Mino Bimaadiziwin Homebuilder Program’s Impact on Sustainable Livelihoods Among Youth in Garden Hill and Wasagamack First Nations: An Evaluative Study


  • Babajide Oni Natural Resources Institute, University of Manitoba
  • Donna Martin College of Nursing, University of Manitoba https://orcid.org/0000-0002-2705-5605
  • Marleny Bonnycastle Faculty of Social Work, University of Manitoba https://orcid.org/0000-0002-5118-9371
  • Norman Wood Island Lake Tribal Council
  • Shirley Thompson Natural Resources Institute, University of Manitoba




Indigenous, housing crisis, healthy homes, Native reserves, sustainable livelihoods, Indian Act, First Nations


The Mino Bimaadiziwin Homebuilders postsecondary education pilot project built Indigenous youth capacity and houses in two remote Anishinini reserves—Garden Hill and Wasagamack. To evaluate this community-led project, a sustainable livelihood assessment holistically measured the impact on 45 of the 70 (64%) Homebuilder students and the community. The community benefited by gaining three culturally appropriate houses built from local lumber and employment opportunities for Anishinini instructors. A longitudinal survey found five of the six livelihood assets improved statistically and significantly, including satisfaction with social relationships, cultural awareness, income and ability to pay bills, housing safety, and human development. Students reported better relations with their families and neighbourhood. Most (85%) of the 70 Homebuilder students earned postsecondary certificates either in forestry, homebuilding or both while obtaining a training stipend, which elevated their incomes. These positive outcomes occurred despite project underfunding, the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown, climate change events, and inequitable housing policies under the Indian Act. Based on this project’s success, we recommend investing in Indigenous-led postsecondary education in community homebuilding projects. However, to attain equitable housing and human rights, a plan is needed to overturn the Indian Act, which keeps Indigenous people as “wards of the state” and their land in trust.


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