some of that money to? Who then will go out and hire additional people and put more funding within that bucket? Right? Too often we get these dollars from financing institutions to build houses and that money just seeps out words. So I'm going to be looking for innovative ways that when you're building the house. What's your local supply chain looking like? What's your Indigenous supply chain looking like? And then thirdly, the products we use in there, Joseph. So as I mentioned, is there going to be local content about different sustainable products the community’s using? Does an Indigenous entity own certain things that would be value added to this housing project, that could be part of those supply chain opportunities?

[Joseph Kunkel:] Yeah. And as you're kind of thinking about those projects, supply chains and financing, is there anything really about the procurement process that could elevate or influence or amplify the ability for a project to have further financial impact within the community?

[Sean Willy:] Well, I just think the procurement has to support Indigenous suppliers. We have to support those suppliers who are going to employ and train Indigenous people. I think too often, if you look at the current Canadian federal procurement, it's really a race to the bottom and the cheapest bid usually wins out. I think we have to add what's the best for society, what's the best for the Canadian taxpayer. And that’s employment of Indigenous people. That is a great way, really a great way to engage a segment of the population that has been engaged and we can train and add skills to these communities. The benefits are for their kids because if the kids don't see mom and dad going to work then their kids are more likely to want to follow suit. So I would add those things in our procurement. I want to see those as part of the applications. How are you engaging the local Indigenous population from a workforce strategy perspective?

[Joseph Kunkel:] Excellent, it’s exciting to think about this initiative as economic development and not just kind of providing housing. I think as this conversation develops, this idea around amplifying our ability to leverage our economies locally and think about it locally, think about it from a sustainable standpoint, and not just environmentally sustainable, financially and fiscally sustainable, and how we're building our economies locally as Indigenous peoples. I think the key takeaway is that this is not just about building, building for building’s sake or building to provide a shelter. It's really long-term sustainability. And I am excited when I hear you talk about really pushing the bounds of what that might look like within these Indigenous communities and through this initiative itself.

[Sean Willy:] Well, yeah, and you know, it's not “new.” It's reconnecting what was going on in the past with a bit more modern techniques. Right? But this is the way our communities operated a couple hundred years ago, before contact. So I think we can get back to this point and even take it to the next level and then, you know, start incorporating – some communities on an urban setting I think you'll see more of an inclusion of technology as well. But again, if we can add value and keep those dollars within our communities, that just adds a level of sustainability that we shouldn't be afraid of.

[Joseph Kunkel:] No, that's great to hear. And I think some of the key takeaways from this discussion around sustainability revolving and keeping those dollars within the community. The idea around hiring locally, elevating this past an actual development project is quite exciting. As we wrap up our session here are there any last thoughts? If applicants are pulling together the “perfect project,” what would you like to be seeing in a potential application?

[Sean Willy:] A healthy, happy, well-designed home. I think that's where we have to start, with the cookie cutter approach on houses. But again, I reiterate, I'm a champion of local economic development. I want sustainable, I want the smart house that's properly insulated, that's properly built, that has the input of the community, what their needs are. But on the same side of that is how do you engage the local workforce, the local suppliers, to make sure that those funding streams stay in the communities. So it's really all encompassing. It's got to be well thought-out. It can't be just one pillar. You've got to fit in. You’ve got to touch all five pillars. It has to be really well thought out and it has to be planned with other communities because I think we need to have a nation-nation dialogue and housing.

[Joseph Kunkel:] And that's innovation that's pulling on all those levers. It's pulling on finance. It's pulling on sustainability, thinking critically about design culture, community in place. And I think that those are themes that we've been hearing in this webinar series and I think all the steering committee's members that have been participating have really been thinking critically about how we're kind of working collaboratively and collectively and coming together to hopefully try and solve these issues around Indigenous housing. For me that's really exciting to hear how everyone's kind of defining that, and really thinking critically about development, about housing, about funding, about financing.

[Sean Willy:] Perfect.

[Joseph Kunkel:] Thank you for taking the time and getting us some of your thoughts and your visions for this initiative, and I really appreciate you participating. And for those that are listening, I look forward to our last session on this webinar series and look forward to seeing what prospers from this. So thank you all and we'll talk soon. Thanks.

Webinar 4: Support for Community Inclusion, Local Empowerment & Community Capacity

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[Joseph Kunkel:] Hello all, and welcome back to our Indigenous Homes Innovation Initiative webinars series. I'm Joseph. I'm a design director with MASS Design Group based in Boston, Massachusetts. I'm a Northern Cheyenne tribal member from Southeastern Montana down here in the United States working with Indigenous Services Canada on this initiative and excited to introduce Patrick Stewart and Will Goodon. They're going to introduce themselves. Patrick, do you want to take it from here?

[Patrick Stewart:] Thank you Joseph; Good morning everybody. My name's Patrick Stewart, and my Nisga’a name is Luugigyoo, A member of the Nisga'a Nation in Northwestern British Columbia. I'm an architect that's been practicing for 25 years on my own, and I am a member of the technical advisory on this initiative, and I’m pleased to be here.

[Joseph Kunkel:] Excellent. Welcome Will.

[Will Goodon:] Thank you very much to both you gentleman, and good morning. My name is Will Goodon, and I suppose I have a few hats. I'm the Minister of Housing in property management for the Manitoba Metis Federation, and as such I’m an elected representative for our Metis governments in Manitoba. Obviously I am associated with the Metis Nation, but I'm here today as a member of the Steering Committee for the Innovation Committee that will set up through Indigenous Services Canada. I’m very excited to be here. In fact, three or four days ago, I had a chance to chat with Minister O’Regan about it. He's still very excited about the opportunities that are going to be here for Indigenous in more communities. I'm very excited to be here, and to chat with you guys and to hopefully help folks out there, who’ve got ideas that bring them to us and that we can find as new and exciting ways for housing in our communities.

[Joseph Kunkel:] Excellent. Excellent. That's great. I'm really excited to be talking to you both and talking a little bit about why design is important, and about housing and innovation, how these processes can be integrated so that we're looking at solving the various issues that Indigenous communities are facing around housing, development, and so on. I wanted to dive right back into this, into this space around the importance of community engagement and how community engagement is a core part of these processes and the importance around community engagement. Will, could you talk a little bit about public engagements and the effects on community and what might be some good examples that potential applicants of this initiative might look towards integrating into their processes?

[Will Goodon:] Well, I have to give a lot of credit to the rest of our steering committee because we've had some very in depth discussions about this topic itself because there's a fear of there that some of the governance structures might be top down. We wanted to make sure that anybody who has an idea, even if it's on a napkin in a coffee shop, that they can bring this forward and that we won’t turn aside any good ideas. In fact we want to support those good ideas that might not have the technical expertise behind them. And I think that's what makes this initiative very, very unique. Of course we want all communities to be able to come forward and all types of Indigenous governance that Is out there. So if there is there's a Metis government or a First Nations government, or an Inuit government that wants to bring forth ideas and then we're all for that. But you know, even going down to youth, which is something that we talked about as well. Our youth have some ideas that, maybe aging myself a little bit as some of us old folks might be stuck in their ways a little bit, but our youth have these new ideas and they're reading new stuff and they're learning new stuff in school and they're the ones I think that could come up with some really out of the box ideas. We want to engage everybody and I think that is one of the reasons why we're doing this type of outreach as well as all of the, the new kinds of media outreach as well as the traditional outreach as well. This was a really, really important idea for us to get ideas out there and get them in so that we can take a look and see what stuff's floating out there because we might not even know what kind of ideas are floating out there. And until we get those in and be welcoming to everything then we'll be able to see some really cool stuff.

[Joseph Kunkel:] That's awesome. I'm excited about all those, and more. Patrick, I know you’re working with some Indigenous youth and, and the importance that Indigenous youth play in a, in a planning development design process. And I think if you could talk a little bit about those processes or how, it's not just about the build or physical and a lot of the times when we're thinking about community development or housing, it tends to be around “we need housing,” but the important implications that housing or the built environment actually structures that we need to kind of be moving past that. How might we think about those processes?

[Patrick Stewart:] One of the projects that I’m working on now involves youth who have aged out of foster care and we're working with them. Not so much about architecture, about housing - some of those youth don’t know where they're from. They age out of care and have no idea where they belong. That is a very sort of basic human need to know where you're from. It's been a very intense and I think that is a very fundamental principle for me. Working with the youth at that level, it's amazing to see their development, their thirst, their eagerness to know, and they’re very creative. To watch them engage in and try to figure things out. They’re young people, and very eager and I think that, as Will had said, they have a lot of ideas, a lot of potential. We're trying to harness that in a sense for what may come next. So, for example we're taking eight of the youth to Australia in 12 days to a conference at the University of Sydney. And I’m moderating a session about housing. But what is it that they want? What is it they see? What is it they need? It’s unscripted, and we’ve done a bit of a run here before we go. And, you know, they're just full of ideas and I think it's just great.

[Joseph Kunkel:] Yeah. As a potential applicant starts to think about their, their proposal in this larger initiative – this homes initiative – Will, I'll transition to you – these kinds of ideas like these ideas don't necessarily, from what I understand, need to be fully baked, right? The idea that this initiative also allows for communities to come together and really think about the potential for this to have the impact around these social issues that our Indigenous communities are facing. So maybe a question to you is how might a potential applicant think about this initiative as a, as a potential larger impact?

[Will Goodon:] Yeah. And I think both of you have touched on the idea that housing isn’t just a roof. It has all of these social determinants that will help families. Not only does housing provide —obviously safety is the number one concern — a safe, dry, warm place to live. But that leads to better education, that leads to better employment opportunities. The whole gamut of how families will be able to, be in a sacred place, but can move themselves forward and their children forward. And again, for a future generations. A lot of times we just think: “Okay, we'll put people in a house.” But we need to make sure that there's wraparound services as well. Whether that is the health issues for seniors. In particular, I know back home here in Manitoba that's one of the things when I'm looking at when we’re building seniors housing, I want to make sure that the minister of health, who is my colleague, is working with me as well. We need to leave ideas that are out there. They don’t need to be signed and sealed and delivered to us. Like I said before, they could be on a napkin. I think we also are taking video proposals as well. So if somebody wants to FaceTime a 10 minute idea of what's going on in their community. Those are the kinds of things that we will take and look at what the overall concept looks like and then, and then we can put the wraparound from our end. Whether it's the engineering side, architecture side, the design side, or even some of the other ideas that Maybe they haven't thought through, maybe there's two ideas that will fit well together. Then we can find partnerships between somebody who is in the community in Alberta and somebody using the community in Nova Scotia, but they are ideas work together. They might fit like a hand in glove and make the two projects better than this one. We're just looking for some great ideas.

[Joseph Kunkel:] Excellent. Excellent.

[Will Goodon:] Touching on the idea of technology, again, which would be great. However, if you're a thousand miles away from the closest person who can do the maintenance or the fixing if as a problem and you don't have access in the winter time for that person to even come up there or in the summertime, there's going to be problems if it's not thought-out in advance. But going back to my thoughts of local, building styles, there's a reason why a local building styles work locally and they have for hundreds of thousands of years is because it works. So when we're looking at these ideas of innovation, I think a mixture of the local traditional styles where you don't have to have a lot of a training because the people already know how to do it, and mix that with some of the technology.. I think it's important that these people, when they are putting together these proposals, that they have this idea of things that will work in their community. So that it's not a, it's not too far advanced where you can't, if something goes wrong, you can't fix it. But also at the same time take advantage of the really, cool stuff that's out there, Whether it's energy, whether that's, different styles of doors or windows. We want to, we want to take advantage of everything. But again, going back to community, it has to be the most important thing and the steering committee has said that from right from the very beginning. We want to make sure that, it's community-based, not Ottawa-based or Toronto-based.

[Joseph Kunkel:] And Patrick, when we're thinking about a question for the participants or potential applicants of this process, as a majority of these communities probably don't have access to an architect or they don't have access to trained, professionals and engineering, construction and so on, so forth, but there's an Indigenous knowledge within these communities. What might the importance of be around leveraging that Indigenous knowledge into their process or their application that they're not just going to propose a housing project, but a potential the housing project that integrates culture, integrates their community processes or in an Indigenous knowledge, how might a community do that?

[Patrick Stewart:] They can express the idea, just as you did now but they can express their vision of what it is that they're wanting to do, what they want to accomplish. As Will said, if they use video or they write it down or record somehow, then the idea is that as those ideas come in, those of us that are on the technical advisory outside of the team, we can look at those ideas and see how we can assist the community or move forward with that idea. Propose steps that they can follow or as Will said too, in partnership as those, those ideas can be brought together and you know, maybe we link them with somebody else or other organizations or other communities to build a stronger product. And that comes again when you're planning within the community, so you have that conversation, who's going to be building, are there resources in the community? Do they have trained people that can build this project? Or do we have to go outside the community? Where are the materials coming? Do they have a local forest that they can access? I've done that where, for example, Seabird Island - they had a tree forest license. They went out and chopped down all their trees that they needed for this project. They milled the trees themselves and Ah, sent it to a local First Nation at that time who had a kiln, dried them, brought them back. It was that a local labour construct, they did the whole thing themselves. Okay. Themselves that really congeals the community brings them all together and not every community is able to do that. That’s a conversation that you have early on to see where this where the sources are.

[Joseph Kunkel:] That's excellent. That's great. I know, I know coming up on, the hour and I just wanted to really kind of thank you both for participating in some of these questions and some of these processes. And what we're going to do is we'll be sharing this with a lot of the potential applicants and, and moving forward with that. Are there any kind of last thoughts, and within this session that you want to share or communicate to the larger community here?

[Will Goodon:] Well yeah, I just wanted to reiterate that and how important it is that there be no reluctance to throw their ideas out. The success that just to come out of this is based a little bit on the structure. And we worked hard on this early on when the steering community first met. And we had this synchronicity with the people from right across the country from one side to the other. We talked about the, the supports. But there's actual funding that's been allocated. So we have the main fund to help with the housing, but we have this supported fund as well that will help with the design of the engineering and the architects. Whether it's the legal side that needs to be wrapped into the agreement. There's monies available for that specifically. That's where these ideas that are just in your head, will get help getting to be on the paper. I'm really proud to say that this, this group has put that aside so that we can support really good ideas. And then of course, there's the good ideas out there that have all of the things that are wrapped into it and that's fantastic too. That makes the job easy for us, but we don't want to leave anybody out, sort of thing. And that’s really, really important to stress. Yeah, going back to the whole idea of the community, because when we have people who are working in leadership or working in a bureaucracy in a community, we need to make sure that we always remember who we're working for, for the elders. If it's for the youth, if it's for them, it should be with them. So if there's a elders complex that's being put together, then obviously you need to talk to those people who could potentially be the ones who live in there. For example, Manitoba Metis, you're looking at a group of homes in a small town in Manitoba. We need to make sure that the people who are going to be living in there, they feel comfortable with where the light switches are, with where the door handles are and how they're styled. I think a lot of those things, there might be small details, You never know the idea is you're going to get, unless you ask the people. And that's the other really cool thing about it. If it's for you, they're going to come up with some ideas that they've seen or heard of that animal will have heard of before, something that might be happening in Germany or it might be happening in New Zealand and they know about these things already. So I think talking to people and talking to the people who are going to be living there, using the facilities, using the homes, living in the homes. They're the ones that we need to talk to. So there's going to be some great presentations. There's going to be some great applications. But my thoughts are that we need to, you need to talk to those people who are going to be living there.

[Patrick Stewart:] And that comes again when you're planning within the community, so you have that conversation, who's going to be building, are there resources in the community? Do they have trained people that can build this project? Or do we have to go outside the community? Where are the materials coming? Do they have a local forest that they can access? I've done that where, for example, Seabird Island - they had a tree forest license. They went out and chopped down all their trees that they needed for this project. They milled the trees themselves and Ah, sent it to a local First Nation at that time who had a kiln, dried them, brought them back. It was that a local labor construct, they did the whole thing themselves. Okay. Themselves that really congeals the community brings them all together and not every community is able to do that. That’s a conversation that you have early on to see where this where the sources are.

[Joseph Kunkel:] Oh, that’s, really exciting. While I'm down here in the states, I'm kind of jealous very much about how you are approaching these processes around housing and in innovation. Patrick, any kind of last thoughts on your end?

[Patrick Stewart:] Well, I'm just thinking, any idea is a good idea for me. Any idea that anybody can think for their communities - there's a way to build it. There may not be a building itself. Maybe it will be a process that needs to happen in terms of capacity development or similar. We’re very excited to receive those ideas. When I think of the history in this country of colonialism and look in the east it's been, 500 years and in the West have been 150. That's been a planned project that is repressive and there's a lot of ideas that need to come out and, we're excited by it.

[Joseph Kunkel:] Excellent.

[Will Goodon:] I wanted to say also, the idea of innovation doesn't have to necessarily just be about new technology that could be possibly integrating traditional ways of building into this. I think that's an important one to stress as well because there's some things that we can learn from the past if we integrate them with current technologies. There can be some really cool and exciting stuff there as well. The traditional, building ideas, are also, very, very welcoming. In fact, we put them as a, as a point of focus for people to consider. So I just wanted to add that quick closing here.

[Joseph Kunkel:] That’s a huge point, and that we're kind of looking both towards the past and the future and how our Indigenous and analogist can be leveraged in a contemporary way. I think that's really important to, put up and lift up. I wanted to thank you all again. Thank you Will, thank you Patrick, and thank you all too, for all that are listening to this recording. So we'll talk with you all soon. Take care now. Bye bye.