First Nations woman told to stop building her own house

Ministry of Natural Resources says Saugeen Lake resident does not have a permit to do the work

Darlene Necan constructing her house in northern Ontario, 2013.

Darlene Necan constructing her house in northern Ontario, 2013.

CBC News, Nov 20, 2013

The province has ordered an aboriginal woman from northwestern Ontario to stop building a home on what she considers her family’s traditional land.

Darlene Necan is building her own home on her family’s traditional trapline, outside the boundaries of Saugeen First Nation, near Pickle Lake.

In an earlier CBC News story, she said her needs — and those of many other off-reserve members — aren’t being met by the First Nation leadership.

“Being homeless all the time, that kind of got to me,” Necan said. “It seemed like society pushed me back on our land, and that’s why I started building on our trapline.”

But last month, the Ministry of Natural Resources issued a stop-work order, and told her she could face a $10,000 fine if she doesn’t get a permit.

“I know I could have done all the stuff that they asked me [to do] by paperwork, but then I’m thinking, ‘I come from here,’” Necan said. “Why would I start paying a permit to build on my own land?”

‘I gotta help myself’

Necan said she still plans to finish the house and move in, despite the order from the MNR.

A ministry spokesperson confirmed the order has been issued but declined to comment further, saying the issue is in the hands of the MNR enforcement branch.

This is not the first time Necan has undertaken building a home.  She led an initiative to build a log house two years ago for an elder who was living in what Necan called a small “chicken shack.”

Necan herself is currently homeless and living in a shack.

“[I’m] trying to stand on my own two feet, to build my own house, a place to call home,” she said. “So I gotta do something and I gotta help myself and … build my own home in my own traditional land.”

Necan said she is building the house with the support of the Indigenous Commission of the International League of People’s Struggles, many grassroots activists and several union locals.

Posted on November 20, 2013, in Decolonization, Indigenous Women and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 9 Comments.

  1. Reblogged this on lara (author-blogger) and commented:
    Self-determination is our right as sovereign citizens – this is a start

  2. Supporting First Nations!

  3. Keep trying to live and be free…the industry’s… only want money. Oppression is not free, it costs the most money and lives. Freedom is free and we live in a land of oppression not freedom. The struggle to be free requires first a strong mind and body and spirit, then it requires help from other like minded caring people and groups…they may have some recourses they can help provide and that want to support freedom and not oppression! I hope you get your house built. Keep on keeping on. Ckapeace! Seeking peace!

  4. How typical of a gov’t to presume just because they stole our lands, they have the “right” to tell us what we can and can not do on them. Prayers lifted for you….. Build your home Sister and enjoy it!

  5. In a free country, you shouldn’t need “permission” to build a living structure on your own land. Only commercial building needs permits.

  6. From a Muslim sister in Toronto. I just heard about your wonderful story. Keep on fighting the fight Sister. We are all rooting for you and hope you succeed in all your goals. I hope to meet you one day.


  7. okay…so what has happened to Darlene? what is the latest update ?

  8. Ignorance of the law isn’t an excuse for the rest of us, why would Darlene get away with it? Could you or I build a house on crown land and not be fined?

    I’m annoyed with CBC for not presenting the full story and just hinting at issues which should have been taken seriously. Darlene ignored the laws of the land because she “couldn’t get along with the tribal chief?” Really? How does that work for the rest of us? We break the law because we don’t like our mayor or alderman?

    And what about Darlene’s treaty money. She’s not poverty stricken. You know it and so do I. She lives off our backs, off our sweat and tax dollars. She could have a house of her own, paid for by those of us who actually work for a living, but she chose to go haring off to do her own thing. And now she’s complaining because she doesn’t like the consequences?

    She’s not an old woman. If she wanted serious consideration from me, she’d eschew her welfare (i.e., treaty) income, get a job, pay taxes and try to survive like the rest of us.

    • You’re obviously a racist moron so I’ll keep this short and simple. Darlene is attempting to build a cabin on her people’s traditional territory because she’s homeless. This is her birth right as an Indigenous person–to live in her territory irregardless of colonial laws and regulations. Treaty money in some areas amounts to $5 a year, which is a token amount derived from the time period in which the fraudulent treaties were imposed by the federal government on Native peoples decimated by disease and colonial conflict. You have no idea what survival means, so please STFU. And if you did go out and build a cabin on Crown land you’d be fined and have it torn down, which is exactly what Darlene’s experience has been. So what are you whining about?

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