In order to ensure that the physical appearance of our new village reflected our own cultural heritage we engaged the services of a renowned aboriginal architect, Mr. Douglas Cardinal, to design the major public institutions in the new village. Mr. Cardinal designed Canada′s national museum, the Museum of Civilization and is now designing the National Museum of the American Indian for the Smithsonian Institution in Washington.
In the area of housing it was our intention to avoid the situation in which the vast majority of aboriginal people in Canada find themselves: with inadequate and inappropriate housing, and saddled with government programs which do not meet aboriginal housing needs. The community has designed and implemented its own housing program with the objective of addressing the housing needs of all the community members with an emphasis on individual home ownership. By designing a housing program locally and for the long-term we have developed a model which will result in the community becoming self-sufficient in the area of housing and not dependent upon inadequate governmental programs.
The community′s housing program provides affordable, comfortable and energy-efficient housing to all community members with an emphasis on local labour for the construction, and conformity with the natural terrain to reduce costs of water/sewer infrastructure. The community is on its way to natural terrain within the larger context of sustainability.
We have also installed a very innovative alternative energy system whereby we take the waste sawdust from sawmills operating in the region and convert that industrial waste into energy to provide heat and hot water for the entire village.
Our energy system is proof that energy can be generated as if communities and the environment mattered, unlike megaprojects, for instance. It is proof also that the philosophies and traditional practices of aboriginal peoples are relevant to the establishment of modern sustainable communities.