Let me preface with the fact we are not re inventing the wheel, we KNOW other people who are doing this and want to connect and share their stories and ours!
The Sovereign Housing Project began as a way to help relieve the housing and food crisis we are facing on reserves. Also because we wanted to opt out of westernized or colonized life. We wanted to stop living in consumer barracks forced to work to consume and consume to work. Joe James Rampanen and I seen a need in our village to be self sustainable and feed ourselves as well as house ourselves. When we moved back to Maaqtusiis we lived in a very small little bedroom in the basement of our uncles home with 5 children and ourselves. This is not an uncommon occurrence in our village and a problem that needs to be solved in the best and most effective way as possible. We want to do this because we believe that in order for us to truly achieve self governance we need to begin to change the way we behave and how we view our relationship with INAC.
The project will address our three biggest concerns, protecting the land, housing, and feeding ourselves adequately and well. We are seeking those who are willing to help us build and grow as a village because this kind of movement is the wave of the future, we are in a unique position in that we occupy an island that is not adjacent to any other towns or cities we can do this with little to no impunity.
Ahousaht First Nation is comprised of 1600 band members 900 of whom live on reserve, it is part of the 14 Nuu Chah Nulth tribes and also the largest. Located on Flores Island 45 minutes by boat north west of Tofino British Columbia it is one of the last vast (semi)untouched tracts of rainforest left in B.C. Ahousaht has the privilege and the distinction of being able to remain on their original village site despite colonization and disenfranchisement of the Nuu Chah Nulth as a whole.
Since the time of contact, they have been forced to send away their children to residential schools, endured the 60’s and 70’s scoop of children by foster care, had their spiritual and traditional ways stripped from them by the Potlatch ban, and forced to adopt a foreign and unpalatable way of life in order to endure til this day. Indigenous knowledge and spirituality have been hidden and lost to them and their children resulting in a reserve that has a high rate of alcohol and drug abuse, child apprehension, poverty, and 3rd world living conditions. Romanced by promises of riches from corporate industry with little to no monetary return to date it is time for Ahousaht to reclaim Indigenous Sovereignty in a healthy and economically viable manner.
Indigenous pathways will be used to implement cultural pride, recover knowledge that has been lost, create a new way for the future.