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AZA breaks ground on first homes

Leadership said that starting from scratch has been a lot of work for the community and its partners

ANIMBIIGOO ZAAGI'IGAN ANISHINAABEK – Delegates from neighbouring communities, organizational partners and the federal government were invited out to Partridge Lake to celebrate an important milestone for Animbiigoo Zaagi'igan Anishinaabek on Friday. 

After many years of work and planning, the First Nations community was finally able to break ground on the site of its first residential area, signalling the start of the community being able to house members on-reserve. 

“Today is the celebration to recognize our accomplishments throughout the last many years, and mostly in the last four or five years, we've accomplished a lot within the community through the the pandemic,” said Chief Yvette Metansinine. 

“And today is very, very emotional for our community. We have waited for a long time to do groundbreaking, to start our infrastructure, to start our homes on our community and I want to just acknowledge and welcome everyone that came to our celebration.” 

The community has been working toward breaking ground since 2008 and Metansinine said that starting from scratch has been a lot of work for the community and its partners.  

“We have a great team. We work very closely with the governments, we have a very good relationship with Minister Patty Hajdu. She's a very good friend of ours and she also is a member of our community and everyone else that's been involved with it," she said. 

During the celebration, Hajdu was declared an honorary member of the community and said that it has been such a huge honour to work alongside Animbiigoo Zaagi'igan Anishinaabek and other First Nation communities over the last few years on many issues. 

“I think that's what a Member of Parliament should do is advocate for communities and their projects and their vision, and so that has been an honour in my office and I have been doing that work,” said Hajdu. 

“But as Minister of Indigenous Services Canada, I can't think of anything that brings me more joy than when a community takes back control over land, takes back control over things like land code, how the land will be used, and begins to reestablish their presence in the land to which they've been part of since time immemorial.” 

The contract for the construction of the first homes in the community went to Castle Construction and is set to begin this fall. 

"It's amazing and I am just honoured and proud to be part of this of this magnificent milestone for our community and I'm excited to see what's going to happen here in the next two weeks. We are going to start our the our construction. We're going to start our foundation and work until the winter,” said Metansinine. 

“Come first day of spring, we're going to finish our housing and we hope to have families in our housing hopefully by the fall. And it's just so exciting, I've waited for this day for the last 35 years."

Justin Hardy

About the Author: Justin Hardy

Justin Hardy is a reporter born and raised in the Northwest.
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