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Solidarity: from Occupy Toronto to Attawapiskat

Laurie Miller's picture
Over the next 10 days, rabble.ca will be following the journey of an Occupy Toronto yurt being shipped to Attawapiskat along with a truckload of supplies. Look for daily blog updates from OPSEU's Laurie Miller as she joins the three plus day drive by ice road to deliver supplies, offer training and help in yurt assembly, as well as solidarity. This is a project of Design Points North, with the support of OPSEU.

Day 7 and 8: Extreme yurt-building in Attawapiskat

| February 14, 2012
Yurt base at sunset.

Having stood in St. James Park as part of Occupy Toronto, travelled by transport truck, train and over an ice road, the Mongolian yurt is ready to be assembled in Attawapiskat.

After meetings with the community, the location for the yurt was decided upon, and we set upon the assembly of the yurt.

By the end of the first day of building, we had set up the base.

Gord with pick

With the freezing temperatures, short days and the rush to set up the yurt, we called it "extreme yurt-building."

The walls are six sections of flexible lattice work. Sinew is used instead of nails.

Gord Longhi bracing the wall from the wind.

In Mongolia, the door faces the south. The door is facing east in keeping with the First Nation culture.


The centre piece of the yurt is called a toono.

The toono raising.

The toono is up!

The shell is done. Next step is two layers of sheep-felt insulation and the outer canvas.



So sorry Lara to draw you away from the not-boring-at-all NDP Leadership threads.

If it's so obvious that the people of Attawapiskat need real houses that will last for decades and protect them from the elements, why do people insult them by offering them tents to live in? Native housing is already substandard, overcrowded, and outdated. How does building yurts help that?

Even a charity like Habitat for Humanity understands the importance of building solid, spacious, permanent structures for third-world people to live in, rather than what is essentially slum housing.

Third World Housing Development and Indigenous People in North America

God you are boring M. Spector.  Talk about stating the obvious.  That said, this yurt initiative sounds interesting.  I hope Laurie Miller will tell us more about how the community responded to the idea of creating an industry in Attawapiskat.

They don't need yurts. They need proper houses.

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