Today, the Lac Ste. Anne Métis Community Association officially broke ground on their affordable seniors housing development through a ceremonial sod turning with partners. Phase One of Otâ Wîkitâhk, meaning “let’s live here” in Cree, is funded jointly by the Governments of Canada and Alberta as part of a 50/50 cost matched program through the Indigenous Housing Capital Program (IHCP).

This new development will provide a much-needed housing option for the Lac Ste. Anne Métis Community Association’s seniors and Elders where they can maintain their deep connections to land and community. Previously, many community members have been forced to move into the city as they age due to a lack of safe and adequate housing options in the community’s core area. This new facility will offer housing that enables our seniors and Elders to stay close to family and friends.

Phase 1 of the housing development includes 8 bungalows and 4 semi-detached units, as well as a Gathering Hall, offering future residents enhanced opportunities for community building and supportive living.

Construction of Phase 1 is scheduled to begin in Spring 2023. Otâ Wîkitâhk will be located at the corner of Range Road 40 and Township Road 544A, approximately 8 km west of Alberta Beach.

Quotes:

“No relationship is more important to the Government of Canada than the one with Indigenous Peoples. We are committed to supporting Indigenous communities through projects such as the Lac Ste. Anne Métis Community Association Seniors Housing project, where elders will be able to live independently, close to their families and friends. This is another example of how the National Housing Strategy is supporting and strengthening communities by ensuring that seniors and elders can age in place in a safe and stable environment.”
-The Honourable Ahmed Hussen, Minister of Housing and Diversity and Inclusion

“Indigenous elders and seniors provide invaluable contributions to their communities. Making sure that they have safe and affordable homes is one way to give back to them. This affordable Seniors Housing project will enable members of the Lac Ste. Anne Métis Community to remain close to their families and friends, lead fulfilling lives and contribute to the well-being of their communities.”
-The Honourable Randy Boissonnault, Minister of Tourism, Associate Minister of Finance and Member of Parliament for Edmonton Centre

“I’m happy to see this project go forward, as the seniors in our community will have a great place to spend time amongst friends for years to come. We all cherish our seniors for their contributions, as well as the wisdom they provide us with. On behalf of the Government and Province of Alberta, it has been an honour and a privilege to support you on getting to this point. A big thanks to all of the volunteers and board members who worked so hard to make this dream a reality, well done!”
–MLA Shane Getson

“It is with humble pride that we as representatives of Lac Ste. Anne County stand together with the Lac Ste. Anne Métis Community Association for this historic ground-breaking. This is the very moment that many Métis people that built the history and the settlement of Lac Ste. Anne will be able to call this region their home once again. We are not building a new relationship but rekindling one. A new beginning to a historic journey that shall not be forgotten by any of our families that call Lac Ste. Anne and our great province home.”
-Lac Ste. Anne County Reeve Joe Blakeman

“We are proud to be advancing development of community-owned housing in a place foundational to our history and that remains critically important to our future as a distinctive, self-governing Métis community. This has been a missing amenity in our community and will help meet the needs of our valued seniors and Elders. We thank the Governments of Canada and Alberta for their funding through the Alberta Indigenous Housing Capital Program, and Lac Ste. Anne County for their ongoing support as we begin construction. This development will be not only a physical structure, but a representation of the strength and resilience of the Lac Ste. Anne Métis community.”
-Tracy L. Friedel, PhD, LSAMCA President

“There aren’t many options for our Métis community out here when it comes to senior communities and adequate, safe housing. Having the choice to stay in this area, which I know and love and where I have family close by, all while being near the services I need, is something I am very grateful for. This will be a place for many of us that grew up and spent our lives here, to come together and create a new community grounded in togetherness and connection, which is a very special thing.”
–Gloria Raicos, Elder of the Lac Ste. Anne Métis Community Association, and future resident of Otâ Wîkitâhk

The contemporary Lac Ste. Anne Métis community is descended from the Cree and Iroquois speaking Métis people who lived in the historic Lac Ste. Anne Métis community before the arrival of the Oblate missionaries in the mid-1800s. The historic Lac Ste. Anne Métis community emerged as a self-governing and distinct Métis community before effective European control. The Lac Ste. Anne Métis Community Association was designed and incorporated to represent the section 35 Métis aboriginal rights and interests of the historic and contemporary Lac Ste. Anne Métis community, and successfully achieved credible assertion of their Métis harvesting rights with the Government of Alberta in September 2022.

Renderings of the site and photos from the event can be found here:
https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1qb_nwr_W3xR4cuJPgGRIlPr4ohdCHZVr?usp=sharing

For more information, contact:

Evhan Hinz
Berlin Communications
ehinz@brln.ca
780-935-4022