Bridge Builders urge government to improve housing quality in First Nations communities

Huron’s Bridge Builders has sent a letter of advocacy to government representatives following a tragic fire on the Oneida of the Thames reserve that killed a family of five on December 14.

“We urge you to take action and respond further to the need to update and build better quality housing in First Nation Communities. We know there are needs in northern Canada but there are urgent needs in southern communities, such as the Oneida of the Thames, now”, says the letter sent to the Minister of Housing Chris Ballard, the Minister of Aboriginal Affairs Carolyn Bennett and the local representatives in federal and provincial parliaments.


Rev. Gaye Whippey at the Bridge Builders’ event on National Aboriginal Day 2016 in Stratford, Ontario.

The letter also expresses concern that “unreasonably high heating bills and cold weather will result in unsafe heating procedures for survival and lead to even more tragedies.”

Bridge Builders is a task force of Synod established in May, 2014 to assist the Diocese of Huron by helping congregations understand and explore the meaning and implications of the action of the Church to repudiate the Doctrine of Discovery.

Acting upon the letter, Bishop of Huron Rt. Rev. Linda Nicholls issued an appeal to all clergy and parishes in Huron, asking them to consider supporting the Bridge Builders’ initiative by sending their own letters to the representatives in both federal and provincial governments.

She also asked for prayers for Rev. Gaye Whippey and all those offering pastoral support in Oneida.

The tragic death of Kurt Antone and his four young sons, including an infant, on the Oneida reserve in December underlined the inedaquacy of housing in First Nations communities.