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Georgetown high school students build tiny home for First Nation

Students and staff at Georgetown District High School held a closing ceremony for the tiny home they built for the Chippewas of Nawash Unceded First Nation

Students at Georgetown District High School (GDHS) have been working hard at completing a tiny home for the Chippewas of Nawash Unceded First Nation.

On Wednesday (June 22), the pupils invited Habitat for Humanity, Town council, Doug Doolittle of Six Nations and the Ontario Youth Apprenticeship (OYAP) and other dignitaries for their closing ceremony.

“What we really want to do is celebrate the students of GDHS, (and) the achievements over the 2021/2022 school year,” said Hugh Hyndman, chair of the Habitat for Humanity board, Halton-Mississauga-Dufferin. 

He talked about the need for such homes due to poor housing conditions, overcrowding, high density and more.

The Chippewas of Nawash Unceded First Nation are located on the Bruce Peninsula on Georgian Bay near Owen Sound. The tiny house will be delivered to the Chippewas in August. The home in question, dubbed the “True North Tiny Home,” is over 230 sq. ft. It includes a kitchen and a self-contained bathroom with a shower.

The domicile has been custom designed specifically for the needs of the Chippewas. The Bruce Peninsula can get exceptionally cold in the winter months. The walls are spray-foam insulated to protect from the cold and plenty of windows are part of the design to help with air circulation during the sweltering summer months. The project was sponsored by Whirlpool Canada, so there was no construction cost to the school.

The floor has radiant floor heating. Items such as a kitchen sink, toilet and Murphy bed have not been installed yet, but they will be in the near future. 

The pilot project included five homes being built across Halton, including GDHS.

GDHS workshop teacher Ronald Rusk said he's glad to be part of something that “has led to drinking water coming into an area for people. It's sad that it takes that to do it.”

Clean drinking water is an issue for the Chippewas of Nawash. The federal government approved an $8 billion settlement for First Nations over clean drinking water. Individuals from First Nations, including the Chippewas of Nawash, have until March 2023 to apply for compensation.

“When I first started this class, just in general, I had no idea about construction,” student Kai Marks told the gathered crowd. “I got to learn a whole bunch of things about construction and just building and problem solving. And it really made me love doing this."

“Knowing that this is going to be part of a real community and knowing that this is going to be like something in real life, it's so refreshing,” said Nate Carruthers, who joined Marx at the podium.

A smudging ceremony was performed by Doug Doolittle of Six Nations to clean away the negative energy of the house.