Students complete Tiny House Project at Cote First Nation

A 350-square-foot tiny home was unveiled June 19 to dozens of supporters and community members at Cote First Nation, marking the completion of the Tiny House Project, an Essential Skills partnership between Parkland College, Yorkton Tribal Council, and Cote First Nation.

The Tiny House Project was launched at the end of January, said a release from Parkland College. Eight students gained hands-on construction skills as well as life and employability skills as they built the house from the ground up.

article continues below

The finished home was given away in a lottery draw to community member Gloria Pelly, the release said.

The tiny house features one bedroom, an open-concept living area and kitchen, full bathroom, and attached deck. Many of the building materials, tools, and appliances were donated by businesses in the area. Home Hardware in Yorkton outfitted the students with tools and safety gear, while solar panels from Living Skies Solar were installed on the roof to reduce the carbon footprint of the house.

The Tiny House project was supported by the Saskatchewan Apprenticeship and Trade Certification Commission (SATCC) and Indigenous Services Canada. SATCC announced at the wrap-up celebration that another Yorkton Tribal Council tiny house project has been approved for 2020 and will be constructed at Ocean Man First Nation.

At a reception at Chief Gabriel Cote Education Complex on June 19, Elder Francis Bird said a prayer and welcome and a drum group played an honour song. Jonas Cote, the emcee said it had been an honour for students of the school to have been offered the project.

The students learned responsibility, trades and life skills as they prepare to step into the working world which needs building skills, Cote said. “I’m proud of our students. They made history.”

Saying it is an exciting day for Cote First Nation and the students of the school, Cote Chief George Cote said the students had “shown us a success, from the foundation to the last nail.”

Cote said the project gives youth hope and stimulates a desire for them to obtain a career in the trades.

Isabel O’Soup, chief of the Yorkton Tribal Council, called the students involved as role models and said she had been proud to see that women were involved in the trades.

The trend is to smaller homes, the global community needs that, she said, congratulating the students and everyone else involved in the project.

Speaking on behalf of Chief Calvin Straightnose, the YTC Chair of Commission, Robbie Stevenson of Keeseekoose First Nation, said the project provided a wealth of work experience and showcases a project that can help alleviate the housing shortage being experienced in all First Nation communities.

Such a project cannot happen without support, Stevenson said, terming it to have been “a shining example.”

On behalf of the Cote First Nation schoolboard, Richard Fiddler, the chairperson, said the project helped to build character and strength at a time when people need hope in the youth. He thanked the project’s leaders on behalf of the schoolboard.

Byron Langan of the YTC Enhanced Service Delivery, thanked the tribal chief and said that the project has taught plumbing, electrical and carpentry skills to the students.

“This is a good project,” Langan said, thanking the sponsors. “We hope this is a start.”

Brent Hill, who with Desiree Kelly represented the Saskatchewan Apprenticeship and Trade Certification Commission (SATCC) encouraged the students to be proud of themselves.

Anita Vincent recognized the sponsors which included: Cote First Nation, Home Hardware, Yorkton Tribal Council, Chief Gabriel Cote Education Complex, Parkland College, Indigenous Services Canada, SATCC, Living Skies Solar, and Kamsack businesses Matt’s Furniture and P&J Plumbing and Heating.

This has been a life-changing experience, said Emma Keshane, a student of Kamsack Comprehensive Institute, who was one of the eight students involved in the project. “Now I can shingle and do siding and am closer to my dream of being a carpenter.”

Darryl Turner, another student involved thanked Sheldon Fichtner of Springside, the instructor, for his “deadly skills,” and commended his fellow students.

The other students who helped construct the tiny house were: Xavier Brass, Alexandra Cote, Clayton Whitehawk, Zachary Whitehawk and Drazedin Badger-Cote.

Kami DePape, the interim CEO of Parkland College, said it had been a privilege to have been a part of the project.

“When we work together we can accomplish great things,” DePape said, thanking the partners and sponsors.

“I’m proud of the students for having persevered,” she said. “Now, take the skills you’ve learned and build a future for yourselves.”