If you’d like to e transfer me directly (go fund me takes a portion of the money) my email is quill (dot) violet (at) gmail.com
Background + context:
My reservation land has been flooded twice by the government for hydroelectricity forcing us off of our lands. We have not had housing for a LONG time. My dad actually protested our displacement from reserve land by “camping out” on our rez back in the day. In the last few years, we have FINALLY been able to have housing on our reserve. However, the process itself is based on really strict timelines.
In order for me to gain access to a reserve plot of land (even though it is OUR RIGHT) I have to prove I can build a dwelling in 2 years on my own. The minimum cost of the smallest possible dwelling is approx $43,000 with an extra $10,000 of construction padding. My plan is to raise a down deposit and secure the rest through a building mortgage/loan. I am in debt. I am a new mother. But, something feels urgent about this and I’ve thought to myself that I don’t think there will ever be a “right” time. This is my dream. I can do this.
I run a land-based arts program for Indigenous youth that teaches youth to critically engage with settler colonialism while engaging with Anishinaabeg art, community and brilliance. The program is life changing in many ways and youth get paid as artists (woo!), work with community and Elders, and create their own final artworks that are exhibited. For more info and pictures please check out:
During each program, we take a trip. I’ve taken youth from Toronto all the way up to thunder bay (yes, we drove) and vice versa. Having a cabin of my own would mean I could host youth at my home. It would be simply amazing.
I think about my Anishinaabeg family and my father as I write this. My father was taken to residential school when he was 8 years old. He could never live on our reserve. Our beautiful lands were flooded. He ended up becoming an artist just like me and he would meet my Scottish and Irish mother and I would be born. Growing up as an urban Anishinaabeg person in Toronto, I have always wanted to return to my homelands. Now, I have beautiful Giizik and I so dearly want to make this happen.
It makes me emotional to think about my daughter having access to land that we have been displaced from. It makes me emotional to think about my father, after everything he’s endured through residential school and his life, having a place to go on his homelands. About how my family could have a place to visit, a place to stay, it is our right. It makes me emotional to think about creating a space of deep learning about who we are, where we come from and what we deserve in this life, all rooted in a beautiful place that is my home.
Anything helps! I can’t do this without a sizeable down deposit. If you are a property owner or a land owner, I urge you to make a more generous contribution if you see my work and story as worth supporting.
Chii miigwech everyone.
- Grace Connell
- Harrison Forman
- Riley Harrison
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