Closer to Home – The Series 

The series “Closer to Home” is a six-part documentary that takes viewers on a journey across Canada, showing us, through First Nations’ eyes, life, home and housing that is truly unique to our people. It also looks at the challenges faced by First Nations people in the housing industry.  

The program is hosted by Wayne Baker, and produced by Real World Media Inc. It was sponsored by several agencies – CMHC, INAC, Health Canada, Bell Canada, Vancity Credit Union and SCN. 

Congratulations to all the participating First Nations, and a special acknowledgment to our own members who appear in some of the episodes: 


1.  Weaving Community: Buddy Joseph & Sam Seward, Squamish, British Columbia 

2.  The People Program: Chris Maracle, Bay of Quinte, Ontario 

Chris is part of an innovative team that has built more then 60 R-2000 homes over the past 13 years. Their projects and programs have received 17 provincial and national awards, including Canada’s 2003 Affordable Housing Award, Canada’s Energy Efficiency Award, and most recently, the 2004 R-2000 Most Sustainable Design, and the 2004 Canadian Cement Association Most Energy Efficient Home. Chris was the 2003 R-2000 Hall of Fame recipient in the Builder category for his efforts in leading the R-2000 program in Tyendinaga. He also received the 2004 Time Canada Energy Efficiency Ambassador Award, which recognizes groups or individuals who have made significant contributions to energy-efficiency initiatives. 

3.  Building Better Homes: Helen Ward-Wakelin, FNNBOA Co-President, Eel Ground, New Brunswick 

Helen Ward- Wakelinis a Level-2 FNBO Housing Inspector for (15) First Nations Communities/ Technical Services for the North Shore Micmac District Council. Helen provides inspection services for all new Section 95 & Section 10 housingconstruction projects with CMHC involving mainland bands. Helen also helps to deliver the Residential Rehabilitation Assistance Program (RRAP) and conducts (Portfolio) inspections on existing Section 95 housing units. Read the Spring 2006 FNNBOA Newsletter for more! 

4. Find The Moisture, Find the Mold: Ernie Westgarth, Gitga’at, British Columbia 

Ernie Westgarth is a Level-1 FNBO Housing Director for the Gitga'at Nation. Ernie has enhanced the skills of his work crew through capacity development. His success in housing, despite a physical disability, is an inspiration to his crew and his community.

5. Alternative Energy Sustainable Housing: Walter Mishibinijima, Manitoulin Island, Ontario 

Walter Mishibinijima is a Level-1 FNBO Housing Inspector for the Wikwemikong Unceded Indian Reserve. Walter has worked in all facets of housing, from labour to inspections to project management for the past 34 years. He also provides training on the Better Builder Series, WETT and inspecting existing dwellings. He is very instrumental in ensuring houses are built to the building codes. Read the Spring 2006 FNNBOA Newsletter for more! 

6. When Adversity Becomes Opportunity: Chief Lynda Price and Laurie Vaughn, Ulkatcho, British Columbia 

If you missed the APTN National broadcast you can still watch it on    

Part of the Eagle's Eye on Housing series - read more