We have an opportunity, and the time is now to empower the emerging Indigenous economy. Centred on a community-led “tree-to-home” solution, One Bowl, an Indigenous-owned not-for-profit social enterprise is focused on redefining Indigenous Housing from adequate to equitable by delivering culturally appropriate homes via a circular economy. The overarching goal is to empower Canada’s emerging Indigenous Economy, which has the potential to reach a value of over$100 billion (Hilton,The Indigenomics Institute) through ownership and participation in initiatives, like One Bowl.
Leading Solutions Through Circular Economies
In our words, a circular economy not only promotes environmental sustainability, it recognizes that we have an opportunity to preserve and build value within an equitable housing supply chain with First Nations. This value comes in the form of economic participation throughout the entire process; from shared ownership & entrepreneurship, to skills development & accessing resources within our traditional territories.
Modern Indigenous economic design means inclusion, jurisdiction, the recognition of treaty rights, local decision-making power and inclusion in industries on the traditional territories of Indigenous communities.
In context, we are facing a nearly $60 billion housing crisis that’s gripping Canada’s First Nations communities. One Bowl has adopted a shift in narrative in that; Indigenous peoples are not a burden on the fiscal system, but an economic powerhouse (Hilton,The Indigenomics Institute, above quote). One Bowl has since 2022 worked towards solving immediate housing challenges through an integrated, collaborative approach to unite First Nations groups, Indigenous and non-Indigenous entrepreneurs plus other strategic partners in support of empowering Indigenous communities and circular economies. We nurture relationships that recognize the shared ownership of this opportunity and promote economic participation, through a clear path to education, employment, health and self-sufficiency among First Nations.
The Vision For Future Generations Is Clear
One Bowl has been fortunate to partner with a remarkable ensemble of Indigenous leaders to find these local solutions to a province-wide issue. Our dedicated board of directors has formed steadfast partnerships with communities such as the Chapleau Cree, Brunswick House and Missanabie Cree First Nations. Working under our parent organization, Wahkohtowin – at its core referring to the connectedness between our people, lands and culture – together we form an Indigenous-driven force for change.
This change is realized within One Bowl, which seizes opportunities to stop economic leakage and introduces local education, training and employment initiatives to build capacity and a community based labourforce from the ground up. Altogether, it envisions First Nations housing as a symbol of culturally appropriate equity as we aim for progressive, long-term solutions to embrace Indigenous culture, health and stewardship.
Among its strategic partnerships, One Bowl will sell Thermolog technology developed by Boréal Products in Alma, Qué. Designed for life in Canada, Thermolog allows for quick, high-quality modular builds, employing just eight workers over 12 days to build an 1800-square-foot home. The result is authentic, accessible and efficient homes.
More than physical structures, these homes are living spaces embodying the equity and cultural resonance at the heart of One Bowl and Wahkohtowin’s mission. They stem from a holistic system engaging local Indigenous- and non-Indigenous-owned businesses at every step while strengthening community capacity through training and employment opportunities. The evolution of these partnerships will lead to further Indigenous economic participation in the form of shared ownership in a local manufacturing facility accessing woodfibre located on shared traditional territories to produce materials to fulfill a regional housing supply chain.
With these housing solutions reached, sustainable and self-sufficient First Nations communities can realize their full potential while actively contributing to the Canadian economy. Together, Indigenous and non-Indigenous people can thrive using the shared resources of the land.
Our Path Forward
As a firm believer in the power of partnerships and collaboration, we extend an open invitation for you to join us on this journey to reshape the landscape of affordable housing and nurture the growth of vibrant First Nations communities and a well-housed Northern Ontario.
Stay tuned for updates on our first Northern Ontario open house event, where you can tour Thermolog homes for a better understanding of our work and the many ways you can get involved.