A new elders complex is planned for Old Crow.
A joint announcement was made on Aug. 6 between the governments of Vuntut Gwitchin, Canada and the Yukon.
It will be Vuntut Gwitchin First Nation’s first assisted-living complex for elders.
The complex includes eight one-bedroom assisted-living units for elders and a one-bedroom unit for a live-in caregiver.
It also includes a kitchen, laundry room, washrooms and a large indoor common area to be used as a Gwich’in language hub and for family gatherings, activities and crafts.
The facility will be called the “Home of the Wise Ones” and the community will eventually give it a Gwich’in name.
VGFN Chief Dana Tizya-Tramm said receiving funding for the complex is “absolutely huge.”
“The value in having our elders age in our community is what you could call the keystone to the completion of community in and of itself,” said Tizya-Tramm. “Having this level of facility available to our elders to age comfortably with community members is beyond words.”
Tizya-Tramm said the complex will be key infrastructure for connecting elders and traditional knowledge with the community.
“This will allow us to really engage their traditional knowledge and we can now look to the future of our education systems involving our elders, for the transfer of that key knowledge,” said Tizya-Tramm.
Tizya-Tramm said the next five to 10 years are going to be very exciting for the community.
The Government of Canada is investing $9 million in the project through the Rural and Northern Infrastructure Stream of the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program and $1.7 million through the targeted funding for First Nations housing.
“Access to appropriate housing is critical for quality of life, especially in small northern fly-in communities,” said Marc Miller, Federal Minister of Indigenous Services. “We’re pleased to have supported Vuntut Gwitchin First Nation in the planning, design and foundation installation for their new elders’ complex.”
Minister of Community Services Richard Mostyn said the complex will “help meet housing needs while creating a space that puts people first.”
“Housing like this builds stronger communities and creates spaces for cultural practices to be shared,” said Mostyn.
Yukon MP Larry Bagnell said “our government is proud to support important projects like Elders complex.
The Vuntut Gwitchin First Nation is providing $3 million toward the Home of the Wise Ones.
“It’s an absolute celebration of our partnerships with Yukon and Canadian governments,” said Tizya-Tramm about the project.
In Old Crow, the territory’s only fly-in village of approximately 250 people, elders have had to move south to larger cities and away from family supports to access assisted-living options.
At this time, the funding and resources have been secured, there is no date for the project’s completion yet, said Tizya-Tramm.
Contact John Tonin at firstname.lastname@example.org