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Members of Mishkeegogamang First Nation organize Toronto furniture drive in context of ongoing housing crisis

June 11, 2015

In the face of an ongoing housing crisis, members of Mishkeegogamang First Nation and union local CUPE 3903 are organizing a second drive to bring an 18-wheeler truck full of furniture, tools , building materials and youth sports equipment to the community 28 hours north of Toronto. The first drive was in December 2014. While it was successful, it only reached a fraction of the community. This spring drive aims to reach more of the community and respect the feedback from members of Mishkeegogamang. The feedback includes prioritizing the youth; youth sports equipment are requested. Tools and building materials are being asked for to support youth and elders building cabins this spring.

Mishkeegogamang First Nation is an Ojibwa nation located 500 km north of Thunder Bay. Mishkeegogamang faces traumatizing poverty despite billions of dollars coming from their land and resources. A Northwestern Health Unit report stated that as many as 21 people live under one roof, and it is not uncommon for people to sleep in shifts to assure everyone access to a bed.

"Of the 1700 people living in Mishkeegogamang, over 9 people live in every house, leading to homes with no electricity or sewage, hundreds homeless, hundreds more on constant suicide watch. Women face losing their children over the state of housing. A truck does not solve the issues. But the drive opens the door to talk about the issues. It opens the door to connect people power and resources in southern Ontario with people struggling in northern communities," says Gary Wassaykeesic, member of Mishkeegogamang and organizer for the furniture drive.

The CUPE 3903 First Nations Solidarity Working Group is organizing pick-ups around the city of beds, mattresses, couches. They are also especially looking for tools, building materials and youth sports equipment. We are hosting a public drop-off day June 21 and a truck send-off day on July 5. If Torontonians can give volunteer time, a monetary donation toward the cost of fuel, or any of these useful items, they are encouraged to contact through the website:

For more information contact:
Gary Wassaykeesic
member of Mishkeegogamang, Toronto contact for furniture drive
Phone: 647-783-1479

Tom Wassaykeesic
member of Mishkeegogamang Chief and Council
Phone: 807 928 0353

Laura Lepper
member of CUPE 3903 First Nations Solidarity Working Group

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