Transcript

[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.