The Dene Nation announces the unanimous support of a resolution titled Dene Nation Control of Housing in Northwest Territories by the Chiefs in Assembly at this week’s Assembly of First Nations Special Chiefs Assembly in Ottawa, Ontario.

Dene National Chief and AFN Regional Chief of the Northwest Territories Norman Yakeleya. Arthur C. Green/100.1 The Moose

“Dene families and communities are denied the same benefits of investments in affordable housing made south of 60 and this resolution will provide us with a new blueprint to obtain funding and implement a multi-year strategy to address this critical issue in our communities,” Dene National Chief and AFN Regional Chief of the Northwest Territories Norman Yakeleya said. “I want to thank the Chiefs in Assembly from across the country for their support. We will move forward to obtain the commitments and resources our people need to secure adequate housing and ensure federal commitments from Indigenous Services Canada and the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation.”

The 27 Dene communities in the Northwest Territories face high heating and maintenance costs, inappropriate housing design, no local or regional housing management capacity and a severe lack of affordable, adequate, appropriate, sustainable and quality housing. Arthur C. Green/100.1 The Moose

The motion was brought forth by Chief April Martel of K’atl’Odeeche First Nation, seconded by Chief Wanda Pascal of Tetlit Gwich’in Band to support the Dene Nation in its efforts to develop a nation-to-nation relationship with the federal government in Indigenous housing and related infrastructure that respects Dene rights.

A recent 2019 Community Survey shows that housing problems escalated in the last 10 years (from 39% of the NWT dwellings with housing problems in 2009 to 43% in 2019) and the commitment in Canada’s National Housing Strategy states by 2030, “Everyone in Canada has a home that they can afford and meets their needs.”

To date, the Crown has not met its obligations to provide quality housing to Dene citizens. The 27 Dene communities in the Northwest Territories face high heating and maintenance costs, inappropriate housing design, no local or regional housing management capacity and a severe lack of affordable, adequate, appropriate, sustainable and quality housing.

This results in massive overcrowding, the displacement of Elders to larger centres away from the support of their family and friends and a negative effect on the long-term health and well-being of communities.

[email protected]

Twitter.com/artcgreen