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Lucy Kuptana: Indigenous Government Partnerships and Capacity Building

Press Release

Mr. Speaker, the only way this government can effectively address the territory’s housing crisis is through true partnership with Indigenous governments. As stated in this government’s mandate, Indigenous governments play an important role in advancing housing initiatives that meet the unique needs of NWT communities, and we must work closely with them to ensure we are implementing housing solutions that have a real, positive impact on residents.

In this spirit of true partnership, Housing NWT has signed four formal agreements with Indigenous governments that support collaboration on housing projects. Mr. Speaker, agreements have been signed with the Tłı̨chǫ Government, Sahtu Secretariat, Délı̨nę Got’ı̨nę Government and most recently, I proudly signed the Collaborative Agreement on Housing with the Gwich’in Tribal Council.

Building on the GNWT’s existing partnership with the Gwich’in Tribal Council, this agreement provides a formal framework for intergovernmental collaboration on housing-related matters in Aklavik, Inuvik, Teetł’it Zheh (Fort McPherson) and Tsiigehtchic, which will primarily happen through the Housing Working Group. Together we will prioritize community housing planning, coordinated program delivery, and joint housing delivery. Together, we will improve housing-related programs and services in Gwich’in communities.

Mr. Speaker, the GNWT’s formal housing agreements, Memorandums of Understanding and Memorandums of Agreement, are tailored to each Indigenous government and build on existing intergovernmental agreements currently in place, acknowledging the relationships that have already been built and work that has already been advanced. We look forward to signing more agreements with interested Indigenous governments over the lifetime of this Legislative Assembly.

With that said, Mr. Speaker, even where no formal agreement is signed, the GNWT has made it a priority to engage and work with Indigenous governments across the territory. The NWT Housing Forum, for example, is a body co-chaired by Housing NWT and an Indigenous government, currently the Yellowknives Dene First Nation. Established in early 2023, this Forum promotes coordination and collaboration among participating NWT governments in the housing sphere and plays an important role in promoting information exchange and cooperation between NWT governments on housing priorities.

I appreciate having an ongoing venue to discuss housing priorities with Housing NWT and Indigenous governments as we work together to improve housing outcomes.

Mr. Speaker, being from a small community myself and having travelled to communities across the NWT, I have seen first-hand the territory’s unique housing challengesand how they range from community to community. By collaborating with Indigenous governments, we can maximize funding, provide more training opportunities to residents, increase economic activity and build the capacities of Indigenous governments. Through partnership, we can implement housing solutions that meet the unique needs of communities, and build a stronger, healthier NWT where residents are truly set up to thrive.



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