Canada First Nations seek CAN$5B from Ottawa

Manitoba tribe says government failed to provide adequate housing

Barry Ellsworth  | 13.06.2023 - Update : 13.06.2023
Canada First Nations seek CAN$5B from Ottawa

TRENTON, Canada 

An Indigenous First Nation in the province of Manitoba announced Monday that it is seeking CAN$5 billion ($3.74 billion) from the Canadian government for failing to provide adequate housing.

The St. Theresa Point First Nation said in a news release that Ottawa provided funds to build 20 two-bedroom houses last year, but that is insufficient because there are about 470 families that need homes. There are about 4,000 residents.

Chief Elvin Flett said living conditions are unimaginable.

"The housing crisis in St. Theresa Point forces generations to cram together under one roof, (and) two-bedroom homes are occupied by up to 12 people," Flett said, speaking at the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs headquarters.

About 25% of the homes are condemned due to decay – they are rotting -- while other residences need major repairs, the band said.

Flett said St. Theresa Point is not the only Indigenous community with terrible living conditions, adding the band is inviting other First Nations to join in a national class action lawsuit, the Canadian Press reported.

The St. Theresa Point First Nation is located in the remote north and is only accessible by plane or boat in summer and by ice roads over frozen waterways in winter. It lies about 600 kilometers (373 miles) northeast of the capital city of Winnipeg.

Another Manitoba First Nation is suing the Canadian government for CAN$11 billion ($8.2 billion). The Roseau River Anishinabe First Nation said the Crown (government) has failed to live up to its treaty obligations of paying “full and fair” annual payments.

The treaty, signed in 1871, conveyed the area’s resources to the Crown. The band announced the suit in February.

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